01 Nov Penguin 4.0 is Here. Here’s What You Need to Know
For months, SEO experts have suspected that something fishy was going on in Google-land. Now, after months of playing coy, Google has finally rolled out its latest algorithm update, which the SEO community has dubbed “Penguin 4.0.” If your marketing strategy includes any kind of Search Engine Optimization, it’s vital for you to understand how the update will affect your search engine rankings, your conversions, and ultimately, your sales.
Back to Basics: What is Penguin?
If you’re new to the world of search engines and SEO in general, allow us to back up. In the days of old—2011 and prior—the internet was a frustrating place. Sites could, and did, achieve higher search rankings by using scummy tactics like populating entire pages with links or churning out useless, poorly-written content.
Google’s first major algorithm update, Panda, changed all that. It dramatically overhauled the way Google evaluated search quality, penalizing sites that posted spammy content and rewarding those that offered rich, valuable content. A year later, Google unrolled Penguin, which aimed to do the same as Panda, only with links. Suddenly, sites with low-quality links were penalized, and sites with strong inbound link profiles were rewarded.
Since then, Penguin has seen a few minor updates—but Penguin 2.0 and 3.0 were nowhere near as significant as the 4.0 version. Below are three of the biggest changes.
Penguin 4.0’s Top 3 Updates
Here’s what’s different in the SEO world now that Penguin 4.0 is here.
- Constant refreshing. Before, if a website uploaded spammy or manipulative links, it could be weeks or months until the faux-pas was caught by Penguin’s crawlers. Now, Penguin is refreshing itself constantly, meaning that guilty sites will be caught and penalized almost immediately. On the flip side, those who are attempting to remove a Penguin-imposed penalty won’t have to wait until the next refresh to restore their rankings and seek a second chance.
- No more full-domain penalties. Previously, Google used spam indicators to flag entire websites as worthy of penalty. For example, if a webmaster built a low-quality link pointing to a landing page, the entire domain’s rankings would tank across the board. Now, individual pages will be penalized, and the website as a whole will remain safe.
- Full incorporation into Google’s core algorithm. This latest update integrates Penguin into dozens of other separate algorithms that all function together to evaluate a site’s value. This integration will doubtlessly make Penguin more smooth and efficient.
So, What’s it to Me?
Ultimately, Penguin 4.0 means two very important things:
- Black Hat SEO users will be caught and punished more quickly.
- Black Hat SEO users will be forgiven more easily.
Now, hopefully, your marketing company isn’t using any Black Hat SEO tactics in the first place. In that case, you don’t have anything to worry about. Google wants you to play by the rules—so play by the rules, and you’ll have nothing to fear.
Mainly, the new update offers an impetus to check your link building practices. Are your links leading to high-authority sites that will lend you valuable credibility? Are you using appropriate anchor text and embedding your links in well-written, well-researched content? Will your target audience find your links useful? This update will help SEO experts analyze their current practices and take their optimization techniques to the next level.
In other words, SEO experts simply have all the more reason to take time and care when building websites, aiming to tell their brands’ stories via data-driven content, research, and industry knowledge. Another plus? This huge change in the SEO world means that the demand for quality link building services will only increase in upcoming years—great news for marketing companies and their clients. If you do make an SEO mistake, real-time updates mean you will be able to quickly fix the violation. Eventually, Black Hat SEO techniques will slowly become obsolete, which is exactly what Google wants in the first place.