Is Your Website Ready for Penguin 3.0?

Google’s Penguin Mafia is preparing to unleash Penguin 3.0. Is your website ready? Image courtesy of Antarctica Bound.

If not, your site could disappear from search results. It could take weeks or months to recover.

In that time, your traffic could plummet, your business could suffer, and your competitors could take your lost position.

We’re not exaggerating.  It’s happened at least twice before in April 2012 and May 2013.

No wonder SEOs are holding their breath, anticipating Google’s latest update to their now infamous Penguin algorithm (rumored to drop May 2014).

Google Penguin Update Timeline

When Penguin 1.0 dropped on April 24, 2012, sites across the world suddenly fell out of SERPs.  The algorithm update cleaned up many shady and abused SEO practices. Predictably, sites that owed their high rankings to spammy tactics plummeted.

Many sites escaped this first update only to be caught by Penguin 2.0 (launched on May 22, 2013).

Every iteration of the Penguin algorithm (at least 6 so far) has refined how Google views and values links.  You can expect Penguin 3.0 to be even stricter.

Here’s what you need to know to prepare for Penguin 3.0.

What Penalizes You Now

  • Comment spam

  • Hidden links

  • Keyword stuffing

  • Link networks

  • Low quality links

  • Over-optimized anchor text

  • Paid links

  • Sitewide links

  • Unnatural country ratio

  • Unnatural link distribution

  • Unnatural link growth (aka “link velocity”)

How to Survive Penguin 3.0

    1. Analyze your backlinks (the links to your site)

      1. Download them from your Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools accounts.

      2. Feed them into tools like Ahrefs, Majestic, LinkResearchTools or Link Detox.

      3. Use the tools to identify suspicious and toxic links.

      4. Manually review questionable links before removing them.

      5. When you identify all the dangerous links, contact the linking sites’ webmasters to request their removal.

      6. If you can’t get them removed, list them in your disavow file and submit it to Google.

      7. Cutting a lot of links is better than not cutting enough. Use a machete, not a scalpel.


  1. Analyze your competition

    1. List your top 10 competitors and use a tool like LinkResearchTools to see how you compare to their backlink profiles.

    2. If your anchor text uses too many Money keywords, ask the webmasters of the linking sites to change the anchor text to your brand.  If they won’t, then build more Brand links to change the ratio or disavow the over-optimized links.

    3. Your goal is to blend in to your industry. If your backlink profile stands out too much, it could attract a penalty.


  • Analyze your outbound links

    1. Are you linking to 404 pages or toxic websites?  Change the links immediately to something safe like an organization or government site.


  • Analyze your content

    1. Have you stuffed your content with keywords?  Rewrite it to sound human.


  • Build better links


If all this sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is.  If you want to protect your site traffic and search visibility from Penguin 3.0, then contact us today. We can help.