Today it has been confirmed that Google Penguin 4.0 has started to roll out, and that it is now part of the core algorithm.

For several weeks now there has been chatter about an update from Google. We have seen some great movement ourselves across a range of industries, all with very different backgrounds (when it comes to historic link building activity). Google conveniently confirmed a local-based update but was also testing the latest and last Penguin refresh that they named Penguin 4.0. During the last few weeks, Google have actively denied a Penguin update was to blame.

What is Penguin 4.0?

To put this into perspective, Panda 4.0 is the 4th iteration of the Panda update that was first implemented in April 2012 when Google first dropped the update. It hit the industry hard and devastated rankings for a large number of websites. As part of their work, Google also for the first time sent out messages in Webmaster Tools to inform people they had been penalised.

Penguin was used to combat spam links and their ability to influence the search results. The 4th update for Google Penguin has come over 4 years after the first, which is a very long time in the land of Google. As a comparison, the first and last confirmed Panda update, which combatted poor content, was also a 4-year period, starting in 2011 and ending in 2015. In this time, they rolled out 28 confirmed updates.

Why is it the last?

With this latest update, Google have also said that Penguin is now part of the core algorithm. Before this, Google used to collect up all the data it needed for the algorithm to work, then systematically pushed out the update to the main search results. This is when they confirmed updates to the world and they get numbered. Now the Google Penguin algorithm is core, it means it just works in real time. When you make changes or carry out work within links, Google reacts once it sees the work.

This means that in the past, many agencies and webmasters that did work to clean up any spam links that a website had didn’t have any effect for up to a year or more when Google pushed out more updates. We were aware of this in October 2014 when Google released the Penguin 3.0 update.

What does Google Penguin actually mean?

Very little! As an agency, we very rarely need to do links work anymore to rectify link penalties. We have seen some good increases in our clients’ rankings over the last couple of weeks, probably from work we did back in 2014, or checks on disavow files that have been made when a client comes on board, but in reality, spam links are not a huge issue and haven’t been for a long time.

These updates first hit in 2012; if you hadn’t cleaned up your act and done what Google wanted you to do by Penguin 2.0, then you were slow on the uptake or your agency was poor. By Google Penguin 3.0 there should have been no issues whatsoever with links as this was 2 years after the initial update. That’s more than enough time to fix the issues and change your ways.

If you have seen drops over the rollout of Google Penguin 3.0 (it can take some time) then call us immediately! We see very little activity of poor spammy link building anymore and for the last 3 iterations of penguin, we have only seen increases and good results. If you have seen a negative response, then you need to get help and speak to an expert.

The Future

This doesn’t mean that spam links are a thing of the past. If you try and manipulate Google through the use of manufactured links, then I fully expect you to get penalised. I believe they will still be using the manual action penalty, but at the same time, it should be much quicker to fix this type of issue.

If you continue to conduct outreach and build links in a manner that is best for your client and its users, then you should encounter no issues.


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