Google Rarely Updates The Penguin Algorithm

Feb 21, 2013 • 8:43 am | comments (30) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google PenguinIt has almost been five months since the last Penguin refresh and no updates to the Penguin algorithm are in sight.

In fact, I reported yesterday at Search Engine Land that No, Google Hasn’t Released Unannounced Penguin Updates. Why did I have to report that? Couple reasons:

(1) There was some speculation based on a video hangout with John Mueller that Penguin refreshed regularly. It does not, it never did, and the truth is, it refreshes very rarely.

(2) It has been almost five months since an official Penguin update and I wanted to make sure we didn't miss any updates.

Google has told us that Penguin is rarely refreshed, unlike Panda and we didn't miss any Penguin refreshes since.

What was John talking about? He was talking about normal link analysis is refreshed and rerun continuously.

I posted this on my Google+ page and then someone brought up the Zebra update. There is no such thing, stop asking me about Zebras. There was not a Zebra update.

Forum discussion at Google+.

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02/21/2013 01:53 pm

The worst part is for those of us who used the Disavow Link Tool we need a Penguin refresh to see if there are any effects from using the tool.


02/21/2013 02:00 pm

Bad penguin. Pinguino malo me quita mis ingresos para comprar comida


02/21/2013 02:13 pm

Yeah, is there going to be another one ever? This chickadero seems to really doubt it!topic/webmasters/I0BeQJnwZG8


02/21/2013 02:14 pm

I don't see all that much good coming out of using the Disavow Tool, although I'm not convinced. If Google knows what links are bad based on their own data, why do we need to disavow the links ourselves? Why doesn't Google just disavow them for us? There are plenty of awesome websites out there with great/relevant links and great content that are still struggling from April 24th- a day that will live in infamy in the webmaster world. Why keep penalizing a site that has stopped all "bad" behavior? There was bad behavior in the first place because that bad behavior WORKED and Google let it happen for a long time.


02/21/2013 02:46 pm

I am pretty sure that the penguin updates being infrequent has nothing to do with the disavow links tool. "What was John talking about? He was talking about normal link analysis is refreshed and rerun continuously." That is pasted from the post you are commenting on. Reading and comprehension, it is a pretty neat thing, huh? Also, you seem to have a strange understanding of what the disavow links tool actually is...


02/21/2013 03:09 pm

The only point I was making was that there has not been a Penguin refresh since the Disavow Links Tool was released. While people have been using the tool to help get Google to lift manual penalties we have no idea as yet if the tool will influence the Penguin algorithm results for our sites.

Gregory Smith

02/21/2013 03:23 pm

I seen that video by John Mueller, and as someone who's a Google treasurer, why would he promote such a video?


02/21/2013 03:47 pm

I don't believe that we need an algo update for Penguin to recover, since it is algo related just clean the on-site and off-site links to the best you can. But the most important steps are going to add quality links and quality content while hoping for the best results in the meantime, what you all think?


02/21/2013 03:53 pm

There most certainly is a Zebra update. It is the continued ascension of brand recognition on the Z axis of the overall Google Internet presence. One way or another, paid advertisers and big brands rule the day.


02/21/2013 05:22 pm

How about a poodle update? Has there been one of those?

Gabriel Sita

02/21/2013 05:26 pm

I thought there was a Penguin update yesterday, it seems i was wrong.

Keshab Raj Adhikari

02/21/2013 05:36 pm

As far i know, if you are using disavow tool you do not wait for penguin algorithm to update. The result should out showly even without any update with in 1-4 weeks after the submission.

Marie Haynes

02/21/2013 06:13 pm

That's not how most people understand Penguin. The general consensus is that you disavow the bad links and then wait until the next refresh to see if you recover. But no one can prove that yet because there hasn't been a refresh since the disavow tool came out. There are other ways to recover a Penguin hit site that could cause it to recover outside of a refresh date, however, if your problem is not just an issue with links to the homepage. But for most site, the homepage is the one that has been linked.

Marie Haynes

02/21/2013 06:15 pm

What I don't understand is what is meant by "normal link analysis"? Does this mean that Google is constantly crawling the web and putting links in a basket that says, "bad links" so that when Penguin refreshes a site can be penalized if they have enough of them? Or does it mean something else?

Ross Dunn

02/21/2013 06:49 pm

Zebra update... Hahaha, loved your response Barry. Totally lightened my day.

Scott Van Achte

02/21/2013 06:53 pm

What about the zebra update? ;-)


02/21/2013 07:46 pm

Maybe I am reading it wrong then. I had assumed that John saying that normal link analysis is refreshed and rerun continuously meant that you did not have to wait for a penguin refresh to see any sort of influence/lack-of from the disavow tool.


02/21/2013 08:15 pm

Spoiler alert: don't hold your breath ;-)

Uri Lederman

02/21/2013 08:54 pm

Does anyone know if the disavow tool works in a way that it disavow those links DIRECTLY from the index or JUST for the specific site that asked for it??? Does it make sense what I am asking.. I mean if my competitor decides to disavow my links??? Would the Big G allow for that??


02/21/2013 09:05 pm

You maybe right and a Penguin refresh may not be required, it’s just not clear at the moment until we have a refresh. Many people including my self have seen no positive impact from using the tool. Therefore I hope that a refresh is needed to affect the algorithm results or I fear this particular website will be lost to search result obscurity.

Jimmy Bo Horne

02/21/2013 11:38 pm

Christ almighty, if you were hit by penguin and used the disavow tool, get on with building quality signals to your site. Pre penguin activities might've been the only reason you ranked anyway and no new roll out will change that.


02/22/2013 06:24 am

@2c49d311059fd6f53e055d6ceefe47be:disqus I agree that disavow tool is not too reliable to test with a penguin update. As any another penguin update can play a havoc in SEO community.

Michael Gocia

02/22/2013 03:52 pm

I Faced some difficulties when using Disavow link tool with out penguin updates , Really it wasted me couple of days .


02/22/2013 04:29 pm

@a1brandz:disqus I agree with the havoc but I would rather systematic havoc than no update at all... This is killing many site and SEO's because we cant recover. At least if the updates were similar to Panda we could try something wait for an update then keep trying if it doesn't work.


02/22/2013 04:33 pm

It seems that everyone associates Penguin with link building. I have a site that was penalized on the date of the last Penguin update for which I had done no link building effort whatsoever. The site was relatively small (about 100 pages total), but had some pretty bad keyword stuffing throughout the content (yea yea I know...). Just wanted to point out that there are other types of black hat activity that can get a site flagged by Penguin. I have since hired someone to write original content for the site (completed back in December) and am waiting patiently for this next Penguin update. I have some relevant content for many things of which I have the only legitimate page on the web (assuming all the other legitimate pages aren't also stuck with a penalty), yet I can't even rank for the obscure search terms that would lead someone there! Perhaps Googlers are under the impression that Penguins hibernate...

Rank Watch

02/22/2013 08:56 pm

Absolutely! Totally agree with you Chris. To see the effects of a disavow Link tool penguin updates are not the only needs, Link spam notifications by Google land straight into one's Google webmasters inbox and Google recently has also mentioned that they are going to give webmasters an example of a spammy link on their link profile which must be removed or disavowed. Removing these and other spammy links helps the site to be free of spam and might see a small change in rankings for few keywords and the impact can be measured.


02/22/2013 11:04 pm

google not care about webmasters. all this algorithms only to make money. They not care also about google serp quality at all.

Suresh Kumar

02/23/2013 07:10 am

haha, I guess it's a rumor still.

Chetan Bhasin

02/23/2013 06:33 pm

LOL! Even I saw rumors about Zebra at Facebook. Guess what... Google is probably gonna make people research about animals instead of SEO.

Ben Guest

02/25/2013 04:35 pm

The famous Zebra update... ZXing (pronounced "zebra crossing") is an open-source, multi-format 1D/2D barcode image processing library implemented in Java, with ports to other languages.

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