Google Releases Penguin 3.0 Anti-spam Algorithm

Rhett Pardon

LOS ANGELES — Google released an update to its Penguin filter on Friday, but the new algorithm that targets and significantly penalizes websites identified as being spammy hasn't impacted many.

For online adult businesses, there has been little to no reaction over the new algorithm change (dubbed Penguin 3.0) — one of the most anticipated algorithm updates for the search giant in its history.

"Not a peep on my radar," said Colin Rowntree, who operates longtime BDSM site Wasteland.com and BoodiGo.com, a new porn-only search engine."We have been riding this the past 24 hours and are not seeing anything dramatic happening."

Adrian DeGus of AdultSEOPartners.com said that his firm had been awaiting in anticipation for the Penguin 3.0 "refresh"' of the previous update.

"Webmasters who were lucky enough to dodge the last update will be vulnerable to this refresh," DeGus told XBIZ. "However, webmasters who have been working hard over the past year to improve the quality of their backlink profiles stand to finally see the ranking rebound they've been working for.

"Many of our clients who were hit by Penguin in the past have already started to see ranking improvements. Of course, this rollout is expected to last a few weeks so the industry will be in wait and see mode until then."

SEO veteran Rodney Thompson of CyberStampede.com, which specializes in organic search engine placement, says he's not seen a negative impact with regards to the adult industry, specifically his clients.

"I feel this algorithm has some of the same objectives/characteristics as prior, but I think with more emphasis on the improvement of the end user's ability to get more relevant and better search results and to also address webmaster's onsite/offsite techniques to engineer organic search rankings in a way that is more of the deceptive nature," Thompson told XBIZ.

"It's really apparent to me and maybe others that search engines are really putting a more-targeted focus on the eradication of spam type sites that have the primary focus to employ a high quantity of back links, most being irrelevant in nature," Thompson said. 

"In other words, when you have thousands of one-way links from a consumer electronics site to a site like Vivid or Wicked, it simply is a red flag," he said.

"If you notice as of late, when you do an organic search for any term and look at who is on top of the results page, back as early as a couple years ago the sites that would index at the top would have a high quantity of back links, now the sites that are at the top of organic might only have a handful, which give me the impression that it is all about the quality of the one-way links versus the quantity.

"I am sure there will be some other aspects in regards to this latest algorithm update that manifest over the next few months, so I wouldn’t say the jury is all the way out just yet."

Reaction from mainstream Internet companies, as well, has been relatively scant for Penguin's first update in one year.  

"Strange data indeed, as some reporting stations are showing sharp inclines, some are showing sharp declines, and others aren’t showing much of a fluctuation at all," according to Search Engine Journal. "Is there a possibility that this iteration of Penguin is eluding the SEO volatility tools?"

Historically, the most impactful Penguin updates only hit about 3-4 percent of all search queries, and those penalized are typically because of too many manipulative inbound links pointed to the website.

In May 2013, with its fourth Penguin update, Google's filter triggered havoc against scores of adult entertainment sites.

At the time, SearchMetrics found eight of the top 25 sites affected by the change were porn sites. Those affected sites were mostly adult tube sites and each of them lost between 25- 40 percent of their previous SEO visibility at least for the keywords that SearchMetrics tracks.

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