Penguin 4.0 and what you need to know.

This past Friday, Google announced the launch of Penguin 4.0 as a core part of their algorithm. We’ve been waiting for this release for most of this year. The details about launch dates, how it might work, and other details have been hazy at best. Overall, our clients are faring pretty well. We are seeing a small decrease in the number of new page one rankings this month, but we are optimistic and pleased overall. Our SEO Team has been working diligently behind the scenes and we have been proactively conducting link audits to make sure we minimize any spammy or low scoring backlinks to our client sites.

The two primary changes this time around for Penguin are as follows (From GOOGLE):

  • “Penguin is now real-time. Historically, the list of sites affected by Penguin was periodically refreshed at the same time. 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. With this change, Penguin’s data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we recrawl and reindex a page. It also means we’re not going to comment on future refreshes.”
  • “Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.”

Our Comments and FAQ’s:

What is the Penguin algorithm?

First introduced in April 2012, the Penguin update was created to target sites that used “spammy” tactics and manipulative practices that violate the Google webmaster guidelines. The last update was in the Fall of 2014 and sites impacted by that update have been waiting two years for another update.

Is it still rolling out?

Yes, and it is expected to for the next few weeks. It is now a real-time part of Google’s core search algorithm, which means that once it fully rolls out, it will be a constant process rather than periodic updates, as it was previously.

If rankings are fine now, will there be any more changes?

We won’t know the full impact until it has fully rolled out. Once it has, it will be a real-time part of the core algorithm.

Remember that Google is constantly making changes to its algorithm to improve the user experience. With Penguin now part of the core algorithm, it is more important than ever to ensure that your links follow quality guidelines.

If rankings have gone down, what should I do?

Don’t panic and give it some time. It will still be rolling out for the next few weeks. We have already seen some clients’ rankings bounce around and then settle back into their previous positions.