Google's Penguin update is notorious for taking an extremely long time to get refreshed, leaving sites negatively impacted by it out of luck until Google finally pushes a refresh through. You can make all the changes you want in an effort to recover, but if Google doesn't refresh it, it's not going to make much difference.
Google has now offered a couple of pieces of news. The third major Penguin update will be here before the end of the year, and it will start receiving quicker refreshes, which means sites (in theory) should be able to recover more quickly than they've been able to in the past.
Is Google on the right track with the Penguin update? How do you think they've handled it thus far? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Google is working on making the refresh process faster, which should please many webmasters and SEOs if and when this actually occurs.
Google's John Mueller talked about this in a Webmaster Hangout on Monday (via Search Engine Roundtable). He also noted that they're still working on the long-anticipated update (the last refresh was nearly a year ago).
"We are working on a Penguin update, so I think saying that there's no refresh coming would be false," Mueller said. "I don't have any specific timeline as to when this happens...it's not happening today, but I know the team is working on this and generally trying to find a solution that refreshes a little bit faster...but it's not happening today, and we generally try not to give out too much of a timeline ahead of time because sometimes things can still change."
Asked if Penguin refreshes will come on a regular basis like those for the Panda update, Mueller said, "We'll see what we can do there, so that's something where we're trying to kind of speed things up because we see that this is a bit of a problem when webmasters want to fix their problems, they actually go and fix these issues, but our algorithms don't reflect that in a reasonable time. So that's something where it makes sense to try to improve the speed of our algorithms...Some of you have seen this first hand, others have worked with other webmasters who have had this problem, and I think this is kind of something good to be working on."
Asked about the size of the impact of the next update, Mueller said, "That's always hard to say, and I imagine the impact also depends on your website and whether or not it's affected...if it's your website, the impact is always big, right? We're trying to find the right balance there to make sure we're doing the right things, but sometimes it doesn't go as quickly as we'd all like."
Mueller hinted in another Hangout nearly a month ago that the next Penguin wasn't too far off. He participated in yet another Hangout on Friday morning (via Barry Schwartz), and said that we can expect the next Penguin update (which would be 3.0, for all intents and purposes), by the end of the year.
That's at least somewhat of a timeline. We've only got three months left. Granted, even this timeline isn't certain.
Asked if Penguin 3.0 will launch in 2014, Mueller said, "My guess is yes, but as always, there are always things that can happen in between. I'm pretty confident that we'll have something in the reasonable future but not today, so we'll definitely let you know when things are happening."
They'll definitely let us know? That doesn't seem like Google's style these days.
This week, Mueller also confirmed that a Penguin refresh is indeed required for an affected site to recover. Most people probably already knew that or at the very least expected as much, but it's always nice to have official word from Google.
That's also all the more reason for webmasters to anticipate the next update with open arms in some cases.
Note: This story has been updated to include additional information.
Do you expect Google to actually roll the update out before the end of the year? Will you welcome a more rapidly-refreshing Penguin? Let us know in the comments.
Image via YouTube