There probably aren’t many webmasters and content creators out there who would regard a new Penguin as a good Christmas present; but the signs are that the nervously anticipated Penguin 3.0 will be with us before Santa boards his sleigh this year.
We reported last month that Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller had confirmed that a major update to the controversial (some would say punitive) algorithm was in the pipeline. How far along the pipeline it had reached was difficult to tell. Now he’s been a little more specific. Responding in a Google Hangout on 12th September to a question asking if the update would be upon us this year, Mueller said: “My guess is yes.”
But then came the caveat: “… as always, there are always things that can happen in between. I’m pretty confident we’ll have something in the reasonable future, but not today, so we’ll definitely let you know when things are happening.”
The next Penguin algorithm, he said, will refresh faster than its predecessors, a comment that reflects Google’s acknowledgement that many webmasters quickly fixed the problems that Penguin caned them for but still saw no improvement in their search rankings: “our algorithms don’t reflect that in a reasonable time,” he conceded.
If you’ve been following the trials and tribulations of the Penguin saga, you’ll be aware that the 4th October marks the one-year anniversary of the release of Penguin 2.1. Search Engine Land journalist Barry Schwartz put the issue of “a reasonable time” rather succinctly:
“At this point, it is not reasonable to go 11+ months without a refresh, but if I had to guess, I’d hope to see one before the anniversary. I think that would be reasonable at this point in time. But your guess is as good as mine.”
Writing in Search Engine Watch, Chuck Price, the founder and president of full service marketing company Measurable SEO, recommends taking action to make your site as Penguin-friendly as possible without further ado, beginning with a link audit to ensure that ALL backlinks conform to Google Webmaster Guidelines. For those who’ve already been clobbered by the merciless Penguin, he suggests focussing on post-penalty marketing activities that are in full compliance with those guidelines.
That revamped algorithm is waddling closer every day. Time to get ready!