Penguin 4.0 Is Finally Here
September 23, 2016
A little over four years ago, Google unleashed one of its famously-named algorithm updates, once again named after a black and white animal: Penguin 1.0 was released into the wild on April 24, 2012. The algorithm update was designed to punish sites with low-quality links, or sites that sought links for the sole purpose of manipulating Google’s search algorithm. While linking tactics like these had worked to influence rankings in the past, Penguin came and ensured it denied webmasters the ability to artificially influence rankings with spammy link building.
With subsequent updates, Google flexed its power by further extending Penguin’s reach. More websites were penalized for poor link profiles that violated Google’s quality guidelines, and Google had webmasters removing links and cleaning up webspam before they had a chance to return to their ranking in Search Engine Results Pages. A big caveat for websites that were forced to remove links was that they had to wait–Google couldn’t really process the signals that indicated the site had cleaned its link profile until the next iteration of Penguin happened.
As of today, that all changes. Today, Google announced that Penguin 4.0 is in the process of being rolled out, incorporated into Google’s core search algorithm and updated in real time. This should mean more frequent changes in Google’s search results, with Penguin’s influence on the algorithm regularly rewarding or admonishing webmasters based on inbound links.
In addition to going live, Google has indicated that Penguin 4.0 will impact sites on a more granular basis, rather than impact the entire domain. The impact of that is unclear, but presumably, this means that if a particular page on a domain has a large number of low-quality links, that page may be impacted, while other pages may still rank.
While webmasters had to wait years for Penguin 4.0 to roll out, it’s also the last release of its kind. This algorithm update will now become an endangered species, relegated to Google’s core algorithm and updated in real time. Google will no longer announce changes to Penguin as it will now be a real-time signal.
If you think your site could use some Penguin protection, get in touch today!