Last Friday, the latest iteration of the Penguin algorithmic update was released. It is said to have affected 1% of search queries and will be rolling out over the next few weeks.

You can read more about Penguin 3.0 in this really useful post by our friends at Search Engine Land.

Hold on, what’s Penguin?

Nope, it’s not a bird that waddles like an oversized zebra-duck.

At a high level, the Penguin algorithmic update refers to a Google update which aims to decrease rankings for sites that Google believes are violating its quality guidelines, thereby reducing webspam and ultimately promoting high-quality content. The algorithm penalises websites that are engaged in the following:

Penguin is a massive deal – just read about how it affected J.C. Penney a few years ago and you’ll understand completely.

OK, so how do you know if you’ve been hit by Penguin 3.0?

First of all, you’ll see a notable decrease in organic traffic and your organic rankings will fall off a cliff. Your stats will be a good indicator.

It ain’t pretty!

If you want to confirm (or judge with a little more certainty), the lovely people at Barracuda Digital have developed a useful tool called the Panguin Tool (named by combining the names of Google’s two biggest updates, Panda and Penguin). The tool isn’t new – I’ve been using it for over a year now. It is updated whenever Google releases a new update.The best thing is, is that they have already updated for Penguin 3.0. Good work guys!

The Panguin Tool in action

1. Navigate to the Panguin Tool on the Barracuda Digital website -> Panguin Tool

2. Click on Log-in to Analytics

3. Click Accept and the choose your Analytics profile

4. Analyse your results

The lines above are colour coded with Google’s recent algorithmic updates so you can see how your website has been affected by the Penguin 3.0, as well as previous updates. As you can see, it works by overlaying update date lines over your website traffic. This means it is really easy to see if there are any correlations with traffic fluctuations and update dates.

You can also get information on landing pages and keyword variances between different periods. You can download your analysis as a CSV file which means you can plug it in nicely to your reporting.

So there you have it, a simple way to figure out if you’ve been hit by Penguin 3.0 (or any other update for that matter!).

Do you use the Panguin Tool or any other tool to figure out if you’ve been hit by an update? Or do you just rely on hard, cold stats?

Let us know in the comments!


Siobhán McGinty

I am Campaign Marketing Manager (EMEA) at HubSpot, Co-Founder & Digital Marketing Strategist at Learn Inbound, and an experienced (& infinitely enthusiastic!!) inbound marketing specialist.

All articles by Siobhán McGinty »

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