A new version of Google's Penguin algorithm could hit SERPs as early as next week, according to Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land.
Google webmaster trends analyst Gary Illyes, speaking at Search Marketing Expo East, reportedly said that Google could launch a refresh of the Penguin algorithm at some point next week, with Schwartz adding: "This is not just a refresh, but a large re-write of the algorithm that took Google almost a full year to release."
This update comes almost a year to the day after the last Penguin update (2.1). Schwartz, presumably paraphrasing Illyes, says the long wait is because Google wanted "to push out an update that makes both webmasters and users happy."
He adds: "So they are working hard on making both happy."
The last update was a big hitter. In a poll on Search Engine Roundtable, nearly 70 per cent of respondents reported: "My site was hurt bad by Penguin 2.1 (drop in traffic)."*
The new Penguin update, by contrast, will make webmasters' lives "easier a bit", reports Schwartz, adding: "For most people it will make it a 'delight'."
These words might seem to bode well for webmasters waiting to recover from previous Penguin penalties. However, it's often the case that updates announced in advance tend to involve more fundamental and wide-ranging changes.
Illyes reportedly warned (In Schwartz's words): "If you disavow bad links now or as of about two weeks ago, it will likely be too late for this next Penguin refresh." However, Schwartz also reports that the new update will result in refreshes happening more regularly, meaning webmasters won't have to wait as long for a possible recovery.
From Schwartz's account, it appears that a Penguin update is quite likely next week. However, if Google's testing phase throws up any problems, we'll likely have to wait a little longer.
*At the time of writing - this poll is still open so results could change.
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