Google announced on the 23/09/2016 that ‘Penguin’ is now a part of their ‘core algorithm’ via the Webmaster Central Blog. Not only is it now going to be a usual component of ranking factors, there has also been a few updates made to it. There has been speculation about the Penguin 4.0 update for a little while, and we first wrote about it back in January this year.
What does that mean exactly?
First of all, an algorithm in the terms of a Search Engine is quite simple a ‘computer program that looks for clues to give you back data for a search.’ Every time a user does a search, an algorithm sweeps over every website in a split-second and pulls in data for what you’re looking for based on a number of factors. Some of these factors or ‘signals’ include things like the content on the page, the location of your IP address and the authority of the page. Essentially, it’s what helps Search Engines pull up the 10 most relevant results. Click here for more information straight from Google, or here for a basic explanation from MOZ.
Why does Google update their algorithms?
SEO’s around the world are constantly trying to manipulate the Search Engines so rank websites on page 1. To try and stop people using ‘black hat’ tactics, Google launched a set of Guidelines to keep things fair but also to ensure they’re serving up good quality websites when someone performs a search. Sometimes updates a made to ‘tighten the reigns’ and ween out websites that aren’t following these Guidelines.
What is Penguin about then?
Right, so what is Penguin? The ‘Penguin’ update was initially launched back in 2012 and focuses on a specific ranking factor – backlinks. In particular, it concentrates on poor quality, ‘spammy’ links and link schemes. Click here to read a blog explaining what backlinks are and their importance.
Since it was first rolled out, there have been several updates but as of a few days ago, it’s now part of the core algorithm.
What else has changed?
As per the blog entry mentioned above, there have been some updates:
Penguin is now in real-time. This is good news and bad news – it’s bad in the sense that if you’re website isn’t following Guidelines you may be hit with a penalty faster, but it’s good in that if you are hit, you can fix it and restore your rankings sooner.
Penguin is more granular. As per Google, ‘Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.’
To conclude, as long as you/ your webmaster / your SEO company are doing the right thing, this shouldn’t affect your website. If you would like to know more, please get in touch with us!