Google have stated that their Penguin algorithm will now be updated and optimised as it goes, with a spokesman for the search company making the following comment.
“That last big update is still rolling out — though really there won’t be a particularly distinct end-point to the activity, since Penguin is shifting to more continuous updates. The idea is to keep optimizing as we go now.”
With a lot of recent fluctuations in search rankings, and reports of Penguin activity still occurring since the update at the end of October, this would help explain this.
Previously, Penguin updates have been handled offline, processing all the data and then making the changes live once ready, resulting in ranking alterations. It seems now that Google will amend and carry out necessary processes to the algorithm whilst it is live. This would suggest that the larger updates we have been used to will no longer happen.
This raises a few questions though about what this may mean for sites that have been penalised and are working on clearing up backlinks. When will disavowed links be processed? Will recoveries be faster? This is something to watch out for, and we’ll be sure to bring more information with any further details from Google on the matter.