Penguin 4.0 Was it worth the wait?

Penguin 4.0 Was it worth the wait? pixelwork

Penguin 4.0 Was it worth the wait?

For almost two years (707 days, to be exact), one question has dominated the SEO conversation: “When will Google Penguin be updated?” Finally the answer was revealed. Google announced that an update to penguin has been released and is now operating in real time.

September has been a very volatile month for the SERPs (more on that further down in the post), but here's what the MozCast has been seeing over the past two weeks, including last night:

At 113°F, September 27 was the second “hottest day” in MozCast history, and they have seen a steady acceleration since Google's announcement on September 23. Google has suggested that the impact of Penguin 4.0 could take time while they reindex the entire web, especially the deep links. They were skeptical of this idea at first, but the data suggests that this may be exactly what is happening. We will know more in the coming days.

What happened in September?

September has been the most volatile month for the SERPs since temperature tracking began in April 2012 (just a couple of weeks before Penguin 1.0). As far as is known, the volatility during the first stage of September was not due to the launch of Penguin 4.0.

There are no official statements (currently) about other changes, but we are aware of two things. First, many local SEOs saw big changes around September 1, when MozCast followed a high of 108°F. This has been dubbed the Possum update, and reports say that local loading URLs also moved from substantially (MozCast does not track this data). We saw an overall drop in local presence in our data set on that day (approximately 7,3% day over day).

Secondly, between September 13 and 14 there was a massive drop in SERPs (vertical results image). This caused great volatility, as the image results occupied an organic position and so the SERPs got an extra organic result on page 1. The temperature that day was 111°F. Here is the two-week graph of SERPs with image results on page 1:

SERPs with images from our dataset dropped 49% overnight and have not recovered. Moz has hand-checked dozens of these results and verified. In some cases, images were moved to deeper pages. It is not clear if the results were affected.

Were you affected by Penguin 4.0?

I have often said that measuring algorithm flow is like measuring the unemployment rate. It is interesting for the economy in general, if the rate is 5% or 6%, but ultimately you can only have or not have a job. If you were affected by an algorithm update, it's little consolation that the MozCast temperature dropped that day.

Hopefully, if you were affected by Penguin in the past and have made changes, these changes have been (or soon will be) rewarded. The good news is that now that Penguin is real-time, you shouldn't have to wait another two years for a major update.