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.
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.