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Google Launches Real-Time Penguin 4.0 Algorithm Update


If you market your business or organization on the Internet, you probably know that your organic ranking in the search results is based on a number of different algorithms by Google that are always changing. Google is constantly updating its standards to help ensure that online users get the most relevant search results.

Google has just released another algorithm update—Penguin 4.0. The new update is the fourth wave of the original Penguin algorithm update rolled out in 2012. This latest update makes Penguin part of Google’s core algorithm, meaning it is now an integrated part of how Google ranks websites on an ongoing basis. Penguin cracks down on spammy optimization practices (“black hat” practices) such as unnatural link schemes, causing many websites to experience a significant drop in organic ranking.

What Makes Penguin 4.0 Different?

According to Google, Penguin 4.0 does two things:

  • Makes Penguin operate in real time
  • Fine-tunes the way Penguin affects ranking (making it more granular)

By operating in real time, websites that have seen their organic ranking drop off because of Penguin now have the chance to get “refreshed” (reevaluated by Google after making the necessary fixes) right away. Previously, affected websites were refreshed periodically in batches.

Eric Reuveni, Scorpion’s Chief Experience officer, explains the difference:

“In previous iterations, sites would be hit with a Penguin update, and if they were penalized, they’d have to wait for weeks, months, or even years to get another refresh that would take into account any adjustments that were made to correct the issues. With Penguin 4.0 now operating as a constant process, we’ll all be able to see the fruits of our labor more frequently.”

As for the “fine-tuning” of the Penguin algorithm mentioned above, Penguin is now significantly more granular in the way it penalizes websites. So instead of negatively impacting an entire website’s ranking with a blanket effect, it will be much more targeted, adjusting rankings based specifically on spam signals.

So What Does This Mean for My Website?

It honestly depends on the state of your current SEO practices. The results can either be a competitive boost for your business or organization, or they can be a setback. It all depends on the approach you or your SEO company have taken in the past few years.

“Penguin 4.0 is a significant change to the Google algorithm—and while it has the potential to damage a business’ presence in the organic results, it can also be viewed as an opportunity to recover,” said Megan Ramirez, Scorpion’s Vice President of SEO. “For businesses who have been building natural links and cleaning up any older spam, this will be a chance to get ahead; however, for businesses who have continued to utilize low-quality backlinks as a ‘quick fix’ to SEO, it could be troublesome. At Scorpion, we are continuing to keep a close eye on the organic presence of our clients and look forward to continuing to see these local businesses succeed online.”

If your website’s ranking has been negatively impacted by Penguin, our Internet marketing team at Scorpion is here to help. We help businesses and organizations implement best SEO practices from the start so they are fully prepared for Google’s algorithm updates. We also assist businesses that need to correct issues that have resulted in penalties.

If you have any questions about how to improve your SEO or general web presence, contact Scorpion!