Cross your fingers, folks—Santa might be giving us a new Penguin algorithm for Christmas! Yesterday at SMX East, a search marketing conference and expo, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes stated that the next Penguin refresh will be released in the “foreseeable future.” He added that he hopes it will arrive by the end of the year and that the algorithm will be in real time. So can we expect a new Penguin perched beneath the Christmas tree or stuffed into our stockings? It’s hard to say, but we do know that a real-time Penguin algorithm could have a major impact on the world of SEO.
What to Expect from the New Penguin Algorithm
He Sees You When You’re Sleeping, He Knows When You’re Awake
Your first question will undoubtedly be: what does it mean for an algorithm to be in real time? To put it simply, this means that as soon as Google’s spiders discover that a link has been removed or disavowed, Penguin will process the change in real time (i.e., the actual time during which an event occurs) and update search results. So it will run immediately, without any manual pushes. Although this sounds wonderful, it goes both ways: you could recover from a penalty very swiftly, it’s true, but you could also end up with a penalty at breakneck speed.
The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Penguin was originally released three years ago with a goal of better catching sites considered to be spamming search results, especially websites that attempted to boost their ranking by buying links or obtaining links through poorly-managed networks. With each update, the algorithm is modernized and upgraded to catch sites that have not previously been apprehended.
Back in July, Illyes stated on Twitter that the Penguin refresh was still “months away.” This wasn’t surprising, considering how slowly past updates of Penguin have been released (source):
- Penguin 1.0: April 2012
- Penguin 1.1: May 2012
- Penguin 1.2: October 2012
- Penguin 2.0: May 2013
- Penguin 2.1: October 2013
- Penguin 3.0: October 2014
Only Time Will Tell
We’re certainly getting closer to the new Penguin update, though we don’t have an official date or progress report. In addition to the announcement by Illyes at SMX East, in late September, John Mueller (another Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google) stated in a Google+ Hangout that he wasn’t sure when the new Penguin update would launch, but if he had to guess, he would say that it will be out before the end of the year. You can watch that video here, starting at the 28:25 mark:
It’s important to remember that nothing is set in stone. As you can see in the video, Mueller isn’t comfortable announcing a definite launch date. Plus, Google was supposed to launch the real time version of Penguin with an earlier update, but they weren’t quite ready. So don’t count your eggs before they hatch—or should I say, don’t count your presents until they’re unwrapped?
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