Google's Panda and Penguin webspam algorithms still require manual data 'pushes' to update, a Google employee has revealed.
In a Webmaster Central office-hours hangout on Tuesday, Google's John Mueller confirmed the algorithms were "not updating the data regularly" and "kind of" needed to be pushed out manually.
Many considered manual data pushes a thing of the past, with Google revealing in December that Penguin was moving to 'continuous' updates, with "no distinct end point" to the updating process. Commentators at the time speculated that this meant the algorithm was fully integrated with Google's search processes, with no need for manual intervention.
And last month, Nate Dame published an article at Search Engine Land proposing that Google would soon use machine learning techniques to carry out updates.
The news that manual updates are still necessary is something of a double-edged sword. It's been more than five months since the last Panda update rolled out, and around four months since we saw a new Panda. From Mueller's comments, it's clear that the recent lack of updates is just that - a lack of updates. In other words, there's (apparently) nothing new and unknown going on behind the scenes.
However, those who have suffered Penguin or Panda penalties rely on these data pushes for their search rankings to recover, after making the relevant changes to their site or link profile. So if we're now having to wait more than five months for a data push to happen, it's going to be a long, hard slog for these affected webmasters.
Of course, it could be that Google is pushing out updates and refreshes, and just isn't telling us about them.
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