Google updates Penguin algorithm

By James Riches topicIcon SEO

Matt Cutts tweets Penguin 2.1 announcement

Google refreshed its Penguin algorithm over the weekend, announcing a slight addition to the larger update it launched back in May.

Webspam chief Matt Cutts revealed the change via Twitter, adding that the alterations would only affect around one per cent of search queries.

The search engine has dubbed this update 'Penguin 2.1', as the change is considered too minor to warrant increasing the figure by a whole number. For example, the previous Penguin update affected around 2.3 per cent of searches, and so was moved from Penguin 1.3 to Penguin 2.

Since it launched in April of last year, a pattern has emerged in Google's Penguin updates. 2012 and 2013 have both seen an update each in May and October, as sites are continually kept on their toes regarding their linking strategies.

A busy time for Google algorithms

News of this Penguin refresh arrives hot on the heels of Google's big announcement regarding their new Hummingbird algorithm.

Coinciding with the company's 15th birthday, distinguished engineer Amit Singhal revealed that Hummingbird was the first step in the search engine's goal of understanding longer and more complex searches.

An extension to the Knowledge Graph, it will affect around 90% of queries and is expected to allow for a more conversational approach to search.

Google also indicated over the summer that it will no longer be officially announcing updates to Panda, instead continuously improving this algorithm gradually and implementing smaller changes around once every ten days.

Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword, said: "If there is one thing guaranteed to make webmasters sit up and take notice, it's a Google algorithm update. On this occasion it seems relatively minor, but there has been a lot of algorithm activity lately so there is certainly enough to keep us all occupied."