I think we are on the verge of seeing Penguin 4.0 launch soon at Google - I think we are just about there. I know, I know, it's been a while. I have seen some chatter in the industry, on and off chatter, over the past 12 hours or so, that people are noticing some drastic changes with the Google search rankings on and off.
It can be nothing, it can be a blip, it can be a different algorithm or it can be people making stuff up - but it also can be Google testing Penguin 4.0 to a limited set of searchers.
The folks at WebmasterWorld over the past 12 hours or so have been asking about it:
JS Harris, a senior Webmaster World member said:
I have a small list of 10 distinct keywords for my site that I check when I wonder if a major update has occurred. The bottom few results on page one generally come and go but the top spots stay immortal. They stay there, that is, until there is a major update.
I'm only ever mildly surprised when I see a would be contender for immortality disappear but it's usually because they've become frustrated with 'almost ranked' status(below the fold) and made major changes, which didn't help.
9/10 of the immortals have changed, in my opinion this has been a major update(affecting roughly 1% of queries, no doubt). Penguin perhaps?
Another person said:
Yesterday, I was ranked #2 for another brands keyword. Today, I am ranked in both position 7 & 8 for 2 separate articles... basically on my website I have a "vendors" page which has all their products listed, and then links to information specific to their products (more in depth). I did not take into account the confusion it would cause to Google, I would suspect it fairly easy to distinguish in this day and age...
Martin Ice Web, another senior member also noticed traffic and algorithm changes in rankings.
I have some recent comments on my Google webmaster report with webmasters saying "yes something is rolling on. One of my website got hit really badly." Another said "I think there is an update happening too. Seen some serious movement on a few keywords, some good, some bad."
It would not surprise me if this is Google testing Penguin in the wild. If so, and all is good, we may see a Penguin 4.0 release this weekend or next? Wishful thinking?
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.