The next Penguin update is on its way, and it's going to be big

Posted by Owen Powis on 17 Aug, 2012
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The next Penguin update is on its way, and it's going to be big from Wordtracker, the leading keyword research tool

Penguin was big. Impacting a lot of SEOs and Webmasters. According to Matt Cutts, the head of the Web Spam team at Google, there is an update on the horizon which will have an even bigger impact.


A recent post by State of Search talked about some comments made by Matt Cutts at a recent conference, SES In San Francisco. It seems that he mentioned that there is a big Penguin update on the way ...

When asked specifically about the latest Penguin update his response was: “We are constantly improving. And for those who think the important updates are done now, think again.”

He also said: “You don’t want the next Penguin update, the engineers have been working hard.”

This all sounds pretty ominous, especially for anyone that’s been hit by the previous update. One thing that SEOs have been wondering is when will the next Penguin update hit. Interestingly when SERoundtable published these comments Matt took the trouble to comment on the article.

In his comment he says that at SES he was “giving context on the fact that lots of people were asking me when the next Penguin update would happen, as if they expected Penguin updates to happen on a monthly basis and as if Penguin would only involve data refreshes.

Note the bolded part, he is essentially saying that it is unrealistic to expect the next update to only include data refreshes. He goes on to say that:

“... the engineers are incorporating new signals and iterating to improve the algorithm.”

This is building a pretty strong case for the next update having a pretty big impact. Something that Matt clarifies in saying:

“... expect that the next few Penguin updates will take longer, incorporate additional signals and as a result will have more noticeable impact.”

So what are these signals likely to be? Well Penguin is a link based update, so it’s most likely to be link based signals. Well, back at SES Matt said that:

“... sites that have social sharing, natural sharing – instead of buying links – are generally not going to be hit. By next year, we hope marketers/webmasters get that and natural link building becomes the norm.”

So we know the update is going to hit in 2012. Personally I would have thought sooner rather than later, as he also mentioned that “the engineers have been working hard” rather than the engineers are working really hard.

Ultimately Matt’s advice on how to avoid getting hit has always been pretty straightforward. Build something unique that adds value. Matt focuses on this point several times and it’s clearly what Google are looking for.

I think it’s worth mentioning as well that this isn’t ‘unique content’ as in a combination of words that hasn’t been used elsewhere. This means truly unique. It’s about having information that just isn’t available anywhere else.

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