Illyes claimed that a Penguin algorithm update would be rolled out in the coming week, adding that this was a “large rewrite” of the algorithm that has taken close to a year to release.

The Penguin algorithm, which has historically targeted linking activity designed to manipulate search rankings, was first rolled out in April 2012 and impacted around 3.1% of queries. Penguin 2.0 was released in May 2013.

What we are likely to see

Speaking at SMX East in New York, Illyes made a number of claims. These included:

We can expect it within the week.

Illyes’ presentation at SMX East referenced an internal email within Google, sent two weeks prior to the conference, claiming that the update would be rolled out “within a few weeks”.

Google will only launch if it passes internal testing.

Illyes was clear that, if tests of the new algorithm demonstrate any issues, Google won’t push it.

Faster, more frequent refreshes.

The new update will support faster refreshes of the Penguin algorithm in future. When pushed, Illyes inferred that Penguin updates could be implemented on a monthly cycle, similar to Panda. To date, there have been just four Penguin updates since the initial release in 2012.

Recent disavow files will not be considered.

Illyes also admitted that any links that had been disavowed in the past two weeks would not be considered by the changes and as a result, will not be included in the update. This statement adds weight to claims that the launch of Penguin 3.0 is imminent.

The update will “make webmaster’s lives easier”.

The choice quote from SMX East was that the update will make webmaster’s life “easier a bit” and for most people it will make it a “delight”. It’s a statement that is likely to be met with some cynicism from the webmasters but it at least infers that the impact of Penguin 3.0 may not be as hard-hitting as previous releases.

We will have a full analysis of the impact of Penguin 3.0 as and when it takes effect.