Google has recently revealed that they are making an update to the Penguin module of their search algorithm. Traditionally, the penguin update was designed to target spammy links on a website (unnatural links back to the website or its search results). The last update to the Penguin algorithm was back in October 2014, so two years later and Google has released a new version 4.0 – a new update from Google usually causes a bit of panic in the SEO digital marketing space. Websites will need to be reviewed quickly so they aren’t devalued in rank as a result of the update.
With the previous updates, the penguin algorithm would penalize websites deemed spammy and their rankings brought down in search results – The websites will then have to be checked and spammy backlinks removed/updated, after which you’d have to wait for Google to perform a refresh in order for rankings to go back up. According to Google the latest Penguin update means the days of waiting for a refresh is long-gone. In addition to this they also say that spammy links won’t necessarily affect the whole website but can impact individual pages or groups of pages.
The actual updates that Penguin 4.0 brings to the search engine algorithm are:
- Penguin 4.0 means the algorithm now works in real-time: This means that now as Google’s crawlers go through and index websites (which happens on a regular basis), the pages crawled will be analysed by the Penguin algorithm. Penguin will then determine whether to de-value a page based on what it sees during crawling and indexing, resulting in a change in page rank. What this means is changes to a websites spammy links will be visible in search results much quicker than it would have been in the past.
- It has become more granular: Google’s exact words were “”. What this means is that penguin will no more result in a site-wide penalty, meaning it is more page specific. As a result the Penguin algorithm can now affect individual pages on a website (that are deemed spammy) and even groups of pages or sections of a site.
Google also mentioned that since Penguin 4.0 now works in real time, they will no longer be informing us of future Penguin refreshes. This is fair enough considering it’s now a real-time, continuous process, hence there’s no need for confirming updates.