A Holiday Reprieve
There have been rumors, for months now, about a new Penguin release. Some SEOs are anxious, especially those hit hard by 3.0 and hoping that rankings will rebound in time for the holidays. Google officially announced that a Penguin 4.0 delay, with an update sometime in 2016. Curious about what all the fuss is about? Let’s review the various Penguin updates and how they can help or hurt a website in organic search.
Putting The Penguin 4.0 Delay Into Perspective
Version 1.0 was released in April 24, 2012. Dubbed the “Over-optimization penalty,” this filter targeted websites that used linking scheme and other tactics that artificially boosted inbound links. Sites that lost organic search traction were forced to clean up their act and wait for the next filter update. Or start over with a fresh domain. By the way, negative SEO — where other Webmasters sabotage their competitors to move up in search visibility — was significantly mentioned in the press. About a month later Google released 2.0, a refresh to original algorithm. Many speculated it was due to several false positives, non-spammy sites negatively affected while clearly poor sites (e.g., devoid of content and mostly contain links) saw no change.
We had to wait over a year for Penguin 2.1, which launched October 4, 2013. For Webmasters who cleaned-up their link profiles, their rankings may have remained relatively unchanged until the next Google filter rolled out. That was a bummer for legitimate businesses trying to follow quality guidelines. Matt Cutts, then head of Webspam at Google, was pretty clear about how the big G views search engine optimizers and their quest to squash “black hat webspam.”
Fast forward another year — October 17, 2014 — for 3.0. Downplayed as a refresh, Google claimed the rollout was spread out over several weeks. Then in December an official statement was made confirming that Penguin updates had shifted to continuous updates. Now you’re all caught up in time for the fourth installment of The Penguin Saga.
Not In Theaters Near You
This holiday season you’ll have a better chance at scoring Star Wars Episode VII tickets. The Penguin 4.0 delay is bad news for websites who had spammy links and spent the last year disavowing and cleaning up their act. White Hat Webmasters were eagerly awaiting the end of year algorithm refresh as it’s been 15 months since the last release. Google provided this official statement to Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable:
With the holidays upon us, it looks like the penguins won’t march until next year.
John Mueller also confirmed the news with a tweet.
How has your website fared the migration of Penguin? Are you sitting pretty or anxiously awaiting an update? If you’re focusing on quality — deep content that helps your audience and attracting links from relevant and credible sources — you should see steady increases in organic search.
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What does your Link Profile say about your business? How is your website weathering Penguin updates from Google?
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