How the Google Penguin 4.0 Real-time Algorithm will affect your Business

The Google Penguin 4.0 real-time algorithm is now officially part of Google’s Core Algorithm, as confirmed by Google on September 23rd 2016.

Penguin 4.0 may already be affecting your business’ website, so it is important to understand what Penguin 4.0 is, how it will affect your website’s ranking and what action to take.


What is Google Penguin 4.0

Google uses more than 200 unique signals in its ranking algorithm and these signals include the freshness of content, your business’ region and the words that appear on your website. Penguin is one of these ranking signals and the original version of Penguin was introduced in 2012.

Penguin 4.0 now works in real-time, whereas the original version of Penguin was periodically refreshed. Because Penguin needed to be refreshed, many SEO improvements would not take effect until the next refresh date.

With Penguin 4.0, backlinks affect SEO in real-time, meaning that changes will be visible much faster, typically just after Google re-crawls and re-indexes a page. This is in stark contrast to Penguin 3.0 (released in October 2014), which led to some websites being de-listed from search engines for months, for ‘black hat’ link building tactics.

Penguin 4.0 devalues spam itself and makes ranking-based adjustments from spam signals. So, rather than affecting the ranking of a whole website, Penguin 4.0 will not employ site-wide penalties and will instead only penalise spam pages.

In a statement, Google said“Webmasters should be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling websites”. This means that genuine webpages using ‘white hat’ SEO will be rewarded and webpages using ‘black hat webspam’ will be penalised.

‘Black hat webspam’ is simply any action that aims to create higher search engine ranking or traffic through means that do not benefit the user. These actions includes keyword stuffing and link schemes, among others.


What Penguin 4.0 Means for your Website

Google Penguin penalties can now be removed much quicker, due to its real-time nature.

There are several actions that businesses now need to take:

  • 1. Complete a backlink audit and make regular link audits in the future.
  • 2. Remove unnatural backlinks gained from link schemes or paid links by asking site owners of poor quality sites to remove your backlinks.
  • 3. Create a disavow file of any unnatural backlinks that you cannot get removed manually and upload it through the Google Search Console.
  • 4. Build more good quality links.
  • 5. Monitor rankings and the effect of the positive actions taken.


Penguin 4.0 is still rolling out and your business’ website will be affected over the next few weeks as Google re-crawls your website. There will be no Penguin 5.0 announcement from Google going forward, as changes will be applied in real-time.


Do you need help with actions required following Penguin 4.0 update?

If you need help with white hat SEO or correcting black hat webspam from a previous webmaster, then Odyssey New Media provide a link analysis and link detox service so you can be assured your website won’t be penalised by the Google Penguin 4.0 algorithm update. Contact Odyssey New Media today at or call us on 0844 500 6911.

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