Many businesses have been fretting about a forthcoming tweak to Google’s search algorithm, called Google Penguin 4.0, but it turns out the change won’t be happening until next year.
Google had indicated earlier that the change, which could radically alter how businesses show up in search results, would occur by the end of this year. (Gary Illyes, a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, posted on Twitter that he expected the release to come within 2015.)
But Search Engine Land has just learned that the update will not be released until 2016. “With the holidays upon us, it looks like the penguins won’t march until next year,” a Google spokesperson told the publication.
Google has explained that when Penguin is implemented, the search algorithm won’t change suddenly and start immediately yielding different search results and rankings. The change will happen in real time as searches for specific terms happen. Google said that it intends to make algorithm changes in this way going forward.
Google updates its algorithm to wage a continuing war against fraudulent links.
The last official Penguin update — Penguin 3.0 — came on October 17, 2014. The release of Penguin on October 24, 2012 had seismic effects on the fortunes of many businesses, who saw their page rankings plummet as a result of the algorithm change.
This time around, companies have a little while longer to get their SEO houses in order.
But how, you ask? There may be no easy answer, but here’s a start.
“The first and most obvious step to take is reviewing the external sites linking to your own,” says Blue Fountain Media CMO Yoni Ben-Yehuda.
“Take a look to see where links are coming from, how many you have, and which are follow and no-follow,” Ben-Yehuda says. “While both kinds of links are important for a strong backlink profile, followed links play a bigger role in SEO (search engine optimization) than nofollow links do.”
“Review the domain authorities of the sites linking to your pages, as well as factors like the Moz spam scores for each link, to gain an idea of whether or not Google will find them questionable,” he says.