Move over Panda, there’s a new Google update in town: Penguin. That’s the official name Google has given to the webspam algorithm that it released on Tuesday (April 24th 2012).
What’s An Update?
Google periodically changes it’s algorithms. When this happens, that’s known as an “update,” which in turn has an impact on the search results we get. Sometimes the updates have a big impact; sometimes they’re hardly noticed.
Who Names Updates?
Google also periodically creates new algorithms. When this happens, sometimes they’re given names by Google itself, as with the Vince update in 2009. If Google doesn’t give a name, sometimes others such as Webmaster World may name them, as with the Mayday update in 2010.
With Penguin, history is repeating itself, where Google is belatedly granting a name to an update after-the-fact. The same thing happened with Panda last year.
When the Panda Update was first launched in February 2011, Google didn’t initially release the name it was using internally. Without an official name, it was given an unofficial one of “Farmer,” since one of the reasons behind the update was to combat low-quality content that was often seen associated with content farms.
In the end, Google didn’t want the update to sound like it was especially aimed at content farms, so it eventually let the “Panda” name go public, in a Steven Levy interview for Wired about the update about a week after it launched. Panda took its name from one of the key engineers involved.
Say Hello To Penguin
Since Panda, Google’s been avoiding names. A previous new algorithm rolled out in January designed to penalize pages with too many ads above the fold was called the “page layout algorithm.”
When the new Penguin algorithm rolled out earlier this week, it was called the “webspam algorithm update” with Google eventually releasing its own official name of “Penguin.”