Google has officially announced that Google Penguin is now part of the core algorithm. What most consider Google Penguin 4.0, this will be the last announced Penguin refresh to the algorithm because it’s now considered “real-time.”
Here are the two major bullets provided by Google when discussing the Penguin update:
- 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 refreshing. With this change, Penguin’s data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible faster, typically taking effect shortly after we re-crawl and re-index 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, and not affecting the ranking of the overall site.
The Google Penguin real-time announcement is a welcome change, especially to anyone who is now under the cloud of a Google penalty. Basically, this means that sites that were once affected would be periodically refreshed and your website would then be checked to see if it is still “spammy” or not. The old process could take months to recover a website. Now, this Google Penguin update is checking your website in real-time. This makes visibility changes to your website occur much faster, allowing to recover from Google penalties faster.
Granularity is also a key part.
Instead of an entire site being affected by a Google Penalty. I assume, that they’re now only penalizing specific sections or pages that they believe are using “spammy” tactics to increase their visibility.
edit: “No, it means it affects finer granularity than sites. It does not mean it only affects pages,” a Google spokesperson confirmed to The SEM Post.
Is your site affected by Google Penguin 4.0?
This roll-out reportedly has not been completed yet. I would expect to see ranking fluctuations in the coming weeks until the algorithm / updates settle themselves down before coming to a conclusion that it’s been penalized and figuring out how to recover from the Google Penguin update.
If you feel that you’ve actually been penalized, check for messages in webmaster tools, or start doing a linking analysis on your website to measure for “spammy” links that are impacting the visibility performance of your website.
As always, if you feel you’ve seen negative impacts and have identified those “spammy” links. Google recommends that you reach out to those websites asking for link removal, and if all else fails – send a removal request to Google.
Google Penguin isn’t everything…
Remember, Google Penguin is one of the many updates to the algorithm used to measure rankings overall. Penguin is just one of more than 200 signals Google uses. While links are a HUGE part of ranking, Google also looks at things like specific words, freshness of content, region, and even PageRank. If you’re looking to learn more about those kinds of signals, visit Moz’s breakdown of search engine ranking factors in 2016.