Google Says Penguin To Shift To “Continuous Updates”

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A Google spokesperson has told us that they will now be updating the Penguin algorithm continuously, by optimizing it as they go. A Google spokesperson sent us the following statement around our recent questions about the holiday Penguin updates.

That last big update is still rolling out — though really there won’t be a particularly distinct end-point to the activity, since Penguin is shifting to more continuous updates. The idea is to keep optimizing as we go now.

That definitely explains all the reports of Penguin changes we’ve been recently been seeing. Which also means that we will likely be covering these updates, even if they are not confirmed by Google, when we feel the change is significant enough to warrant so. If we feel one of these “continuous updates” has resulted in enough of a significant spike in the search results, we will label it as a Penguin update within the 3.x category.

Penguin algorithm updates have historically been processed offline and pushed at a specific point in time. Google would process all the Penguin data offline and then pushed the data live, which would produced change in the search results. Now, Google seems to be saying they will change the algorithm within their live ranking processes.

Live changes to the Penguin algorithm seems to imply no more large data pushes for Penguin.

We will continue to document what we feel are changes to the live Penguin algorithm.

But what this means for sites who were impacted by any of these live changes is unclear. Do their link removal or disavow efforts get processed between each live algorithm change or would that not happen until Penguin 4.0? Again, we are working on getting clearer information from Google around these changes.

Also, why Google feels okay with changing these things now, during the holiday season, is still a bit worrisome for many. On the other hand, we wanted Google to update the Penguin algorithm faster, and it seems like Google is now.

Just to keep you all up to date, we have not seen any changes in Penguin since this Saturday, December 6, 2014:

  • Penguin 1.0 on April 24, 2012 (impacting ~3.1% of queries)
  • Penguin 1.1 on May 26, 2012 (impacting less than 0.1%)
  • Penguin 1.2 on October 5, 2012 (impacting ~0.3% of queries)
  • Penguin 2.0 on May 22, 2013 (impacting 2.3% of queries)
  • Penguin 2.1 on Oct. 4, 2013 (impacting around 1% of queries)
  • Penguin 3.0 on October 17, 2014 (impacting around 1% of queries)
  • Penguin 3.1 on November 27, 2014 (confirmed by Google, no impact given, Google considers part of Penguin 3.0)
  • Penguin 3.2 on December 2, 2014 (not confirmed by Google but based on publisher reports)
  • Penguin 3.3 on December 5, 2014 (not confirmed by Google but based on publisher reports)
  • Penguin 3.4 on December 6, 2014 (not confirmed by Google but based on publisher reports)

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