More than a year since the most recent refresh, Google has once again confirmed that it is the process of refreshing its Penguin algorithm. The algorithm caused a stir in May last year, when version 2.0 was rolled out. Approximately 2.3% of queries were affected, and because it was an update, most of the sites that saw changes experienced a major slide in results. This most recent refresh, however, could reasonably be seen as Google giving webmasters, that have undertaken the very manual process of cleaning their link profile, the opportunity to see their rankings rise again.
Penguin is a search algorithm that is run manually, and therefore is not include in the general search algorithm. If Penguin isn’t manually rolled out, then its ranking factors are not taken into account.
A Positive Refresh?
Despite the need for manual action, Google has waited more than a year to run what is basically a refresh. No additional ranking factors have been added, and none removed. As such, it looks like the search engine is using this opportunity to reward webmasters that took the time to remove unnatural links, and to use the link disavow tool that they were offered. The recovery process was manual, and would have taken considerable time for some websites, so the one year wait will have benefited many.
Just A Refresh?
Many site owners and SEOs were expecting a meaty update, complete with additional changes and further penalties. Following the furore surrounding guest posting and private blog networks, there were those that expected to see penalties introduced for these types of link. However, no such penalties were added. Despite the 12 month wait, all that has happened is that the exact same algorithm that was run a year ago, is being run again.
Although this may only be a refresh, and most changes will be positive ones, there will undoubtedly be some sites that are negatively impacted. Once again, the key will be to clean up link profiles and to start to encourage natural, organic links. Many will also consider it a sensible approach to move away from artificial guest posting and the use of private blog networks, in anticipation of future changes.