Recently, Google announced a seismic update that many webmasters had been waiting for with bated breath: Penguin 4.0, one of Google’s more influential algorithm updates, has been updated.
For those of you who may have forgotten, Google’s Penguin algorithm update is one that is primarily concerned with links. Debuting in April 2012, the Penguin algorithm update served as a major slap on the wrist to webmasters that were out to acquire links by reverse-engineering Google’s algorithm, leveraging webspam, unsavory tactics, and often poor-quality link strategies. The result was a series of roll-outs that left many webmasters penalized severely — dropping in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages by pages at a time, or in some cases, failing to appear at all.
With every iteration of the Penguin algorithm update, the conditions and the criteria for your link profile grow more strict and severe, targeting everything from low-quality linking domains to overused keyword anchor text, link networks and bad link neighborhoods that are primarily havens of webspam.
Advancing from 3.0 to 4.0
While Google had long-promised an update to Penguin, the biggest surprise was the amount of time that it took to go from Penguin 3.0 to Penguin 4.0. The last Penguin update happened in October 2014, making it nearly two years since Google officially updated one of its signpost algorithms that aims to filter webspam and award webmasters that are abiding by Google’s quality guidelines.
The delay for Penguin 4.0 is perhaps telling: Google has indicated that Penguin 4.0 is now incorporated into Google’s core algorithm and is running real-time. In the past, webmasters would have to wait until the next Penguin update to see how changes in their link profile could potentially yield recovery. Now, these changes will be indexed and pushed into Google’s search results much quicker, giving webmasters a visible pathway to recovery and giving Google the ability to reward sites that are showing promising link patterns that adhere to their quality guidelines.
Results Soon to Come
So far, the results have been minimal. Largely, it’s too early to tell the impact of this algorithm or what patterns have emerged that’s made this update significant. However, its slow roll-out and real-time implications have made search results a little more erratic. Watch this space as we’re able to monitor more of the algorithm’s influence as it unfolds.
Many webmasters across the globe are just now starting to talk about signs of a possible Penguin recovery, so it appears the algorithm update is still fully unfolding. If you could use a link audit to determine how you could recover from Google’s latest algorithm update, get in touch with our SEO team today!