Probably.... (see what I did there) Ok P3 is on the way, according to Google themselves it might launch this very week subject to testing. This is how they operate, the old double whammy. While the standard algo updates all the time, Google like their instanced "P" buddies to stack up on websites. A big Panda followed by a big Penguin (and a big Pelican last year - remember that? - Nah thought not) Thing is, all these updates run to a quite predictable pattern. While it's not unusual for say 20% of the changes to be a shock, the other 80% are a continuation of a process that Google outlined several years ago, they are just layering it on. So here's my 5... sorry 6 predictions for big P. It's a risk publishing this here - I'm going to look a first class twot if I get too many of these wrong, but I'm pretty confident most of them will shake out "Close enough for Rock 'n' Roll" Google's Gary Illyes reported at SMX East that Penguin 3.0 could be rolling out as soon as next week (week commencing 6th October 2014) Not sure what Penguin is? Check it out here. While the push out does depend on last minute testing, even if it misses this date, we can expect it out this month, almost exactly a year after the last update. Google have told us that from now on updates will be more frequent. Whether that means twice yearly, quarterly of monthly is unsure. As usual the search engine are keeping their cards close to their chest. For all that, it is quite possible to make some sensible predictions here. All the previous updates have followed a trend, plotted quite a specific line from where the index was in 2011, to where Google seem to be taking it.As an aside here, where Google seem to be taking at and where they claim to be taking it are not quite the same thing. But that's a conversation for a different post The Linking Platform "De Jour" To Be Hit Oh come on, of course they will. Penguin hit article sites, Penguin 2 hit WIKI sites. It's a simple process to see what black hat linkers are using and an easy target to pick out whatever the most popular/highly advertised link platform ahs been for the past few months and just downgrade links from that platform. It's a blanket approach, and it tends not to be long lasting. Not long lasting? No, not really. For instance, did you know that almost 80% of article sites folded, lapsed hosting or changed platform after the first Penguin? Now, those that remain once the field is cleared are the better ones. New ones have also emerged that have better spam protection and don't allow 3rd parties to auto post overtly commercial content and spam links on them. Getting a link on a PR5 article site now takes some work, and for the most part is well worth the effort . Self hosted "Press releases" were another soft target of course. What will it be this time? Prediction: Some self Hosted WEB2.0 platforms will get hammered Both the sites themselves and those they link to. My guess is some of the older platforms that have "blasts" offered on them. Elgg is a prime possible target here, though others may be involved. Empty Links Struck - Again Empty links? By this I mean links without context, often without surrounding content on sites that seem to do nothing than offer outbound links all over the place without context or content. Penguin runs periodically. These "empty links" get hit, and the sites they link to suffer. Then something strange happens, it seems creating more of them straight after the algorithm has run seems to work just fine - until the algorithm runs again. Sites that use or offer empty links seem immune to the normal daily updates and only suffer when a full Penguin refresh is done. Strange. Tools like Xrumer and GSA, if left on default settings create tons of these links. The other metrics can look ok.. Decent age and PR and (if you are interested) Moz authority, but the site being linked from is a cavern of "nothingness". The age old proverb applies about not automating a process you don't understand. Until you know SEO leave the shiny tool alone, they will do you more harm than good. Prediction: Forums will be full of people moaning about particular tools getting them a penalty. The truth will be the tool is fine, more often the not it's the user who is at fault. The Last Hurrah For Page Rank I love one of the standard Google penalty notices. It's like something from antiquity. It goes on about "attempting to manipulate Page rank" Yeah, right, since when has anyone with any SEO experience taken the slightest interest in Page rank outside of flipping sites to people who know no better than to think it's still a relevant metric for anything. Penguin 3 might spell the last time this notice is used But that doesn't stop Google looking for strange PR patterns. A sudden influx of hi PR ******** links and it suspects the webmaster has bought into a link scheme. Why the last hurrah? Well, in a matter of months, Google loses the exclusive rights to use several of the key components of Page rank under the 25 year patent and copyright laws (yes, Pr is that old) I have no doubt that a very similar system will take its place "Page rank 2.0" or whatever, they may even look to buy out a proprietary authority metric like Moz - who dropped SEO from their title last year if you remember - a shrewd move for a company wanting to make them seem more like Google insiders than index manipulators - expecting a friendly bid soon are we Rand? Prediction: Google will make a last effort to clean house. High PR link schemes and those that bought into them will get hit. Some big name link selling companies will go down. 301 Redirects And Other Forms Of Authority/Link Transfer Wiped Out You made too much noise folks. It became an industry. People wrote ebooks and started companies to do the job. The red flag was waved in the bulls face, and now we are going to see the reaction. 301 (or other forms) of re-direct were always a trick. A piece of slight of hand that never really looked permanent to me. They were the equivalent of putting some cardboard over a broken window. A great idea, but it went mass market and now that puts Google in the position of seeming weak or none responsive unless it reacts. History tells me they will react. This is probably the aspect I am most doubtful about though. While I am certain the big G will do something at some point, I also have an idea they might do a "special update" at some other time for these as the remit, although link and authority transfer based, isn't quite what Penguin has done in the past. Prediction: Google will clamp down on redirects of link juice or authority transfer. Either in Penguin 3 or soon after. Authority Sites Boosted - Small and Mini Sites Slapped Nothing new here. This has been an on-going process. Panda checks your content and favours authority that way. Penguin checks your link profile with the expectation that a smaller site with less content should have fewer links unless it can differentiate itself in some unique way. Between them they have been "double teaming" small sites for the past 3 years. It's not fair, it makes little sense. Historical or "done deal" topic sites don't need to be big, and in fact shouldn't be big. Nor should many sites types require constant updates. It makes little sense for some companies to update at all - but this has always been the case, and Google has always steam-rolled smaller sites in favour of larger and regularly updated ones no matter what the niche Caveat: Outside the 1000 or so commercial niches that seem to be manually indexed rather than algorithmically that is. Prediction: The penalty for having a small or static site will continue as it always does. Seemingly regardless of whether it makes sense to do so or not New Or Improved Clean Up Method Announced We had the nonsense of the disavow tool/process. The whole site recovery industry grow up along side its darker cousin the Negative SEO industry. Google have taken some flak over both of these things over the past 20 months or so, and seemingly looked to ignore them both. A quick video from Matt Cutts aside, (see below) their response to criticism from many quarters to facilitating "Spam for cash" in the form of negative SEO has been deafeningly silent. However, along with the hint that the algorithm will run more frequently, Google have made hints that the clean up process would be better. Partly because it does a refresh when the algorithm runs, and partly because they want to help out webmasters. Expect a backlash to this as with every Google update. Penguin 3 will get a big stick - and a little carrot This was the last time Matt spoke openly about the problem - and I hope he's aware how, since this time Neg SEO has become a very sophisticated industry using long term, hard hitting and very smart methods.Here's the thing. Most webmasters, after being hit, make a cursory effort to recover, then give up. Quit the web, buy a new domain or use something like the 301 trick (and it is a trick). Google are left with dealing with only those that really do want to make the effort, and in a rare case of reciprocity (something Google are certainly not known for) it seems that having understood this, they might try and help out in return. Prediction: Google will pay lip service to collateral damage with a barely tweaked recovery system that still emphasis punishment ahead of rehabilitation - Punishment even for those clearly attacked by negative SEO. Why - because they really don't care. Why should they?