So it happened. Google finally released Penguin 4.0 — the last Penguin update of its kind, as it now processes in real time as a part of Google’s core ranking algorithm.
After a few weeks of turbulence in the SERPs, the announcement that many had predicted was finally made.
The Penguin 4.0 announcement had two key points:
- Penguin is now running in real time. This is really good news. There are lots of folks out there who have paid the price for low-quality SEO yet are still not seeing a recovery after removing or disavowing all of their spammy backlinks. Certainly, a house built on dodgy links will not spring back to a position of strength simply by removing those links; however, there are many businesses out there that seem to have been carrying algorithmic boulders around their digital ankles. Hopefully, these folks can now move on, their debt to a punitive algorithm update paid in full.
- Penguin is now more granular. This element is a little more curious, in that Penguin 2.0 seemed to add page-level and keyword-level penalties, making it more granular than the 1.0 release. However, we can only imagine that things have got much more advanced, and possibly individual links are considered rather than the seemingly aggregate approach that was taken historically. Only time will tell the degree to which this granular approach will impact sites, but I suspect it will be a good thing for those looking to play by the rules.
It will also be interesting to see how this fits in with the other 200 or so factors or “clues” that Google uses to rank websites. We now we have both Panda and Penguin integrated into Google’s core ranking algorithm (though Panda does not run in real time), so it’s possible that the weight of the various known ranking factors may have changed as a result.
One other interesting nugget is that there will be no more notifications for Penguin updates. Penguin now constantly updates as Google crawls the web, so tweaks to the finer points of this system will no longer be announced.
This post is first appeared in SEL.