Google Penguin 4.0: 4 Considerations on the Latest Search Engine Algorithm Update

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On September 23, 2016 Google announced the newest update of the algorithm: the Penguin 4.0 .

google penguin

The digital world was divided. While some experts showed optimism, others were concerned that the update could open doors to technical “ashes” of SEO (which techniques, although sometimes do not follow the typical laws and ethical standards are not used with malicious intent).

The SEMRush talked to some international experts on these concerns and prepared this article.

But first of all, let us recall the main features of Penguin 4.0 and see how they can influence the work of SEO experts:

  1. The Penguin 4.0 was released worldwide and in all languages ​​at the same time. That is, all sites felt the impact at the same time, regardless of location. equal rules for everyone;
  2. The Penguin is working on real-time basis. This means that ranqueamentos of any page may change each time Google updates the information on this page and all the others that have links to this page. That is, you will see the negative and positive impacts of their actions more quickly;
  3. The real-time algorithm allows to recover positions after facing a penalty in less time. If your site is penalized and you solve the problems that resulted in penalties, you will see the positive results earlier than before. The results will appear as soon as Google makes a new crawl the pages of your site;
  4. From that moment, Penguin becomes part of the core algorithm, will no longer be a separate filter. Now, monitor your backlinks profile constantly became even more important;
  5. The Penguin is becoming more granular. Using simple words, from now on the algorithm is focused on specific pages to which links are pointing toxic, and not the entire sites. These micropenalidades are harder to track, so it is as indispensable to regular audit of all important subdomains and specific pages of your site.

As you can see, the update may seem fantastic for experienced SEO professionals, and benefits those who play by the rules. But at the same time, it offers some opportunities for those seeking ways to introduce manipulative actions.

Here are the main points that can generate concerns.

1. Penguin is now a real-time algorithm. What does this mean exactly?

Each time Google updates the information pages of the ranqueamentos may change, depending on the degree of satisfaction with Google page and your backlinks. We can see that all the SEO actions (positive and negative) will have a rapid effect, and this effect will be evident.

While this feature benefits analysts SEO “white hat” (those who play by the rules) it can be used in favor of those who prefer technical ashes.

The SEO analyst can now make several tests and see results almost immediately. That is, you can track Google’s reaction to various SEO activities and considering the next feature of the Penguin, you do not need to worry about the penalties.

2. Penguin offers faster recovery of penalties. Can this lead to increased shady dealings?

Let’s assume that a website receives a penalty. Previously you would have expected only enough for Google to notice the improvements that have been made on the site and only after that you would see some changes in ranking. Today, if your SEO Analyst for agile, he can remove the bad links in a short time, and you will see the positive effect much faster.

However, a SEO Analyst “gray hat” can also take advantage of this feature. Since the site can recover more quickly, he did not need to think twice before opting for techniques not recommended. This is pretty much a green light to if you want to play with unreliable links.

3. Penguin is now part of Google’s main algorithm, is no longer a separate filter. Can he be mistaken?

It is not our intention to disappoint you completely. For example, according to Will Critchlow, CEO of Distilled, Penguin “is not perfect, but it is certainly a right step” .

We asked some international experts and asked them to share their forecasts.

Alex Guest, Inbound Marketing Manager of Prodo, says it’s possible that “within 18-24 months Penguin be 80% automated and autoevolutivo, with a small percentage of human interaction for control and adjustments” .

“Penguin 4.0 appears to offer a danger of invasion ‘gray hat’ SEO” continues Alex Guest. However he believes that if this happens, Google may introduce some elements of machine learning . (eg. RankBrain).

Also read the post Unraveling mysteries of RankBrain: how it works and how it can influence their results .

Dave Hermansen, ecommerce expert also believes that the experts “gray hat” can take advantage of the situation: “You can use any tactic and see what goes through Google filter” says Hermansen.

Finally, remember that Penguin is not just a test – is the new Google algorithm. The race to learn more about tactics that give (or not) right before Google can stop the “gray hats” to manipulate the Penguin algorithm has begun.

4. Does the Penguin can motivate to play according to the rules?

Steve Pritchard, SEO consultant Wooden Blinds Direct, provides a chain reaction that starts with Google launching improvements analysts and causes the analysts of “gray hat” SEO find creative solutions. If the “gray hats” finding ways to bypass the flexible nature of the Penguin, Google will “introduce another ‘fuzzy little animal’ they already have saved his sleeve. Time will show , he says.

But all is not just black and white.

Some lessons can be drawn from the most famous tactics of link building – lists of links, articles marketing, guest posts and even roundups . All were already at the top of popularity and some have fallen into disuse and today impair the quality of the site.

Stuart Young, SEO Analyst Dr. Felix provides that ” the decisive factor will be the ROI (return on investment) – for most will be more interesting point of view of investments follow Google rules instead of looking for holes in the algorithm all the time”.

How can you confirm, the reactions caused by the update are mixed. Some call the Penguin “an attempt to build a wall between the good and evil of previous Penguin updates” , while others, like David Mercer, the SME Pals, suggest “remove the Penguin at once” .

But the fact is that Google Penguin reduces the risks of brands, which end up being less affected, since the update penalizes only individual pages, not the entire site. This is a great benefit for companies whose competitors choose to dubious links practices.

Previously, in the pre Penguin 4, anyone who wanted to harm the competitor could do it simply by arranging toxic links. The Penguin too difficult this task. Of course those who want to manipulate backlinks and are willing to find holes in the algorithm and test them, continue harming the websites of competitors, however this task handling is now much more difficult.

“Do not believe the negative SEO has been completely overcome. A person can even harm a site with backlinks. However, Google penalties recovery process became much faster. Buy online catalogs links, social bookmarks, post spam in the comment sections of the posts are factors that no longer influence the ranking. Practice link baiting, dedicate their efforts to Content Marketing and collecting links “white” – these activities are gaining more and more importance “ , says Yevgeni Sereda, SEO analyst SEMRush.

Whatever your plan, white hat backlinks  are not easily duplicated, and they gained enormous respect on the part of Google.

For example, think of the links of the print media. Certainly the link building experts will not stop selling and buying links from one day to the other. But as the cost of high quality links is increasing, they will want to move on to other business. Links “white” is a huge and promising market.

So how can you benefit from Google Penguin 4.0?

One of the reasons why the Penguin is so dangerous is because you will never be informed if your site is penalized. You can only assume that you were penalized based on the indirect signs, such as a sharp drop in organic traffic or the loss of positions in some (or all) keywords including your brand.

The fact that the algorithm allow you to see the results of their actions can quickly be a double edge sword. The recovery process becomes faster, as well as the penalty process.

Here is the list of actions you can take to protect your site from unexpected drops in ranqueamentos:

  • Constantly monitor their positions in the SERPs. Set up regular shipments of e-mail alerts to stay informed of any change of position. Make sure you’re tracking not only the keywords of your homepage, but also keywords to any significant subdivisions. Tom Clark suggests “always compare ranqueamentos keywords and investigate what keywords have a sudden drop in their positions” ;
  • Keep your profile healthy and clean backlink. Create a habit of doing a regular audit to verify the new backlinks and lost its value and quality, and remove the bad;
  • Conduct a thorough audit of backlinks of your entire site. As the new Penguin takes a granular approach, it is essential to audit backlinks for each subdomain and important subdivision of your site (for example, perform separate audits for each of the different language versions of your site);
  • Set properties on the Google Search Console for each subdomain or important sub – path and update your file disavow if necessary. You can use the tool SEMRush Backlink Audit to format your disavow file easily and appropriately.

Finally, I mean – let’s look on the bright side! Finally, the Penguin has become something that has long expected it to be – fast and flexible.

We do not have to be afraid of Penguin, since it affects only single pages and not the entire domain. With changes to the Penguin update, your company is protected against Google penalty.

This entry was written by Maria Chizhikova , communications analyst at SEMRush .