Why Google Hasn’t Released the Penguin 4.0 Update
After all the speculations and chatter going on and on about the release of Google’s Penguin 4.0, a statement released by Gary Illyes reports that Google won’t actually be releasing its Penguin 4.0 update this holiday season. Illyes mentions that the reason for the delay is because there’s still a lot of work required from Google before the search giant can launch the new algorithm changes. Sources close to Google have also confirmed the same reasons for pushing the release date back. Including John Mueller, who confirmed that Penguin 4 will not be released at all this year.
Surprisingly, it has been over a year now since any changes or updates have been made to the Google Penguin algorithm. While the Penguin 4.0 was scheduled to release at the end of the year, Google now plans to launch the update early next year in 2016.
Our speculation is that if Google did launch the new update now and something were to go wrong, the time SEO experts would have to correct the errors would be limited with the holidays approaching. It’s certainly a relief for webmasters everywhere, especially for those who were hit last year by the Penguin update that was released around the same time. The new Penguin 4.0 is perceived to be a real time Penguin algorithm update. This means that webmasters won’t have time to wait for the algorithm data refresh before fixing any issues, since having Google re-crawl the URL links would be enough.
Google Releases The “Search Quality Rating Guidelines”
Since 2011, SEO experts all around the globe have had access to Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines. It used to be a about 125 pages back then. However, with all the updates and new algorithms launched since then, it’s now a whopping 160 pages that can be downloaded in PDF format here.
According to Jennifer Slegg, who recently reviewed the latest release, the PDF is almost identical to the last one leaked in October of 2015 with a few minor changes.
Google Drops Local One-Box & Pins from Web Search
Google nukes the Local One-Box and Google Map Pins from search results. Now when you search for any local businesses, you will no longer see the local web results of a business on the top right of the search results page. Also, the pin that points to the physical address of a local business on Google Maps has been removed.
Dr. Pete Meyers from Mozcast also commented on Twitter that he initially thought there was some technical issue with Mozcast, but later confirmed that it was in fact a Google update.
However when Google was contacted to comment on the disappearance of the Local One-Box and the Pins in Google Maps, no official statement was given to confirm whether this would be a permanent or temporary change.
Descriptions Not Critical for Getting Ranked: John Mueller
This next important piece of information was revealed by John Mueller through a comment made on a tweet by Hams38 where he raised a question asking, “Is it a good idea to rewrite the product descriptions to avoid duplicate content, improve the text quality, and make reading more enjoyable?”. Mueller advised to first test it around small areas of the website and later adds that spinning the text for a websites’ product descriptions could only prove useful if done properly, but is not critical for SEO.