It seems like forever since Google released their previous Penguin update, but finally that time has come again and Google just released their last Penguin algorithm update. There are a few major changes from the previous versions. Penguin 4.0 will be the last Penguin update, since it is now a real time algorithm, a constant process.
What is Penguin?
Google launched the Penguin update in April 2012 in order to improve their ability to detect sites spamming the SERPs; particularly, those that do so by paying for links or getting them through link networks, which are created primarily for the purpose of boosting Google rankings. Basically, with Penguin, bad links basically became ‘toxic’, demanding a link audit and the removal of low quality links.
What are the biggest changes brought the Penguin update?
Google recently presented their last update with the new features. Let us have a look at some of the most important changes:
- Penguin now forms part of the core algorithm. This update brings Penguin and Panda together as part of Google’s core ranking algorithm which penalises websites that make use of various black-hat linking schemes in order to manipulate search rankings. This will not have a different impact on the SERPs that are visible to searchers.
- Penguin is now real-time. Penguin 4.0 is a live, real time update. This means that the data is refreshed in real time, so basically website owners won’t need to wait for a Penguin update or refresh anymore. Changes will be made when the affected page has been re-indexed or re-crawled. Website pages will be caught and then penalised or freed by Penguin as a part of this process.
- Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now diminishes spam by altering ranking based on spam signals, rather than disturbing the ranking of the entire website. Any penalties will be aimed at a specific page rather than the entire domain.
What should you do?
This is pretty obvious, but avoiding link spam is now more imperative than ever. Focus on useful and well-researched content. When building links that are aimed at your website, always keep in mind that quality is far more important than quantity.
Take a look at your current content and make sure none of it violates the rules of Google. This is the minimum requirement if you do not want to get penalized, but it is not going to ensure that you will rank well. Links need to be diverse, content needs to be represented on different domains with good reputation signals. Think about whether your content adds value to your website, whether your customers respond well to it and whether they are engaging with it.