Google’s Latest Penguin Update Means its Algorithm Will Now Run in Real-Time

Written on 26 September, 2016 by Trish OLoughlin
Categories Search Engine Optimisation

After two long years of waiting, Google has finally unveiled Penguin 4.0 – the latest algorithm update for the search engine giant. The update brings about a few significant changes that could heavily impact the way your business ranks on Google, meaning it’s important to take note, lest you let your website end up in Google’s rejection pile.

Here are the key factors to take away from the latest update:

What’s different?

  • Real-time nature: The main change is the shift to real-time. Previously, the Penguin filter would catch out sites deemed spammy and keep them in ‘lockdown’ for approximately two years until they could be cleared. Now, Penguin no longer needs refreshing for websites to be able to run again; instead, there will be a regular process that ensures pages will be caught and others freed after every re-crawl. This means that sites may be subject to penalisation at any given time, yet that they can also bounce back much faster once the necessary amendments have been implemented.
  • Page-specificity. According to Google, “Penguin is now more granular”. Basically, this means that rather than a whole website being affected, the algorithm will adjust rankings based on the identification of spam signals – these may be present in specific pages, in certain sections or in wide swaths of a site.

But what exactly is Penguin?

Unless you’re somewhat tech-inclined, wrapping your head around Penguin isn’t exactly a black-and-white scenario (pun wholeheartedly intended). Basically, Penguin is an algorithm Google uses to crawl and index websites, detecting any spammy backlinks and penalising those websites accordingly.

Google first introduced the tool in April 2012 as a way to decrease the search engine rankings for websites that don’t follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Wherever black-hat SEO techniques designed to artificially boost a site’s rankings were employed, Penguin would filter out those sites to prevent users from clicking on them.

Over the years, Penguin has implemented a series of updates in order to improve upon its original model. This latest update, however, has been deemed to be the last necessary change to the algorithm (let’s hope anyway).

Wondering if your website is in danger?

There are certain signs you can look out for that are usually a clear-cut indication you have been slapped with a search ranking penalty. To avoid this from happening in the first place, however, it’s highly advisable to carry out some common-sense methods that will keep you on Google’s good side:

  • Thoroughly research keywords before incorporating them into your campaign
  • Construct genuine links using the right methods
  • Ensure your website loads quickly and is optimised for mobile devices
  • Carefully assess your metrics and diagnose any penalities
  • Continually refresh your website with high-quality content

If you are diligent and proactive when it comes to your website’s SEO and digital marketing direction, you have little to fear when it comes to being a SERP reject.

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