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Penguin 4.0: Everything You Need To Know

Kev Strong


What has happened?

Towards the end of September, Google rolled out an update to its much discussed Penguin algorithm. This update officially launched on September 23rd and was named Penguin 4.0. It has brought key changes to the way Google penalises websites that try to manipulate rankings with black-hat link building methods.

What effect does it have?

  • Penguin data is now refreshed in real time, which means any changes made are quickly implemented as the page is re-crawled and re-indexed. This is a ‘fairer’ system, as technically it should discern good and bad content faster, which theoretically will lead to a site being penalised or recovering more quickly.
  • Penguin now penalises spam links in a different way, adjusting the offending page instead of the entire site. This could be huge for SEOs and bring about an end to harsh penalties that can see a whole site’s rankings plummet for one bad page.
  • THe algorithm now devalues pages rather than demote them. This means spam links may not be counted, which can cause your site’s rankings to drop – but Google won’t actually demote your site.

Overall, Google is now quicker to react to disavows and link recovery. The algorithm should also be less impactful for sites that only have a few bad links, affecting specific areas rather than the whole site.

However, the update has only had a minimal impact so far, as observed by the SEO community. About 12% of sites have seen recovery following the update, with 15% reporting a reduced rank – according to Search Engine Roundtable.

What should I do?

What can you do to take advantage of this change in the algorithm? Well, if you’ve been listening to Mediaworks’ advice recently, carry on as usual. We believe that a strong, quality-driven plan will provide high quality links naturally without the need for spam-tactics.

You should continue to root out and disavow any spam links to your website, as these can harm your rankings. It’s almost always better to try and assist Google’s complex AI in ranking your site – and there are still manual actions that can be issued against particularly spammy websites or link building efforts.

The algorithm change does not change much for SEO’s either – as we will continue to illustrate the value of high quality, contextual links that don’t come from low-quality websites.

Ultimately, Penguin has always been a measure that tries to combat ‘black hat’ style link-building. With the recent update, we will again see sites being measured and punished quickly – but also faster recoveries.

Still unsure? Get in touch today for further help and advice.


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