Several online tracking tools have recently shown major spikes in the ranking algorithms.
There was speculation that Google was rolling out the next version of Penguin. This update specifically targets sites that engage in manipulative link practices. But this version is expected to be real-time, meaning that spam links will negatively affect rankings almost immediately.
What looked like Penguin 4.0 was actually a core algorithm update. Gary Illyes, webmaster trends analyst at Google, tweeted the following in response to questions regarding the sudden spikes:
So what exactly is the update?
It turns out the core update was actually a Panda update. A spokesperson from Google made the following statement only a few days ago:
Panda is an algorithm that’s applied to sites overall and has become one of our core ranking signals. It measures the quality of a site, which you can read more about in our guidelines. Panda allows Google to take quality into account and adjust ranking accordingly.
Many webmasters and SEOs expected this update as a spokesperson from Google previously stated before the new year that Penguin wouldn’t launch until the next year. Looking at some of the fluctuations in the search results definitely seemed to indicate a major update:
The influence of the top 10 domains also appears to fade dramatically:
The recent update may not have been Penguin. But one thing for certain is that the update is expected to launch.
What to Expect With Google Penguin 4.0
Google is constantly refining its search engine to deliver more relevant results.
Part of that goal involves cracking down on spam. The first iteration of Penguin penalised sites engaged in questionable tactics such as participating in link schemes to manipulate rankings. This meant that rankings would suffer if a site was found to be buying or selling links.
The next version of Penguin update is expected to be real-time. What this means is that links will be analysed as they appear so rankings will continuously update. Any changes whether they are from good or bad links will occur almost immediately.
This is why it’s a good idea to take steps to clean up your link profile.