So, there’s been lots of talk around the ‘net over the past week from SEOs saying that they’ve been seeing some crazy fluctuations in Google’s rankings and search results for various sites.

Many speculated that this may be the preamble to rolling out a larger update – perhaps an update to Penguin – however this was refuted by Google’s Gary Illyes on Twitter:

Gary then went on to confirm that these fluctuations are not Penguin, but a core update instead:

However, there is still some skepticism, as can be seen in the (lengthy) discussion on Barry Schwartz’s latest post. One reader thinks that perhaps ‘parts of *Penguin* are now part of the core?

Extreme Google Search Fluctuations Continue; Not Penguin But Core Update

via seroundtable.com

It seems that Shawn is onto something. We were promised a Penguin update a few months ago, and there are many website owners who are anxious for it to roll out:

Penguin 4.0 could be good news for lots of sites hit by a penalty after its rollout, thanks to its ‘real-time feature’. As per our MD, Joe:

“The interesting thing about this update is that it will herald a real time evaluation so I am (very) hopeful that the disavow process will be much, much quicker. Rather than having to wait for a fresh update (the last one was in 2014….), we should be able to see things move more quickly.”

However, as this Link Research Tools post by Christoph C Cemper states, surely a real-time Penguin will mean it has to be integrated into the core algorithm. And whilst Google is denying that what we’re seeing at the moment is not the implementation of Penguin 4.0, Christoph argues that from everything he has seen in the past, the signs point to it being rolled out soon;

UPDATE: Google Penguin 4.0 – Real Time Penguin not yet started

via linkresearchtools.com

Looking closer at the conversation between Gary Illyes and Elkees Media, could Christoph’s theory be backed up by Gary’s tweet on 5th Jan – right before we saw all this fluctuation – about extensively testing updates before rolling them out?


Interesting.

What do you think? Is this nothing more than a core update? Is it Google testing elements of Penguin in the core update? Or is it something else altogether?! Let us know your observations and thoughts in the comments below!