Official confirmation from Google via the Google webmaster blog has come that the Penguin 4.0 algorithm update has begun and this time it is real-time! Why real-time? Previously for a Penguin update and any changes to the website subsequently would have taken effect in the next Penguin update. However with this algorithm, if your website gets hit by Penguin you can recover faster since it is real-time.

The last Penguin update was in October 2014 and this announcement for Penguin 4.0 will be the last one, as from now on, it will be real-time.

There will be no future Penguin confirmations
Google commented: "Because this is a real-time algorithm we're not going to comment on future refreshes." This means every time Google crawls and indexes your web pages they will immediately use the signals with the new Penguin algorithm. Previously Google did the same for Panda and it became a part of its core algorithm.

What is Penguin Update?

Penguin was first rolled out in April 2012 to penalize websites that were abusing the search results by buying backlinks or obtaining them through cheap directory websites or through private blog networks to boost Google SERPs. Most of these websites got severely hit and were pushed deep into the search results. Some websites never recovered. Every time a new Penguin update was released, websites that have taken action to remove bad or spammy backlinks (either directly or via the Google disavow tool) regained rankings. However, with the real-time Penguin update, this correction or consideration will be done in real-time and websites will not have to wait for another update release.

Real-Time and More Granular

Google wrote: "Penguin is now real-time. Historically, the list of sites affected by Penguin was periodically refreshed at the same time. Once a webmaster considerably improved their site and its presence on the internet, many of Google's algorithms would take that into consideration very fast, but others, like Penguin, needed to be refreshed. With this change, Penguin's data is refreshed in real-time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we recrawl and reindex a page. It also means we're not going to comment on future refreshes."

The granular part, however, is not so clear but our understanding is that for large websites with 1000s of backlinks to multiple pages only the pages that have spammy or low-quality backlinks will be affected instead of the whole website. A much fairer way for larger websites.

Penguin Timeline:

  • Penguin 1.0 on April 24, 2012
  • Penguin 1.1 on May 22, 2012
  • Penguin 1.5 on October 5, 2012
  • Penguin 2.0 on May 23, 2013
  • Penguin 2.1 on October 4, 2013
  • Penguin 3.0 on October 18, 2014
  • Penguin 4.0 on September 23, 2016

How to prevent a website from getting impacted by Penguin update

First of all, know that Google takes any link to your website very seriously. Previously SEO people tricked Google and abused its algorithm by building low-cost bogus backlinks from cheap directories, blogs, Web 2.0 websites etc. So to avoid a Penguin penalization stay away from the easy way of building backlinks. Backlinks to your websites should be earned not bought or otherwise. So all you need to do is have a full site audit and see that you do not have any low-quality backlinks. Secondly, if your website is related to real estate and you got several backlinks from sports-related blogs or websites, it is a red alert for Penguin. So rely on quality links from authority websites and relevant ones. Do not fall for cheap link-buying scams or sign up for PBNs (Private Blog Networks). Sooner or later Penguin will catch you and if you rely on your Google rank for your online business, it will be a really tough time for you ahead.

How to recover a Google Penguin-impacted website?

If your site was hit by Penguin 3.0 and you don't see a recovery, you need to do a full backlink audit of the website. Spot the bad backlinks and then take steps to remove them. Backlink audit can be done via Google Webmaster Tools. Removal of the bad links can be done via the Disavow tool. However we suggest, instead of doing it yourself, you can hire an SEO company in Kolkata like us to do the job for you in a precise and professional way.

What are the other Google updates?

If you are interested in knowing more about various Google updates go to this page.

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