Unconfirmed Google Algorithm Updates December 2015: Many webmasters noticed heavy fluctuation in Google search traffic for December 2015 even though the Google Penguin Update was pushed to January 2016.

google search update

Just hearing the word “Penguin” is enough to strike fear in the hearts of webmasters and Internet marketers. There’s been too much reference to cute animals already, so to be clear, the Penguin I’m talking about is an algorithm update used by Google to improve the quality of its search results.


It’s been well over a year since Google has launched a new Penguin update, with the most recent being Penguin 3.0 on October 17, 2014 (affecting roughly 1% of all search queries). However, that time may soon becoming to an end, as the Mountain View company recently hinted about a new Penguin update for 2016.

google penguin 2015

With the holidays upon us, it looks like the penguins won’t march until next year,” said a Google spokesperson. Does this mean for certain that we’ll see a new Penguin update in 2016? Not necessarily, but this statement has certainly raised concerns among webmasters. If the search engine giant does in fact roll out a new Penguin update, it would likely be one of the largest updates in the history of Penguin, simply because it’s been so long since the last update was made.


There may have been some unconfirmed Google algorithm updates in December 2015, but the good news is that you can protect your website and web properties from Google’s infamous Penguin by following some simple steps:


  • DO NOT purchase backlinks. Google’s Penguin update was designed to discourage black-hat SEO techniques by lowering the search rankings of websites that manipulate the search results using excessive backlink building practices.
  • Focus your efforts on creating unique-quality content. Google has said before that publishing high-quality content is the single most important thing webmasters can do to encourage higher search rankings.
  • Consolidate similar webpages together. If you have two or more webpages with similar content, consolidate them into a single, bigger webpage.
  • Conduct regular backlink audits. Using Google Webmasters Tools or a similar analysis tool, conduct an audit of your website’s backlinks to determine which sites are linking to you.
  • Disavow “bad” links. If you have any low-quality, irrelevant, or “questionable” links pointing to your site, add them to Google’s disavow tool.
  • Diversify your anchor text. Don’t make the mistake of creating links with a single anchor text. Instead, use different variations and even plain text links (e.g. www.yoursite.com) when linking to your site.
  • Post links on social media to create a “following” for your website.



Although Penguin may not have shown an update in December as originally anticipated, many webmasters have notice some heavy fluctuation and are left wondering what unconfirmed updates Google has made.


Barry Schwartz or SearchEngineRoundTable, reported potential updates on December 10th and 16th. Many of the automated rank checking tools didn’t throw a red flag indicative of a large update, but the SERPS definitely reflect some pretty big changes at least around the 16th.


Webmaster World was reporting all kinds of chatter to support this;

Traffic is all over the map, ON then OFF. Yesterday 4 sales withing an hour, then off the rest of the day. Today bursts of non converting traffic with long zero runs again. Definite clamping / throttling still in effect. Desktop sightings becoming more and more rare. I guess this is what we have to live with.


So far I have not made a single conversion in the month of December. Traffic is suddenly of very low conversion quality. Today volume is back a bit. I do smell a substantial change (I won’t say update) brewing. Based on progressing behavior, I’ll guess it is designed to optimally harvest the current holiday spike in buying. And here I was on a nice roll…


Google hasn’t confirmed an update, but your website traffic should paint a pretty clear picture. I don’t have any hard stats to back this up yet, but one thing we’re seeing is that the service oriented sites that we manage took a significant dip in search traffic while the ecommerce sites held steady.


If you have information around the December Google Search updates, please share.