Google has confirmed an algorithm update after webmasters noticed ranking changes over the weekend. The changes attracted a lot of attention, with some suspecting they were not related to Penguin, the algorithm update aimed at decreasing the search ranking of websites that violate Google’s guidelines.
The search giant has since confirmed that to be the case on Twitter, stating that the update was related to the core ranking algorithm.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) news website Search Engine Land’s News Editor Barry Schwartz contacted Google on Twitter after noticing the changes and received confirmation of the update from Google Website Trend Analysts Gary IIIyes, Zineb Ait Bahajji and John Mueller.
The trio also confirmed on Twitter that the changes were a core ranking update and not related to Penguin, with Bahajji tweeting that it does not have a name as it is a routine quality update.
Schwartz described the confirmation as a “big thing” for Google as it rarely confirms core algorithm updates, with Search Engine Land last receiving confirmation of one in May 2015.
Many search engine optimisers and webmasters were confused by the update because a new Penguin algorithm update was expected early this year after a delay, with a Google spokesperson telling Search Engine Land in December that “with the holidays upon us, it looks like the penguins won’t march until next year”.
According to Schwartz, the update is potentially related to Panda, a change to Google’s search ranking algorithm that aims to lower the rank of low-quality websites and those with thin content.
Schwartz reported on the anticipated Penguin algorithm update update last month, writing that it expected to happen in real time, meaning that should Google discover good or bad links on a website, ranking changes will occur immediately.
He added that Penguin will continuously update, which means that webmasters and SEOs will not have to wait months or years for Google to update it.
The last official Penguin update was Penguin 3.0, which was released over a year ago on October 2014, but it looks like webmasters will need to be a little more patient yet.