What Google Penguin 4.0 Means for SEO

Google Penguin, a Google search ranking algorithm aimed at decreasing the visibility of websites violating Google Webmaster Guidelines, has been around since 2012.

Those Guidelines allow web page owners to optimize their content so that Google can best find, index and rank your site based on its content. This allows consumers to find websites and the services or products they showcase, and the process of optimizing this content is known as search engine optimization (SEO).

Google recently updated the Penguin algorithm, though, and the newest version means changes in how we optimize websites for search rankings.

A Background on the Penguin Algorithm

The Penguin algorithm has always worked behind the scenes, crawling sites for SEO and adherence to the rules. It searched for sites spamming search results, especially ones involved in link schemes. Those websites in good standing ranked higher in search results, whereas those that either did not employ SEO tactics received lesser rankings. Spam sites, or sites appearing to contain spam, were penalized.

After Google determined a site had bad links, the solution to the situation was to perform a link audit and proceed down one of two paths. Site owners could either manually ask other sites to remove the bad links, which is very difficult and takes large amounts of time, or they could disavow the links and say they don’t have anything to do with them, which causes its own problems.

The main point about Google Penguin is that while it was always looking for violations to Google rules, it refreshed the list of affected sites periodically. This created issues for websites that were not spam but might have been flagged as such by Penguin, making it difficult for those sites to improve their search ranking. It also forced the SEO process to take a long time, as companies needed to wait for the periodic updates to the ranking system to see if employed SEO tactics were working.

Lastly, with previous Google Penguin versions, entire websites were negatively affected by poor SEO. With Penguin 4.0, those issues are a thing of the past.

 Key Changes to Google Penguin

As of the release of Penguin 4.0, the algorithm will update its findings in real-time, acting as an integral part of Google’s core algorithm and affecting search results immediately. It will do a better job than ever of reading spam signals on a granular level, adjusting the ranking of each web address accordingly instead of the website as a whole. Lastly, Google Penguin is now available in all languages, making Google Webmaster Guidelines more universal than ever before.

What Penguin’s Changes Mean for Search Results

Penguin 4.0 has the potential to revolutionize SEO, making it almost as real-time as the algorithm itself. Because Penguin will be updating in real-time, businesses will no longer need to wait for months or years to see the results of their optimization tactics. For those attempting to recover from a penalty but have since “fixed” their SEO tactics to be in keeping with the Google rules, real-time updates mean only offending pages will receive negative rankings in the future.

What Google Penguin Doesn’t Mean

 While the real-time aspects of the Google Penguin update might seem both exciting and intimidating, it is important to remember that Penguin is not the only deciding factor for search rankings.

In fact, Google has more than 200 different ranking signals that are considered, meaning the more SEO tactics a company employs, the better the results. It is best to undertake a 100 percent “white hat” approach to SEO optimization, adhering to Webmaster standards and accepting those standards as best practices for web content implementation.

Are you seeing fluctuations in your rankings due to Penguin or other reasons? Even if you just have a few quick questions about your website’s SEO, contact us to set up a free, 30-minute consultation to see if our proven, proprietary blend of digital marketing tactics can help you fix your SEO and double your qualified leads.

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