Google PenguinAfter more than a year of torment for website owners, Google finally unleashed Penguin 3.0 earlier this month. This spelt the first opportunity in over 12 months for website owners hit by Penguin 2.1 to see any improvement on their search ranking and the early signs are positive.

Google has warned that this latest Penguin will be a slow roll out and it may take us a little more time than usual to get the full picture. But the main theme so far seems to be one of recovery rather than penalty.

No signs of a major shake up (yet)

Normally when a Penguin update or refresh comes along there are major headlines in the SEO community. It doesn’t take long to draft up a list of big names, types of website and a legion of smaller businesses that get hit hard. This hasn’t happened so far and Dr. Pete Meyers of Moz has already highlighted that data from Penguin 3.0 is different to previous releases.

Less than two weeks since the update started rolling out, it’s too early to rule out any major impact – like the kind we’re used to seeing. Although, these impacts have always abrupt with previous releases and this doesn’t appear to be the case. Which suggests we could be starting to see a calm in the Google algorithm storm.

Small businesses recovery??

That’s not to say there hasn’t been any impact at all – just not in the vein we have come to expect from Penguin algorithm updates. There have been inclines and declines as ever, but the general consensus so far seems to be that small business owners who got hit by Penguin 2.0 and 2.1 are seeing strong signs of recovery.

After a painfully long year, website owners are finally being rewarded for working hard to clean up their SEO techniques and link profiles. The most brutal thing about a Google algorithm penalty is that you have to wait for a refresh to see any recovery – a particularly long wait when it comes to Penguin.

This waiting period has been a point of major criticism for Google. But if website owners continue to play ball and algorithm updates have a smaller impact then the search provider could be justified.

Lessons from previous penguin updates

If Google algorithms start to have a smaller impact on search rank and website owners continue to see improvements, Google’s war on spam is heading in the right direction. The search provider will never eliminate spam or SEO malpractice completely, but Penguin 3.0 so far seems to suggest that webmasters are getting the message.

The trouble with Google’s approach has been a large number of business owners have had to pay the price for other peoples’ mistakes or bad advice. This is particularly tough for smaller businesses who may not have the strength to survive a major hit to organic traffic. And even if SMEs appear to be on the right tracks after Penguin 3.0 this doesn’t come as much help to the businesses that didn’t make it over the last few years.