Google’s Gary Illyes: No more Penguin release estimates — “It’s bad for business”


At SMX West last week, Google’s Gary Illyes, during his talk about “How Google Works: A Google Ranking Engineer’s Story”, said that he will no longer provide insight as to when we may expect the latest Google Penguin Update as he has been wrong about its likely launch date several times already. He further stated that “it’s bad for business” when his estimated dates turn out to be incorrect.

A number of industry professionals were in attendance at the event confirmed what Gary Illyes said:

The final tweet also indicated that Engineers are still working on the latest incarnation of Penguin, which is due to be made “real-time”:

The fact that Gary Illyes is admitting defeat in estimating the likely release date indicates that there may be further delays. Gary Illyes does not directly work on Penguin and has in the past relied on internal information for his estimates. This may be a sign that Gary has lost confidence in the information \ indications of progress on the algorithm, or just that the new “Real-time” algorithm is so sophisticated, that they just keep running into problems.

In late February Google’s John Mueller confirmed that he had not heard of any release dates, so it is possible that the Engineers have stopped communicating likely dates to the Webmaster Trends Analysts due to the ongoing delays.

We covered back in mid-February a timeline of all the estimated dates for release of Penguin 4.0 that occurred in the latter half of 2015, which does make interesting reading, which we have reproduced below:

  • 25th September 2015 — John Mueller indicated that we might see Penguin by the end of the year, but it may be delayed if things need to be fixed.
  • 29th October 2015 — Google’s Gary Illyes has confirmed that there is still time to clean your backlink profile before the Penguin Algorithm is refreshed.
  • 2nd November 2015 — Google Says that Penguin 4 should be Released this Year but “might not be real-time.”
  • 24th November 2015 — Googles Gary Illyes confirms that the next Penguin update will be real-time.
  • 9th December 2015 — John Mueller indicates that the Google Penguin Real-time update will not be launched until next year
  • 4th January 2015 — Gary Illyes stated that the Update is getting closer, but there was no definite date available.
  • 21st January 2015 — Gary Illyes said that the new Penguin Algorithm will launch within weeks, but they cannot give a definitive time frame. They are aiming for the first Quarter in 2016.
  • February 2016 — John Mueller confirmed that he has still not heard about a proposed release date.
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