After a long wait, and some algorithm fluctuations considered to be normal, it is official that Google has confirmed that its Penguin 4.0 algorithm update was rolled out as of Sept 23rd 2016.
It has been two years since its last update in 2014. Penguin 3.0 may have only affected less than 1% of US/UK searches, but that calculates to 12 billion queries.
So what can you expect to come with Penguin 4.0? We’ll explain a little later, but first, let’s refresh our memory with what Google Penguin is.
Google first launched the Penguin update in 2012 to catch websites spamming the search results with manipulated links. Why are links important? Google are looking for signals as to how trustworthy your site is; they see links from other sites to yours (inbound or back-link) as a kind of testimonial.
Penguin will track down links that are not organic: those bought or placed for the sole purpose of improving search rankings. Once Google had found bad links, they will then penalise your site and your rankings would start to drop. You would then have to go through the process of disavowing your links. Basically telling Google to ignore them as you didn’t put them there or admitting you realise they are spammy and don’t want anything to do with them anymore. However, a Penguin refresh was needed before seeing any signs of recovery – it was a lengthy process.
Now, due to Penguin 4.0, the time issue has been addressed.
What to expect from Penguin 4.0
Below, you will see which improvements were among the webmasters’ requests to Google:
Penguin is now real-time
As previously stated, the list of sites affected by Penguin was only periodically refreshed.
Google stated: “Once a webmaster considerably improved their site and its presence on the internet, many of Google’s algorithms would take that into consideration very fast, but others, like Penguin, needed to be refreshed.”
Now, however, Penguin data is refreshed in real time meaning changes are made as soon as the affected page has been re-indexed.
Penguin is now more granular
Penguin now devalues spam by altering the ranking of a page based on spam signals, rather than affecting the ranking of the whole website. So, any penalties will be given to that specific page rather than an entire domain.
Overall this means that link penalty issues are quicker to resolve and are more page specific.
If you have seen your rankings drop since the update then check out our next blog here!