It’s been almost a year since the last update to Penguin, Google’s much-maligned search ranking algorithm. Many webmasters and SEO experts have been waiting and wondering when it would happen with bated breath. Their sense of urgency stems from a desire to receive the higher rankings that have been earned, in theory, by correcting various sins against the commandments of the Penguin.
For this to happen, the algorithm needs to be refreshed. Once a site has been penalized by Penguin and thus receives a low page rank in search results, that state of affairs remains until the algorithm is refreshed. Unlike with Panda, the previous controlling algorithm, Penguin refreshes are proving to be few and far between. That means that sites that have worked hard to correct the mistakes that cost them points in the race for page rank are still not seeing the results of their corrective actions.
Google has acknowledged the problem, with John Mueller making rather vague promises of progress during a Webmaster Hangout on September 8: “We are working on a Penguin update…it’s not happening today, but I know the team is working on this and generally trying to find a solution that refreshes a little bit faster.”
In response to a question that specifically addressed the delay in Penguin refreshes, and thus the delay in recovery for sites affected by earlier mistakes, Mueller said, “We’ll see what we can do there, so that’s something where we’re trying to kind of speed things up because we see that this is a bit of a problem when webmasters want to fix their problems, they actually go and fix these issues, but our algorithms don’t reflect that in a reasonable time. So that’s something where it makes sense to try to improve the speed of our algorithms.”
The conversation detailed above begins around 34:30 in the video.
Feel free to watch the entire session to learn more nitty gritty SEO details about the way Penguin interacts with links and what to expect, but the upshot is that an update is coming and refreshes will hopefully become more regular occurrences, allowing sites to recover faster.