Google Confirms The Arrival Of Penguin 4.0 And It's Now Real-Time.
It has been two years since the last Penguin update and after months of algorithm fluctuations, Google has finally announced the arrival of Penguin 4.0 last week, which is big news for SEO. So, what is this update and what does it mean for you?
What is Penguin?
Google launched Penguin in 2012 to catch out websites that were adopting black-hat SEO tactics by over-optimising websites and building spammy backlinks that were designed primarily to boost their Google rankings.
The following list shows when Penguin Updates have occurred in the past:
– Penguin 1.0 on April 24, 2012
– Penguin 1.1 on May 26, 2012 (one month)
– Penguin 1.2 on October 5, 2012 (four months)
– Penguin 2.0 on May 22, 2013 (five months)
– Penguin 2.1 on Oct. 4, 2013 (four months)
– Penguin 3.0 on October 17, 2014 (one year)
Whenever these updates happened, they would catch a set of sites in their spam filter and penalise them (sometimes falsely), which would severely affect a webmaster’s Google ranking. Around 1% of US/UK searches were affected by Penguin 3.0, which translated to 12 billion queries. Webmasters that had been penalised by Penguin 3.0 and then took measures to improve their site in accordance with Google’s guidelines found their sites would not be released until the next Penguin update.
What is Penguin 4.0 and why is it different?
The launch of Penguin 4.0 means that this spam-filter joins another estimated 200 factors as part of Google’s core algorithm. This means that Penguin data is now refreshed in real time so any changes will be made as soon as the affected page has been recrawled and reindexed.
Another difference in Penguin 4.0 is that it is now a lot more granular, meaning that it devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting rankings of the whole website. Any penalties served will be delivered to a specific page rather than an entire domain.
What does it mean for your SEO?
Given the real-time of this update, websites that have been trying to cheat Google and spamming the search results will be caught and penalised quicker, which is good news for the SEOs that operate ethically and practice white-hat techniques. It also means that sites unfairly hit by Penguin that may have returned a false positive to its spam filters will no longer have to wait years until a new update refresh in order to be released by the spam filter.
SEO is becoming a much more sophisticated practice and Google has become faster at spotting unnatural tactics. Regularly updating your SEO strategy, ensuring your site is being optimised and updated correctly and monitoring your websites back-link profile are essential in remaining compliant with Penguin 4.0.
27 September 2016
By Rebecca D’Souza