This post was written by Amanda at Web Marketing Group. The author’s views below are entirely their own and may not reflect the views of Laurence Caro.
Google pushing penguin updates without announcing them to the world, has been the latest conspiracy theory cooked up by nervous SEOs. But is it true? If Penguin refreshes are happening without our knowledge, how will this affect SEO?
SEO bods kept a close eye on Matt Cutt’s every move back in October 2012 as they anticipated the third Penguin refresh. The last time Penguin hit, shortly after Matt Cutts tweeted notice, 0.3% of English language queries were impacted. This was over five months ago.
So where is Penguin now? Just a couple of months into 2013 and well known online publications such as webpronews.com and SEO Roundtable were stirring the cauldron with notions of a new year update from Google. But as we go further into March, there still seems to be no sign of another Penguin refresh.
This appears to be the question on everyone’s lips. Back in January, there was some suspected activity from a report by Search Engine Roundtable, where there were some alleged ‘weaker signs of a Google update”. To back this, there were further reports from forum members at WebmasterWorld discussing Google changes.
One senior forum member posted: “I’m seeing quite dramatic changes in SERPs today, I suspect quite a major update of some sort is crunching… too early to tell if it’s Panda.”
There were suspicions of an EMD algorithm update and Panda. There also began rumours that the next Penguin push by Google would roll out without the usual warning from Matt Cutts or anyone else from the Google spam team. John Mueller’s Video Hangout led some people to believe that there were regular updates happening from Penguin – but what’s the truth?
Finally, we have a report from Barry Schwartz which includes confirmation from Google that there has not been an unannounced data refresh for Penguin since the last reported update back in October 2012. Furthermore, Google tells us that “Penguin is rarely refreshed, unlike Panda, and we didn’t miss any Penguin refreshes since [Oct 2012]”.
So is Google pushing Penguin updates without announcing them? Google tells us that this is not the case. Confusion over the recent Google Webmaster Video Hangout with John Mueller left a few SEOs suspicious that there was a regular cycle of refreshes from Penguin. But as Google now confirms, there has been a total of three updates; the first one rolled out in April 2012 (with 3.1% of English language queries affected), the second one followed in May 2012 (with 0.1% of English language queries affected) and the third and last reported update was October 2012 (0.3% of English language queries affected).
Whilst we have word from Google that there have not been any further refreshes since last year, we can only wait patiently for the next one.