It’s official! Google have now confirmed that the brand new, real time Penguin 4.0 algorithm was already being rolled out before the official launch date – which is precisely what many of us had suspected all along.
The last Penguin version was released two years ago in October 2014 – so it is hardly surprising that this new version is big news all round as far as the SEO community is concerned. Unlike Penguin 3.0, the newly updated algorithm has been designed to detect poor quality links in real-time and it works by demoting a site based on the number of links pointing to a domain which are classed as Spam – as soon as a site is re-crawled and re-indexed .
Because Penguin 4.0 is a real-time algorithm, Google has officially stated that any future revisions will not be announced. Unlike the last version, Penguin 4.0 will also have a much more immediate effect on a website’s position in the organic search listings.
According to Google, the two main features of the new update are as follows:
The older versions of Penguin worked by refreshing any affected sites at periodic intervals.
If your site had been penalised – you would need to remove any low quality links pointing your site manually – provided you were able to. If not, then you would need to tell Google which bad links you were unable to remove by means of a Link Disavow file.
All of this could take a long time for Google to process which meant a much slower recovery period once you had fixed any issues which were negatively affecting your positions. With Penguin 4.0, the results are made visible much more quickly.
Although the actual meaning of Penguin now being “granular” is still a hotly debated topic, most webmasters have interpreted this to infer that Penguin 4.0 deals with low quality links on a page-by-page basis – as opposed to demoting an entire site if only one or two sections are classed as spammy.