Many webmasters and SEOs reported major fluctuations in the search results over the last week. A number of tracking tools saw major changes in the Google algorithm including MozCast:
Many believed that the update was the latest version of Google Penguin. But it was later confirmed to be a core update to the ranking algorithm. The big question that everyone seems to be asking is when the next iteration of Penguin will be launched.
Now it appears that the update may be rolled out much sooner than expected. Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst, recently responded a question regarding the next Penguin update:
Google is currently not revealing an exact date and could still be making finishing touches. But at least we have a much better idea of when to expect the new update.
Google Penguin was originally launched back in 2012 to combat instances of link spam. Many sites engaged in manipulative tactics (e.g. buying links, using automation tools, etc.) found themselves no longer showing up in the search results for their target keywords. Meanwhile those sites with clean link profiles were rising in rankings.
The last release of Penguin was well over a year ago, but it was technically more of a “refresh” as it only affected about 1% of all US search queries.
The next version however is rumored to be a real-time update. What this means is that the algorithm will be able to identify spam link profiles more quickly. Previously, increases or decreases in rankings would correlate with the release of algorithm updates such as Panda or Penguin.
With real-time updates, your site would be able to recover more quickly if spam links are removed or disavowed. But it also means that your site could be hit penalties just as quickly.
Penguin To Be Part of the Core Algorithm
In addition to providing an update on the expected release of Penguin, Illyes has also confirmed that it will be part of the core algorithm:
With Panda already integrated into the core algorithm and soon Penguin, Google is moving another step closer towards ensuring that only high quality sites are at the top of the search results. The changes were widely expected by many experienced SEOs. But many webmasters will need to make several changes moving forward.
Better Content and Relevant Backlinks
The recent changes to the ranking algorithm along with the update to the Search Quality Guidelines now makes content quality more of a priority. This makes sense given that users rely on search engines to find information.
With poor quality content, you can expect rankings to suffer in the search results. But if you consistently deliver engaging content that is relevant to your market, then Google will reward your site with higher rankings. There is absolutely no other way to skirt around this fact.
Backlinks are another important aspect of the impending Penguin update.
Quality and relevance are absolutely key here. If you have been relying solely on automation tools or other tactics to build links, your rankings could soon plummet. The best kind of links are those that are from relevant sites, and ideally within the content rather than the footer or sidebar. Before the update starts to rollout, now is the perfect time to cleanup the link profiles on your site.
Google is expected to launch the next iteration of Penguin within the next few weeks. The major changes here is that this update will be real-time and part of the core algorithm. These steps are in line with the search giant’s goal to deliver even more relevant results with each search query. If you have questions regarding this update or how it may impact your site, please contact us!