5 Reasons Google’s Penguin 4.0 Update is Awesome

It’s been about a month since Google announced Penguin 4.0 was live. Now SEOs and marketers are finding out just how beneficial this algorithm update is.

Digital marketers are all too familiar with hearing about the different algorithmic animals in the Google Zoo. Most recently you’ve probably heard about Google’s latest Penguin algorithm update, but what does it really mean? Unless you’re an SEO, you might not know how to answer that question.

Most SEOs, including myself, are excited about the benefits this new update brings, and I’m going to tell you why you should be excited too.

Penguin Algorithm History

I’m sure some of us need a brief refresher course on the Penguin algorithm; so let me quickly do that. Penguin first came out in April 2014. The purpose of Penguin was to help eliminate trust in sites that use unnatural back links to gain a ranking advantage in Google. Basically, Penguin is a webspam filter that is supposed to help reward high-quality websites.

5 Reasons to Love the Google Penguin 4.0 Algorithm

In the end of September, Google released the new Penguin 4.0 update and there are some major benefits marketers and SEOs can take advantage of now. The two main changes are that this update is now in real-time and Penguin is now more granular than past rollouts. These changes will help continue to reward high-quality sites using white hat SEO practices.Laptop with Google homepage open - vector

1. Penguin 4.0 is Now Part of Google’s Core Algorithm

This change is a major reason that SEOs and Webmasters everywhere are celebrating. This means that when you make changes on your site, you will see changes much faster than before. No longer will you have to wait for another rollout of Penguin to see your site recovery. In their announcement, Google actually stated that they are “not going to comment on future refreshes.”

2. Spam Links: Demotion vs. Devaluation

The second major change that is making SEOs and Webmasters jump for joy is the new method in which Penguin 4.0 deals with spam links. This is a major improvement that many SEOs wanted because in the past if Penguin negatively affected your site, your entire site would drop in search rankings. Instead of demoting entire sites that have spam links directed towards them, Penguin will devalue the links.

This means that SEOs and marketers can spend more time on creating quality content and less time trying to defend their site from spam link attacks. Google did not take away the disavow file, so you can still use it to recover from Penguin issues. For more information on that, Barry Schwartz explains it well over at Search Engine Land.

3. New Algorithm Update is More Granular

If you’ve have read Google’s announcement or have read anyone else’s overview on the Penguin update, you have heard them say the update is more granular. But let’s be honest: What does that even mean?

This means that Google is going to devalue spam by changing ranking based on spam signals instead of demoting an entire site. Google can penalize just a specific page, group of keywords, or a subdirectory of a site, so you could find that just one page or a part of your site has been penalized.

4. Penguin Algorithm Fights Negative SEO

Companies could previously use negative SEO tactics to penalize their competitors, but since sites are no longer demoted in the updated Penguin, this will not be possible. Because Penguin now refreshes in real-time, it does present the opportunity for SEOs to test various black hat practices and see which ones Google can or cannot detect. However, that will be much harder to do, so companies should focus on building up their own sites, rather than attacking competitors.

5. SEOs Are Going to Gain Legitimacy

For years real SEOs have watched others claim they can get you a number one Google ranking and 10,000 backlinks in a short amount of time. But anyone who knows anything about SEO knows that you couldn’t possibly guarantee someone a number one ranking for a keyword, or get 10,000 links to your site unless you are doing shady SEO tactics. In that case, you may be able to help a website find ranking success in the short term, but the site is going to be much worse off when Google finds out what the SEOs have been doing.

This Google Penguin 4.0 update is going to separate the real SEOs from the fake. These SEO agencies that are using black hat SEO tactics are going to die out because they will no longer be able to use black hat SEO strategies to get their clients to rank. Their clients are going to see their sites get hit hard and they will have to find legitimate SEOs or agencies that use best practices.

This is going to be good for SEO as a whole and show companies and other marketers that not only is SEO critical to your website organic rankings, it is also important that your SEO be done right.

What’s Next for Google’s Algorithms?

Well, we aren’t really sure. We know that Penguin 4.0 is now real-time and will be consistently refreshing. Perhaps we will see Google become an auto-updating behemoth like I wrote about in my SEO trend predictions for 2017. Regardless of what Google does next, we know that they will continue to create the best experience for web users. They will continue eliminating spam, and let valuable high-quality sites rank.

Mobile Wallet Strategy: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

It’s nearly Halloween, meaning the holiday shopping madness is almost upon us. But don’t worry, it seems like the madness may turn down a notch. Recent studies are suggesting that consumers are relying less on Black Friday deals and prefer to get their discounts virtually. Can we hope that Thanksgiving will go back to just turkey and family and not a day of shopping in mosh pits? Although most retailers already have the gears in motion to open their doors during Thanksgiving dinner, perhaps the current shopping trends will convince them otherwise for next year. 

Mobile is Where It’s At

According to Deloitte’s holiday survey, more than half of consumers confessed that they are relying less on Black Friday for their dose of discounts. During last year’s Black Friday weekend more consumers shopped online than traditional brick-and-mortars for the first time ever. And guess what drove those online sales? Mobile devices of course. To be exact, mobile accounted for 57% of all online shopping traffic. In fact, mobile wallet usage is gaining such popularity that it is expected to go mainstream in the next three years, according to a report from Forrester Research. Consumers aren’t shopping like they used to and there is clearly a golden opportunity in mobile sales. So, why are retailers still focusing on their Black Friday doorbusters and not investing in their mobile strategy?

Mobile Wallet vs. An App

The biggest barrier retailers face today with mobile retailing is getting the customer to download their app and retention. Yet, a mobile wallet strategy presents a solution. With location analytics and notifications as one of the many benefits, a mobile wallet strategy provides the elements of an actual app. It’s a disguise that could potentially reel in casual users to eventually download an app. 

Shoe Carnival saw the opportunity and partnered with Velocity to improve their local listings and mobile presence. The results were better than they hoped for. In just 15 days after launching, they saw a 25:1 return on investment. Their new mobile wallet strategy drove up app downloads and even worked as substitute app.

SIM Partners optimized each Shoe Carnival location with mobile friendly and search features. They also offered an in-store redeemable coupon that was available to download into users’ mobile wallets, and once there, could work as an app. The coupon allowed location or time-based notifications and could be updated within the mobile wallet without any work from the user. On average, developers have noticed that retailers lose 75% of their users just 90 days after an app download. However, 85% of users who downloaded the coupon into their mobile wallet kept it, Jay Hawkinson of SIM Partners reported.

Mobile wallets are still a fairly new concept to most. If you browse the apps available to download in your virtual wallet right now, you’ll see there are only a handful available. But just you wait and see. Soon you may be able to enjoy an evening with turkey and football with more family members than you think.

Facebook at Work: A New Tool for Collaboration?

Let’s face it, social media is everywhere and here to stay. Our devices are constantly alerting us of the latest posts, tweets, shares, and whatever other notification is out there. For those who can afford the distractibility social media presents, there’s really no issue with the constant stream of information flooding in through our phones.

Even though there is a time and place for everything, the compulsive checking of social media can become problematic for people — especially in professional work environments. As our workforce grows younger, using online networking sites are a no-brainer for things like marketing, outreach, and establishing brands and events. Realizing this, social media giant, Facebook is making the leap from keeping in touch with friends and family to connecting coworkers on the clock.

Encouraging Use of Facebook at Work

With their newest rollout, Facebook at Work the social site is looking to enter the realm of collaborative software and workplace communication. Really, this is nothing new with many products like Axosoft, Slack, or Asana keeping companies on track and allowing company-wide transparency and teamwork.

Essentially, using familiar features like newfeeds, events, posts, and messaging, employees can use the format of Facebook to actually collaborate and work with one another.

What may come to be Facebook’s strongest selling point is the fact that they may barely have to sell their newest product — more than one billion people actively use the social network already.

Facebook at Work

Moving between desktop and mobile, Facebook at Work may be a tool we enjoy using.

Despite this, Facebook at Work has only been rolled out to a select number of companies including Heineken, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and Hootsuite to name a few. Employees are given separate accounts from their personal Facebook profiles, allowing them to participate and collectively post to the company page. Everything on Facebook at Work is kept confidential from the public view and the company retains the rights to whatever gets posted. Nothing from your personal account shows up in your Facebook at Work account and vice versa, so it’s meant to be strictly business.

Facebook at Work

Employees can easily search through items to review and share them.

Now, instead of employees having to resist the urge to leap on Facebook at any given moment (mobile or not), Facebook at Work can provide a familiar, workplace-friendly platform to improve productivity and centralize company communications in a new way. Coupled with a mobile version, Facebook’s newest incarnation might prove to be a smart blend between professionalism and a leisurely interface.

Rolling Out Beyond The U.S.

To really seal the deal, Facebook at Work isn’t skimping on the security features either. The platform currently follows third-party industry standards set forth by the Cloud Security Alliance. The full white paper on security can be found here.

Facebook at Work

Teams can communicate in a familiar, social way.

What makes this a unique product for Facebook is that it was first rolled out almost entirely abroad. Companies like Telenor in Norway who operate wireless carriers in places like India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Pakistan were some of the first to come aboard. As a competing platform to Slack, another popular collaborative software, the strategy at Facebook seems to focus on overtaking the Asian and Eastern markets before anyone else. Considering that Facebook is already one of the most globally recognizable sites and used widely among many countries, it’s possible that Facebook at Work may do just that.

For now, we’ll have to continue listening down the grapevine to see how the first adopters of Facebook at Work value their newest corporate tool until it becomes widely available.