Google Penguin Update! Stahp Already!

Google Penguin Update - Stahp Already!

Here we are, another day, another client email asking my thoughts on whether Google might be rolling out Penguin…

Why did this, otherwise highly intelligent, quite capable client ask?

Because sites he generally trusts for information about SEO have once again recently posted nonsense about Google being ready or likely to be rolling out Penguin.

This is beyond pathetic now.  It’s come to a point where eventually SOMEBODY is going to have posted a “get ready” post and Penguin WILL roll out.  And that person/those people are going to be hoisted up on a pedestal for “having vision” or “knowing the insider scoop”, or some nonsense.

I mean, just look at a PARTIAL list of the various headlines to have come from our industry about Penguin since last October, a full year after the last actual, known Penguin rollout.

October 1, 2015
“Google Confirms – Real Time Penguin Coming Soon” – SearchEngineLand

October 19, 2015
“Penguin RealTime Confirmed by Google” – LinkResearchTools

October 29, 2015
“Google’s Next Penguin Update Should Be Within The Next Two Months” SearchEngineLand

November 17, 2015
“How to Prep for the Pending Penguin Update” – SearchEngineLand

December 3, 2015
“New Penguin Update Not Happening Until Next Year” – SearchEngineLand

December 11, 2015
“Confident Penguin 4.0 is Good Enough for a January Release” – SearchEngine Roundtable

December 15, 2015
“Is Penguin 4.0 Coming in March 2016?” – SearchEngineWatch

January 10, 2016
“Massive Google Fluctuations – Is it Penguin?” SearchEngine Roundtable

January 20, 2016
“Next Penguin Update to Happen Within Weeks” SearchEngineJournal

January 20, 2016
“News: Google Penguin Update Coming Soon” HotClickMarkting

January 25, 2016
“SEJ WrapUp – Google Penguin Coming Soon” SearchEngineJournal

February 1, 2016
“Googles Newest Penguin Update Coming Soon” LinkedIn

March 21, 2016
“5 Reasons to Believe Penguin is Just Around the Corner” – V9SEO

March 29, 2016
“Signs of Update – Not Sure if Penguin” SearchEngine Roundtable

April 6, 2016
“Is Google Testing the Penguin 4.0 Algorithm?” SearchEngine Roundtable

April 15, 2016
“Google: When Penguin Begins Rolling Out, We Will Post an Announcement” – SearchEngine Roundtable

Do you notice a pattern here?  

Here are a few you may have observed:
1. Nobody has ANY actual knowledge on this.

Those people at Google who many in the industry have turned to for “insider” knowledge have NO CLUE. They do NOT work on the Penguin algorithm, and are also at the mercy of other people’s willingness, ability or capacity to provide knowledge.

They have done their best to help the industry when asked, except it got stupid fast with this one. (Note that at least one Google rep reached a point not long ago where he was TIRED OF BEING ASKED.

2. Everybody is beyond anxious to finally see a Penguin update.

We ALL want to see Penguin updated. Heck, in a recent interview, I was asked what I thought was among the most detrimental changes in our industry over the years, and I said, without hesitation, Penguin.  For all the good it has done (and it has done a LOT of good), the collateral damage has been too severe, to vast.  (And I believe Penguin is broken – thus the long delay in refreshing it. )

3. People want to sound like they know what they’re talking about.

Hey, we’re marketers. We all suffer from a desire to sound like we’re experts, like we have the inside scoop or forethought. Or at the very least, want to offer our readers some sense of hope, which is a genuine desire.

At this point though, it’s insane.

4. People who report, want to believe people who claim to know what they’re talking about.

We’re desperate for real information from people who know what they’re talking about. I often say that while SEO is not rocket science, it IS search science.  So if we as an industry, can get insight from people who actually work AT google, we as an industry, tend to feel a bit more confident in the chaos.

Except Matt Cutts is no longer our go-to source at Google on Penguin or ANY algorithm.  And most information comes from two people who the industry collectively hoisted onto the pedestal when Matt Cutts moved on to his next amazing life adventure.  Even though neither has direct knowledge and neither one is on the spam or quality algorithm teams.

So for all their desire to help, much of the time they are either getting half-information from others in Google and just passing that along, or they’re guessing. Or they’re offering their opinion.

Except half the industry takes their word as gold.  When we’re no longer on the Matt Cutts gold standard for insider knowledge.  We’ve moved to a paper currency with paper faces “representing” the gold that we no longer have access to.

5. It makes the search industry look pathetic.

Seriously. Some of you already hate me for being so harsh.  Some of you will, as you usually do when I rant about the vital need for disclaimers and caveats in “Google said this” stuff, just find me annoying.

I don’t care anymore. Honest.  Site owners / readers / clients deserve better than the rumor mill content.  They need professional help and guidance.

So please stop the bullshit.

I know many who write this stuff won’t stop.  However now I’ve said it.  And even if Penguin updates tomorrow or next summer, the next time some other nonsense reporting comes out, I can just point to this post and say – see my thoughts on that subject, over here…


Penguin clipart courtesy GoGraph



  1. says

    Big Big Big like,
    Thanks for this post you talked from my heart. None of them in webinars or articles gave correct information about the update, and my clients also get confused.
    I hope this will stop some bloggers to write bullshit

    • Alan Bleiweiss says


      You’re welcome. For those of us like you and I, who care deeply about helping our clients, part of our responsibility needs to be about clarifying or correcting the junk content, and unfortunately, I don’t see that junk content ending. So we need to just keep doing the best we can to help those clients.

    • Alan Bleiweiss says

      Yes, Michael that’s EXACTLY what I’m saying. It is or it isn’t happening soon!

  2. says

    I’m not gonna lie, I think we’ve published and shared info that we felt was from the viable sources above without much further research on our own. It pains me to say that actually. A lot of what you said really resonates with me because I think we all made/make the same mistakes when we’re new to SEO. I think my issue is a lot (a shit load) of “experts” have very little real world experience, which adds to the fear and propiganda. Those of us who have been doing it a long time do owe it to the rest of the web to “tell it like it is”, which sometimes includes pointing out the bs. You should hear the things we say in the office! Clients send us the weirdest stuff. It makes me wonder, does anyone even know what they are talking about anymore???

    • Alan Bleiweiss says


      Thanks for this comment and your thoughts on it Plenty of people know. Unfortunately, too many people think they have some obligation to write or say something about topics they just don’t have the proper understanding on, let alone advanced experience based understanding. Others just don’t care.