Google has been hard at work updating its core ranking algorithm. News started to trickle in on January 8 with signs pointing to an update. By January 12, the news was official. Over the weekend, a massive update of the core ranking algorithm had taken place.
What makes this update surprising isn’t the timing — it’s that an entirely different update was expected. The Penguin update has been anticipated for months, and after a delay at the end of 2015, some speculated that a January 2016 release could be on the horizon.
And there’s another interesting bit to this core algorithm update. Usually, Google doesn’t actually confirm these changes. However, Google staffers Gary Illyes, John Mueller and Zineb Ait Bahajji made it official via Twitter on Tuesday, January 12.
@methode (Gary Illyes): @jenstar yes, the changes you saw are part of a core algo update. @Missiz_Z is right almost always, you shan’t need my confirmation
@JohnMu (John Mueller): @dawnieando It’s not penguin; not “confirmed-ish” just “confirmed” :-).
@Missiz_Z (Zineb Ait Bahajji – in French): @RaphSEO @korleon38 @abondance_com @seof1 pas de nom. Il s’agit simplement d’une de fréquentes quality updates.
Another element that brought attention to this update was the permanent incorporation of Panda into the core algorithm. As confirmed by Gary Illyes, Panda is now baked into the algorithm. Although it isn’t clear when that change took place, Barry Schwartz of SearchEngineLand.com estimates that it occurred in late 2015.
Regardless of when Panda officially became integrated as part of the core algorithm, it definitely means there are some changes ahead. For one, Panda updates will likely not be confirmed individually since they are now part of the overall algorithm.
And these sweeping changes are certain to shakeup the ranking landscape a bit. Have you seen any substantial changes in your numbers? If so, we’d love to hear your story!