Google Update: Penguin 4.0 & What It Means for Marketers

Google Update: Penguin 4.0 & What It Means for Marketers

It’s been almost 2 years since Google have touched their Penguin algorithm, but the wait is over. Penguin 4.0 is now being rolled out across the entire web, but what does this mean for marketers and should we be doing anything to ensure our websites are protected from penalties?


Real Time Updates
Penguin 3.0, the older sibling, had a few flaws in its initial roll out. Websites with poor backlinks were automatically delisted from search engines, and some have had to wait the best part of 2 years to be reinstated. Even if the owners put measures in place to improve the quality of their websites and abide by Google guidelines, it took months for the internet giant to consider these changes and restore their position in the listings. However, Penguin 4.0 has been engineered to operate in real time.

Previously, Penguin had to be refreshed to process new data, and websites were updated simultaneously, but marketers can rest assured this is now a thing of the past. With improved re-crawling and re-indexing processes, changes will take effect much faster.

Gary Illyes of Google’s Search Ranking Team explained:

“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.”

Smarter Penalisation
Instead of inflicting a penalty upon the whole site, Penguin 4.0 will now only affect the specific pages that don’t adhere to Google’s specifications. For marketers, this is a godsend. The pages on your website that are fine will remain unaffected, and the page(s) that are problematic will be brought back to life almost as soon as they are fixed.

However, because of its swift, under the radar approach, it’ll be difficult to identify whether changes to your rankings are due to Penguin 4.0 or your own SEO strategies.

The End of the Penguin Story
Google have stated that Penguin 4.0 is the last update in the algorithm, due to its advanced functionalities. It operates in real time, it’s faster at processing changes, it only penalises specific pages – it’s essentially as good as it can get. If they do make tweaks, it’s unlikely we’ll hear about it, let alone write a blog post on it.

The Roll Out
It’s still rolling out, so you may not see any changes in your Google rankings immediately. If your site is influential (congrats!) Google probably crawls your site more frequently, so it’s likely you’ll see the impact of Penguin 4.0 sooner than your peers.

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