There’s been plenty of speculation regarding the delay – the Google statement itself gave little away:
“With the holidays upon us, it looks like the penguins won’t march until next year.”
So what could be the real reason behind the postponed update? Some experts believe a significant update at one of the busiest times of year could be devastating to those who are penalized. Upon roll-out of the upgrade, many businesses could find themselves losing out on customers and profits because of an update they have no control over.
Most of Google’s updates also take a few weeks for the bugs to be ironed out. A not-quite-perfect update being rolled out in the weeks before Christmas could see hard-working businesses seriously lose out through no fault of their own. Some also suggest that putting the finishing touches to a global algorithm update over the Christmas season is unfair to Google employees – especially when the update could just be postponed until the New Year.
The latest update of the Penguin algorithm is expected to analyze all links in real-time, which means ranking changes could happen almost instantly. Penguin will be continuously updating, meaning webmasters will no longer have to wait weeks or months for Google’s rankings to refresh.
A history of Penguin updates
The last Penguin update (Penguin 3.0) was rolled out around thirteen months ago in October 2014. The update (which was deemed more of a ‘refresh’ by the Google team) aimed to demote sites that had poor link profiles, while helping sites that had previously been hit to clean up their link profiles and boost their rankings once more. Penguin 3.0 was met with criticism from the business and internet community, all of whom complained about poor communication from Google, confusion about the roll-out period and the fact that they’d waited a year for a few minor algorithm tweaks.
Penguin 2.0 was a game-changer, with around 2.3% of web queries affected. It targeted ‘black-hat’ techniques like buying mass links, spamming directory sites and leaving hundreds of comments on blogs, while attempting to reward those who focused on providing a high-quality online experience, developing strong original content and building ethical links.
Eager for updates
Many of those that were hit by Penguin 3.0 are growing increasingly eager for the new version, which they hope will allow them to start ranking on Google once more. The new update will also give webmasters the instant changes they’re craving, with real-time updates removing the long wait for algorithm pushes or data refreshes. In the meantime, webmasters are urged to keep conducting thorough link audits and ensure their back links are all from reputable sources over the next few weeks, until more information is released about Penguin 4.0 early in 2016.