Penguin 4.0 is Here
After weeks of anticipation, Google has released another update to its Penguin update, coined as Penguin 4.0. Penguin is now part of the core algorithm.
Penguin was first rolled out in April 2012 and its last update was in August 2014. Since the start of the year, many ranking fluctuations were suspected to be a Penguin update, however, Google wouldn’t confirm that this was the case. But finally, the speculations have been put to rest.
Penguin as an algorithm is mainly concerned with the over-optimisation of links. Impacts have ranged from loss of ranking for a set of keywords to complete removal of some sites from search. On occasions, the impact was so severe that websites penalised by it lost visibility even for branded searches.
Between 2012 and 2014 many versions of the Penguin update were rolled out and each time it brought bad news to the affected brands. Simply said, once the penalty was confirmed, webmasters knew that road to recovery could be very long. However, Penguin 4.0 brings along two very key positives.
Penguin is real time
In the past, when a site was slapped with a Penguin penalty it had to wait for months and sometimes years for removal after fixing the issues and following the link clean-up protocol. This was because, unlike other algorithms that would refresh in real time, Penguin had to be refreshed periodically by Google. With the real time update to Penguin, websites that have implemented the fixes will witness the impact almost instantly after the website is recrawled and reindexed.
Penguin is now more granular and operates at page level
Another bit of good news is that unlike before when an entire website was affected by a Penguin update, Penguin 4.0 will operate more granularly and will affect only the visibility of pages with over-optimised links. Therefore brands do not have to worry about a complete loss in site visibility and can focus on fixing link issues of the affected pages only.
No more Penguin updates
One key point made by Google in this blog post is, now Penguin is in the core and does not need data refreshes anymore, there will be no further announcements around Penguin.
Penguin was a real game changer in the SEO industry. It was a key weapon in Google’s arsenal for its war against spam which lead to expert SEOs carrying out Penguin audits on a regular basis. However, brands would often put it aside assuming the benefits will not appear quick enough. With it becoming real time it is now even more important to keep an eye on your backlink profiles and capitalize on the opportunity the update provides.
For any details on how link building should be done, visit our algorithm academy for links.