Goodbye Penguin Updates

Google Penguin 4.0 is now an official part of Google’s Core Algorithm.

The announcement that Penguin now runs in real time within the core search algorithm means that the latest release, Penguin 4.0, will also be the last.

Four years after its initial release and two years after its last major update, Google has finally issued the third significant update to its Penguin algorithm. While the update has been long awaited (Penguin 3.0 was released in October 2014), the bigger surprise is the news that this update will be the last, as Penguin is now going real-time within the core search algorithm.

To understand the potential impact of the real-time Penguin on your business, it is important to consult with a local expert provider in SEO services.

In general, though, the biggest effect of the news is that those who have suffered penalties will no longer have to wait for the next Penguin Update to recover their rankings. Everything will happen in real time from now on. It also means, however, that the impact of Penguin in searches will be harder to ascertain. Unlike with previous updates, Google will not release information on the percentage of queries that it affects, as its impact is constantly ongoing, so that percentage will not remain stable.

A brief history of Penguin

The Google Penguin algorithm was first announced in April 2012. It was designed to penalise websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by decreasing their search engine rankings. Specifically, Penguin sought to discourage “spamdexing” activities that seek to artificially boost a webpage’s ranking by manipulating the number of links leading to that page.

The effect of Penguin 1.0 was significant, affecting over 3% of Google searches and resulting in some big-name winners and losers in SERP rankings.

The losers largely fell into the following general categories:

  • Press portals and feed aggregators that are often purpose built by SEOs and generally contain similar content.
  • Sites that copy or recycle other peoples’ content such as and
  • Database-driven websites that aggregate information and then use database systems to create as many pages as possible. These include sites like, and

Penguin 1.0 was, on the other hand, good news for other websites that saw a big increase in rankings. These were less easy to categorise, but broadly speaking a number of brand sites saw large increases, including, and

Subsequent minor updates, in the form of Penguin 1.1 and 1.2 were released later in 2012 to lesser impact (affecting less than 1% of searches). Penguin 2.0 was the first major update, released in May 2013, and Penguin 3.0 followed in October 2014.

Are you prepared for Penguin 4.0?

According to Google, Penguin 4.0 will be “more granular.” Although Google declined to be drawn on this in much detail, it would appear to mean that where previous releases were site wide, Penguin 4.0 could now hit either specific sections of a site or individual pages.

The real-time Penguin is still being rolled out and will probably take a few weeks to become fully active. However, the new parameters being used are likely to already be in place and companies need to be prepared now to avoid trouble in the coming weeks and months.

Speak to an SEO expert to make sure your website is fully prepared. Have your content professionally evaluated, and ensure it adds real value to your site and gives customers the information they are looking for.

With the right content, the new Google Penguin update can give a boost to your online presence rather than being a hindrance.

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