Although Google has traditionally refrained from running updates to their search engine during the winter holiday season, the 2014 Penguin filter is a different story.
Penguin 3.0 began rolling out on October 17, 2014, but has continued to update on and off since then, including a Thanksgiving Day update. Google reported that this Penguin run would be a slow roll-out, and it has been extremely slow. The initial impact occurred over a two-week period and was reported to have impacted about 1% of inquiries. However, Thanksgiving Day’s changes were said by Google to be part of the October 17 run as well.
Penguin: An Overview
Penguin is a search engine filter designed by Google engineers to fight spam that creeps through the cracks in Google’s regular algorithm. When the filter is run, Google will penalize websites that contain spam until the next Penguin run shows evidence that the site has been cleaned up.
It is unclear how many inquiries were adjusted over Thanksgiving, but additional Penguin shifts have been noticed in the first half of December.
Penguin Updates in December?
According to Search Engine Land, Google has continued running the Penguin filter throughout December, making noticeable changes to rankings each time. Though Google has not reported publicly that they have run new Penguin filters in December, action in local Kansas City specific search engine result pages and rankings indicates that they have.
When the filter/updates runs, most adjustments are seen at the beginning of the run, not toward the end. It is unusual for the filter to run several weeks, and evidence thus far shows that Google initiated additional Penguin filter runs three times since Thanksgiving, with noticeable fluctuations each time.
Filtering the Holidays
In the past, Google has stayed away from making major changes to its search engine between Thanksgiving and Christmas, since these weeks are major retail shopping weeks and changes to the search engine can affect retail sales. However, it seems that in 2014 the game plan has changed, and updates are running periodically.The frank Agency offers a full slate of SEO services, so contact us today for more information about Penguin 3.0 and how it can affect your website.