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Penguin 4 Has Hit! What You Need to Know

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Casey Meraz

It’s been almost two years since the last Penguin update from Google. Today Google announced that Penguin 4 has hit and this will be the last Penguin update. That is because Penguin is now part of Google’s core algorithm and happens in real time according to Google.

Incase you were not previously familiar with the Penguin Update it’s a link based algorithmic penalty. According to an article from Search Engine Land “Google launched the Penguin Update in April 2012 to better catch sites deemed to be spamming its search results, in particular those doing so by buying links or obtaining them through link networks designed primarily to boost Google rankings.” Basically it was built to penalize websites trying to manipulate Google’s algorithm by obtaining links in ways that are against their guidelines.

What’s New With This Update?

The two biggest changes with this new update are that it now runs in real time and it will no longer affect an entire website, just pages of it. Here are the details from Google’s Webmaster Blog:

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 re-crawl 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.

When Will You The Results?

If you’re expecting to see a big change today it sounds like you’re going to have to wait a little longer. These changes will not be immediate but I expect to see them roll out over the next few days as we typically see with a Penguin or other algorithmic updates.

What You Should Know Moving Forward?

Moving forward you should consider that individual pages could be penalized by this. If you see sudden ranking drops on specific pages this might a time to review the links going to that page. As always you should continue to regularly monitor your backlinks.

One potential upside to this is that if its happening in real time you can assume that disavow files might be updated faster. We have yet to be able to test this of course but if that’s the case it should make the penalty recovery process easier for algorithmic based penalties.