Contrary to standard operating procedure, Google's Penguin algorithm seems to have undergone three updates during the holiday season.

According to research put together by Search Engine Land, Google’s Penguin algorithm seems to have been updated three times so far this month. Considering Penguin last saw an update in October, it seems the search engine is breaking its regular pattern and making faster changes to algorithms affecting end-of-year SEO strategies.

Traditionally, Google’s Penguin algorithm seemed to be updated about once every 12 months The upside to this was the search engine wouldn’t complicate matters for marketers and webmasters more than once a year. The downside was ​that penalized content had to wait for another Penguin refresh to get the mark against themselves listed.

The flurry of recent updates came just a couple of months after the last major adjustment – and also throwing off SEOs, it took place during the holiday season. Matt Cutts and other Google authorities have mentioned in the past they try not to mess with Penguin during the holidays, potentially because search engine optimization takes on a different (product-focused) character in this period, and genuine content might be harder to distinguish from spam.

Dive deeper into Penguin

Google hasn’t confirmed these updates even took place, although there’s ample publisher data to back up the claim. If the algorithm has indeed been changed, what can webmaster do to make sure her sites aren’t caught in the crossfire?

1. Pay attention to quality and make sure nothing on a site can be construed as spam
2. Put content on the homepage to make sure it’s discoverable and crawlable by Google
3. Be sure landing pages are transparent about what kind of information they offer

 Here’s the breakdown of the algorithm updates that happened back in October:
   Watch your SEO: Google releases Penguin 3.0
 For quick tips,check out our infographic about avoiding a fight with Penguin:
   Infographic: How To Avoid A Fight With Penguin

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.