Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes, stated on Twitter today the next Penguin update is due to roll out within weeks. At the very latest, it should launch by the end of this quarter.
@mrjamiedodd I'll go with weeks. We're aiming for launching penguin this quarter, but we don't have a more precise timeframe.
— Gary Illyes (@methode) January 19, 2016
This is the closest thing to a launch date we’ve heard out of the Google camp with respect to the next Penguin update. While reluctant to give an exact time frame, Illyes has at least given an estimate to hold over questioning webmasters and SEOs.
It has been over a year since Google officially rolled out an update to its link spam algorithm. Penguin 3.0 was rolled out in October 2014, which was technically just a “refresh” that affected less than 1% of US English search queries.
What’s different between an algorithm ‘refresh’ and an algorithm ‘update’ is that an update does not add any additional signals to the algorithm. A refresh serves to demote sites that have newly discovered spam signals that weren’t present at the time of the previous update. A refresh also serves to help sites that have corrected their spam issues since the last update.
Prior to that, Penguin 2.1 occurred on October 2013, which was said to be an improvement on Penguin 2.0 launched in May 2013. Penguin 2.0 was confirmed by Google to contain new spam-fighting technology, which was the last time we heard the search giant confirm adding new signals to the algorithm.
What will Google have in store for us this time? Details are sparse, and if history is anything to go by we likely won’t have our questions answered until the update finally rolls out.