Zineb Ait has confirmed this update is not related to Penguin. “It is simply one of frequent quality updates.”, she said on Twitter. John Mueller blessed her tweet with a “like”.
— Zineb Ait (@Missiz_Z) January 12, 2016
Yesterday we reported a significant volatility level in Google’s results but it looks like that was only a warm-up. Today is like nothing we’ve seen in 2015. It’s bigger than Penguin 3. The only event with the greater impact on search results was PayDay Loan update back in May 2014.
What do we know about this update?
It looks like Penguin, but it’s broader in its scope so at this stage it appears to be a multi-purpose update encompassing a range of search quality parameters. From webmaster reports we know this update carries global impact.
Some shocking websites have suddenly appeared in Google’s results (anchor text manipulation, link networks) so it appears as if the update hasn’t rolled out completely. If it has… well then it’s a likely failure and it will have to be rolled back much like they did in December 2014.
There are still hints of this being localisation related change as well (some websites are now showing double listings classic organic and local organic).
Certain results now show longer, very detailed snippets which often disregard meta description. These appear to a limited audience, likely a test.