Sep 27 2016 | by ALEX CASTLE
Following an announcement on their Webmaster Blog, and after nearly 2 years of waiting, Google has finally updated the Penguin algorithm. This update, dubbed Penguin 4.0, means that Penguin is now operating in real time within its core search algorithm. To help explain what this means for you and your website, let’s go back to Penguin’s beginnings.
Google first launched the Penguin update in April 2012 to catch sites spamming the search results, with a focus on link schemes that manipulated search rankings. Penguin hunted down links bought or placed solely for the sake of improving search rankings and would penalise the guilty websites. This would result in a drop in search rankings for the offending site and thus a drop in traffic. Those sites would remain penalised, even if they improved and changed, until the next time the filter ran. This could take months.
Penguin has since been updated to include other spammy practices, including keyword stuffing and over-optimised anchor text, but the result is the same. The last Penguin update, Penguin 3.0, happened in October, 2014. Some sites punished by Penguin have waited nearly two years for the chance to be free.
With the roll out of Penguin 4.0, punished websites who have changed their ways no longer need to wait weeks, months or years to see their ranking recover. Instead, Penguin will now run in real time. In practice, this means that any punishment inflicted upon your site will only be in place until Google recrawls and reindexes the website’s pages, provided you have removed the offending features. This is great news for anyone who has hired a less-than-legitimate agency or who simply didn’t know any better.
Another feature of Penguin 4.0 is that it will no longer penalise an entire website, but instead will be more granular in its approach. This seems to suggest penalties will be page specific, but Google have since come out with the following (vague) statement:
“It means it affects finer granularity than sites. It does not mean it only affects pages”
So we may have to wait and see with that one.
Penguin 4.0 is currently being rolled out, which we predict will take a couple of weeks to complete, although there is talk that websites are already being affected by the update. This will also be the last Penguin update that Google confirm; now that Penguin is a constant process, there’s nothing to confirm.
We’ll bring you more information on the 4.0 update as soon as we have more insight, but if you are a law-abiding SEO-er this update is definitely the good kind of Google update.
Google update Penguin to version 4.0