Google Penguin’s Effect On The Search Engine’s Speed

Penguin, it’s one of those words that some SEO’s fear, hate and loath while other SEO’s get gitty with excitement over. As of the time of this writing it has been 11 months since the last Penguin update and some people are getting… nervous.

Recently, John Mueller spoke about the newest iteration of Penguin, specifically stating that the team is working on a version which will update more quickly. Here’s the video:

There are some obvious reasons why Google would want a Penguin that refreshes faster – but I think there’s some indication that they aren’t really ready to move the search engine ahead as a whole until they have such a creature.

A Little SERP History

google penguin

Is Google waiting for a new, faster penguin to move ahead with their search product?

Google has been a funny tool during it’s life span, but things really got interesting with BigTable (& here) and Caffeine. These changes (or updates) allowed Google to move the search engine much more quickly.

Search engine placement (or SERPs) could be ordered quickly and on the fly without requiring a complete rebuilding of the index. This was HUGE in terms of being able to rank a site within days, not weeks or months for BH SEO’s.

But lately, things have been slowing down. It’s been noticed over the past 9-12 months that sometimes backlinks take up to 10-30 days to really show their effect on a pages placement in the results. In addition, new domains can take up to 90+ days before they really begin ranking.

But why?

My theory is due to the weakness of the current iteration of Penguin. While it works well (…sort of…) it takes forever to refresh effectively. In that time between refreshes a BH SEO could rank a bunch of spammy sites, make a ton of cash and move on. When Penguin refreshed, they would just start new sites and bank a bucket-load of money before Google could react.

So what’s the answer? Well, one answer would have been to slow down the rate that the search engine made changes to their results and put a delay on how long it would take a new site to rank at all. Conveniently, that is exactly what has happened…

It was essentially a forced downgrading of their product’s potential and ability.

A Faster Penguin Update

With a penguin that could update more quickly, say every few weeks or once a month like Panda it would free Google up to increase the responsiveness of their search product back to it’s original potential… what it was really built to do and do well.

It’s my feeling that this new faster Penguin is exactly what they are waiting for. I bet there is a lot of pressure on their team to perform and deliver a solid alternative to their original penguin.

The question we all should be asking ourselves is what will change with it?

Obviously, if it just came down to the signals it wouldn’t be a big deal to make a faster Penguin. My guess is that the quality of the signal set they are currently using can be degraded in sort periods of time, meaning that they would need a new set of signals for Penguin to operate on.

Think about it – if it was purely anchor text – what if you commented on a single blog and then that comment’s anchor ended up on every page of that site for a week? These kinds of problems could play hell on the SERP’s over a sort period of time…

I’m thinking that this faster Penguin actually requires a whole rebuild for them on the methods they use to identify spammers to begin with.

We shall see…