It has been over a year since Google last updated its link spam algorithm Penguin, but the company has finally confirmed that the latest version is due to be rolled out within weeks.
An update rolled out earlier earlier this month was thought to be update to Penguin by several SEOs and webmasters, but Google was quick to say that the major ranking changes seen were the result of a core algorithm update and not Penguin.
Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes said on Twitter last week that the next Penguin update will be launched in weeks when asked whether it was weeks or months away, but added that the company does not have a precise timeframe and is aiming to do it in the first quarter of 2016.
Penguin 2.0 was launched in May 2013 and Penguin 2.1 just a few months later in October 2013. The last update, Penguin 3.0, followed a year later. However, Penguin 3.0 was a refresh that affected only one per cent of US English search queries.
The main difference between a refresh and an update is that a refresh adds new signals to the algorithm, which means sites with new spam signals are demoted and those that have adhered to Google Webmasters’ terms and conditions have spam issues corrected.
Google Panda, which first launched in February 2011 to lower the rank of low-quality sites and was considered one of the most significant algorithms along with Penguin, will no longer be updated as it is now part of Google’s core ranking algorithm.
Search engine industry news website The SEM Post’s Search Writer Jennifer Slegg, who revealed the news in Understanding Google Panda: Definitive Algo Guide for SEOs, described the algorithm thusly: “It measures the quality of a site, which you can read more about in our guidelines. Panda allows Google to take quality into account and adjust ranking accordingly.”
SEO training and link building strategy company Backlinko’s Brian Dean said Google requires a website to have high-quality content, high authority and natural links to stand out on the first page of its search engine.