Google confirmed Sunday that a new version of its Penguin filter aimed at fighting spam went live on Friday. Penguin targets sites deemed to be spammy, especially those found in violation of Google’s guidelines about linking.
Some noticed major changes in Google search results beginning late Friday night US time and speculated that this was due to the long-awaited Penguin Update that Google had said to expect this month.
The publishers been anxious because of the way Penguin works. If you’re hit by it, even if you make changes, you have to wait until the next release to see if your changes have done what Google wanted.
Publishers hit by the last version of Penguin — back in October 2013 — have been waiting until now to see if actions they’re tried such as removing spammy links have worked. If so, they’re likely seeing some improvement in traffic this weekend. If not, they have to try making more changes and then waiting until however long it takes for Google to release Penguin again.