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What you need to know about Google's Penguin 4.0

Google updates Penguin saying that it now runs as part of the core search algorithm

A brief history to the Penguin filter.

  • Introduced by Google in 2012
  • Penguin is a filter designed to capture sites that are spamming Google’s search algorithm.
  • Up to now it has operated on a periodic basis. Webmasters have been unaware as to when an update will happen and what affect it may have on their sites historical link building efforts.
  • There have been seven key iterations of Penguin, all impacting queries to different degrees, according to Google, from as little as 0.3% to a whopping 3.1% of all queries being affected by the updates.

So what has changed? – Penguin 4.0

It’s taken nearly two years, but in an announcement on the Google Webmaster Central Blog, it was made official that the Penguin filter is now part of Google’s core search algorithm. Google explain in their post that there are “more than 200 unique signals or clues that make it possible to surface what you [the user] might be looking for”. Content freshness, keywords on a page and Penguin being examples of these.

Google list the two key updates to the filter as:

  • Penguin now being real-time
  • Penguin is now more granular

They close their post by highlighting how much the internet has changed over the years and there is no surprise that they suggest that webmasters focus on creating compelling websites and that the Penguin 4.0 is only a small contribution towards the 200+ signals they use to rank a website and webpages.

How are you affected by these changes?

As with previous updates, Google have not yet confirmed how many queries have been affected by the ‘roll-out’. What we do know is that Penguin has been updated and now runs in real-time. Which means those elongated delays to regain search visibility that webmasters have previously suffered from are a thing of the past. As Google’s spiders re-crawl and re-index pages/websites they will be reassessed by the Penguin filters. Assuming the webmaster has made an effort to significantly improve their website and the links they have accrued, they should see much faster fixes. The other important change within the filter now allows Google to view and offer more granularity than the entire domain. Previously Penguin punished a whole domain for ‘spammy’ practices; now they have the ability to affect specific pages within a site.

What should you do?

Webmasters focused on creating content based on intelligence, insight and demand that offers value to their site do not need to worry at all – it’s business as usual. Google’s advice to webmasters has not changed: create compelling and interesting websites and content, thinking about the consumer and not the search engines.

For companies who have seen dramatic changes in their visibility, talk to us at iProspect and we’ll help you through. Whilst it’s painful right now, the speed of recovery can be much quicker than before.

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