While people were eating their turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving (November 27th), there was another big shakeup in the Google algorithm. Thus, when people returned to work yesterday (Monday) morning, there was a lot of debate on whether this was a Google Penguin 3.1 incremental release or a continuation of the rollout of Google Penguin 3. However, new information disclosed that this was not a different release by Google; in fact, last Thursday’s shakeup was a continuing rollout of Google Penguin 3.0 from October 18th. Watch this Daily Brown Bag to learn more about the continuing rollout of Google Penguin 3.0 that happened over the Thanksgiving holiday and how Google Penguin has and can impact small business.

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Hello and welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today we're going to be talking about Google Penguin 3.1 or, at least, the algorithm update that used to be called 3.1. I'm Chad Hill, and I'm joined by Adam Stetzer.

Good afternoon, Chad. Welcome to the Brown Bag. Yeah, we've got some confusing news that we're going to hopefully help try to sort out or, at least, add what we might know or not know. Chad, I mean the history of Google Penguin 3 from this fall, of course, is that on October 18th a much anticipated release, incremental release for Google Penguin, which was named 3.0, came out. A lot of big changes.

People have been waiting for a year, since Google Penguin 2.1, in many cases to see recovery if they'd been working on cleaning up their link profile or if they put in disavows to see that really take effect. There was a lot of confusion, and, of course, this is the first time we've had a big release from Matt Cutts, who is not the voice, the singular voice of Google's webspam team. Instead we were getting information from several sources, including from Mueller and the team in Europe, and some of that turned out to be a little bit of misinformation. I can recall back on the week of the 18th in October, when Google Penguin 3 first came out. You know, it was first reported that it was over and it was done. We were watching rankings, getting phone calls, trying to figure this out. Later it came out, "Oh it's still rolling," and there was contradictory information from Google.

So that leads up to this recent set of events as, at least, I know and then I'll ask for your input, Chad. On the 27th, which I think was Thanksgiving, there was another big shakeup in the Google algorithm. And speculation earlier this morning was that this was a Google Penguin 3.1 incremental release that had hit the streets over the Thanksgiving holiday. But I know now there some debate on, and maybe some new information direct from Google that says, "Well, this isn't actually a different release but is somehow still the continuing rollout of Penguin 3 from October 18th," which I'm sure then thoroughly confuses everybody.

To make things worse, Chad, I know we've been watching over the last month and a half, working with some clients who had problems doing some cleanup and seeing some of these people recover as well as seeing new people get hit who were not hit in the first release on October 18th. What can you add to the discussion today?

Yeah, Adam, it is interesting. And I think Barry Schwartz does a nice job. I think he has some good connections with Google, but he published this idea that it was a 3.1 update and then there's some interesting news on his website, seroundtable.com, where he does post confirmation that the Penguin, this is still Google Penguin 3.0 rolling out. He has some sources at Google that confirmed it, so it is actually not a 3.1. But I think it is a very interesting question here. Like, what is, how long does it take an algorithm to roll out?

Google has very big computers. These things operate fairly quickly, and the idea that a rollout takes more than a month seems a little strange. But this is the new world of Google Penguin 3.0 and it is a new world, as you said, Adam, without Matt Cutts kind of, I think, being a little bit more, divulging a little more information than maybe Google was comfortable with. So they're changing up the style. We have seen a lot of contradictory things coming out of Google where some people say Google Penguin has rolled out, some people say it hasn't. So it's definitely different.

You know, I think at this point really we don't know exactly how Google Penguin is going to work going forward. Is this something that now is on and will just continue to roll out forever or is it like it was last year where Google Penguin 2.1 hit on October 4th of 2013 and then was another year until October 18th of 2014 before it changed again? I'd like to say that, and I think we've talked about this, that even though these updates do tend to shake things up and they're a little scary for anyone involved, that the idea that you have to wait a year to fix something that could have gone wrong, is very, very difficult for many small businesses and very frustrating.

So I'd like to think that Google Penguin will become something even if it occasionally does impact small business websites or any website, that it's something that you can quickly diagnose, make changes, and get back in the game. So I think we'll just have to wait and see, but if you were impacted on the 18th by Google Penguin 3.0, it probably makes sense to check your rankings because we have been seeing firsthand and also hearing reports of people who were hit on the 18th and now have recovered a month later. So that for them is certainly great news. We'll have to see as this unfolds.

Yeah. I think you're right, Chad. The couple things we know for certain is we've never seen a Google Penguin or Panda rollout take a month and a half before, so you're right, that'd be a very new posture for Google to take and does not seem likely. They, you know, they can take several days, but they seem to work a little faster than that. And as you've said, we've definitely seen people who or calls from customers coming in who had problems on October 18th and some of which, Chad, were a little bit of a head scratcher to us when we looked at them, have seen some recovery today. So that may be good news if there were some false positives in their initial attempt at Google Penguin.

On the flip side, you know, we've been tracking some folks, even including some folks, you know, we don't work with, just because we're interested in what happened, and we know there are backlink profiles that have actually gotten hit between October 18th and today. So, again, hard to know if that was part of this incremental rolling out of Google Penguin or was some other manual action. But that's everything we know about Google Penguin 3.0.

Hopefully it's helpful. Thanks for coming to the Brown Bag, and as always we will ask that you subscribe to our video series.