Just like the notable fluctuations seen over the weekend of January 9th, 2015, which turned out to be a core algorithm update confirmed by Google, noticeably higher fluctuations were seen over this past weekend of January 16th.
Social media and tech forums were buzzing with discussions on the weekend as many people experienced the changes. In fact, the tools designed to track the fluctuations were also a mess. Google Webmaster Trends Analysts Gary Illyes and John Mueller took to Twitter to respond to the constant chatter, suggesting that again, it was not due to a Penguin update.
Responding to the question “Google testing or #penguinupdate?” posed by a Twitter user, Gary Illyes stated, “‘no’ to the original question (to the best of my knowledge anyway)”.
Lots of other talk also happened over Twitter, with many experts weighing in on the changes.
Marketing Scientist at Moz, Dr. Peter Meyers, wrote, “seeing an extended period of activity this past few days. No evidence it’s UI-related”. Meanwhile, Marie Haynes added, “lots and lots of chatter re big SERP changes again today. Still doesn’t look like Penguin to me”.
So what’s was going on exactly? Gary Illyes stated that it wasn’t in fact Penguin, but there could be other explanations. It’s possible that Google could currently be testing Penguin. Another theory is that it’s simply modifications to the core algorithm update from the previous weekend.
Whatever the case, there are certainly plenty of signs that indicated a big update, but that it is not likely related to a Penguin update.
While discussions continued to swirl over the weekend, right through to the beginning of the week, Gary Illyes cleared things up on Monday, January 18th through his personal Twitter account. Responding to a tweet posted by a user that simply asked point blank, “what kind of update was there on the weekend are you guys testing penguin?”, Illyes tweeted back, “core algorithm. Not penguin”.
Though the changes were not Penguin, the update still has yet to be released. While version 4.0 was initially expected by the end of 2015, there is currently no word on an official or suspected release date. When it does arrive, it will usher in a new updating style, with future updates occurring in real-time.