Google Talks Coming Penguin Update

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There's no telling when Google will finally launch the next, much-anticipated Penguin update. Now, Google's Gary Illyes, who has been hinting at dates over the past year (only to have these dates pass by penguinless) has said that he's just not going to try to give any timeframe on it anymore.

That said, it sounds like Google is still working on hard on the update, fine-tuning it and whatnot.

Are you anxiously awaiting the Penguin roll-out? Do you think Google is taking too long or are you happy to wait as long as thy get it right? Do you expect them to get it right? Discuss.

So the timeframe is really up in the air at this point. The last ballpark we got from Illyes was sometime this quarter, but we're already into March now, and there's no telling if that's still the case, especially after his most recent comments.

Illyes reportedly said in a session at the Search Marketing Expo event (paraphrasing) that he will no longer estimate when Penguin 4.0 will launch because he's already been wrong several times and it's "bad for business".

Several attendees at the conference have confirmed in tweets he said something along these lines.

He did predict a launch this quarter, but in the past, it's been suggested that it would happen in January, and before that, before the end of 2015. It's been going on 17 months.

Illyes spoke with Stone Temple Consulting this week. Naturally, he was prodded about Penguin.

He said he hasn't checked with the staff behind Penguin for a while, but that he does check in with them to ask about it. He said that like "any human," that the Penguin folks have a "threshold for nagging," suggesting if he keeps nagging them about it, they'll stop answering. He said he "knows" they are running experiments, which people can't see externally, regardless of if they think otherwise.

"They are running the experiments, but we will also not launch something that we are not happy with," he told Stone Temple. "With Penguin, it can have a very strong effect on a page, and we want to make sure that if Penguin affects a page, then we are absolutely sure that that page should be affected. We don’t want to negatively affect a page without a good reason."

Well, webmasters would be grateful for that much.

He also said, "I mean, first there’s lots of brute tuning going on, and after a while, you reach a phase where you have to actually do really, really tiny fine-tuning on Penguin and algorithms in general. And sometimes that fine-tuning can actually take way more time than the brute tuning. We are working hard to launch it as soon as possible. I can’t say more than that."

Waiting on Google to push the new Penguin has grown increasingly frustrating for businesses impacted by the update in the past, who have lost search visibility and traffic and have no way to recover until the next one comes.

Once the next one does come, it will supposedly be continuous, meaning that sites will no longer have to wait so long to recover in the future if they make the necessary adjustments.

Gary Illyes confirmed this again, telling Stone Temple that if pages are affected by Penguin, "generally," they will be able to "get rid of that effect much faster."

"So you will definitely be able to see that there is something going on, like your rankings are dropping," he said. "You can easily think back what you did, what you changed, if anything, on the site or external to the site, like off-site SEO, or link building, or whatever, and then revert those changes and see if that fixes it."

He added that they'll still have to recrawl, noting that his can still take a lot of time. He said, "It’s real-time with the data you have available, but you don’t have the data until you recrawl..."

No, don't go in expecting instant recovery exactly. Still, this process will be much preferred to the past state of affairs, and certainly compared to the months of waiting that are happening right now.

I strongly recommend you read the full interview at Stone Temple, which touches on various other worthwhile topics in addition to Penguin.

What are your thoughts about how Google has handled Penguin? Discuss.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.