After almost two years, Google have released an update to their Penguin algorithm.  Coined Penguin 4.0, Google has released a statement saying that this will be the last update of its kind as the update now operates with its core search engine ranking algorithm in real time.  But what does this mean for you, and could this latest update harm your business?

Real Time Updates Should Be Better for Everyone

When Penguin 3.0 was released in October 2014, many website owners found that their sites had been demoted or even delisted from the search engine results pages.  The reasons for this were many had “black hat” link building tactics in the past or poor quality, irrelevant backlinks.

Some sites affected by this penalty had to wait for almost two years to regain lost ground, whilst others took steps to remove (disavow) the ‘bad’ links and asked Google to reconsider them – a process which often took several months.

With Penguin 4.0, these long delays should be a thing of the past.  Website owners who make changes to their sites to ensure they meet the Google Webmaster guidelines will be freed by Penguin as part of the new re-crawling and re-indexing process.  This is good news for a lot of people!

Penguin 4.0 Won’t Inflict Site-wide Penalties

Another issue with Penguin 3.0 was site-wide penalties, which meant that even if only one page on your website failed to meet the quality parameters, the entire website could be penalised by Google!  Penguin 4.0 has been designed to only penalise specific offending webpages and not the entire websites, which again is good news for webmasters and business owners.  Provided the majority of your web pages are fine, these will be unaffected by the update, whilst those with issues will be penalised until the offending issues are fixed.

Penguin 4.0 is Still Rolling Out

Although Penguin 4.0 has been announced, the update is still rolling out and it’s likely that we will see some marked shifts in search engine rankings over the next couple of weeks until it beds down.  The amount of changes you can expect will be determined by how influential your site is for the searched keyword phrase, and also how often Google crawls your site. If Google visits your website often you may find the update rolls out more quickly on your site than it does on those sites it crawls more infrequently.

There Won’t Be a Penguin 5.0

If Google do decide to go ahead and release another Penguin update, we are not likely to be told about it by them. Google have stated that this is the last Penguin update they will be releasing.

What Do You Need to Do?

The last Penguin updates affected less than 1% of sites worldwide, so hopefully you won’t see any major negative changes to your search engine position as a result of this Penguin 4.0 update. However, if you do notice anything you are unsure about, or require any help assessing your backlink profile, please feel free to get in touch with us for help.

If you haven’t been keeping an eye on your link profile, you may have a few issues to sort out.  The good news is that most problems can be fixed by a backlink clean-up and detox.  Any backlinks from poor quality or irrelevant sites should be removed by initially mailing the site owners and if no response use the Google Disavow tool where required.

If you would like to discuss this, or any aspect of Search Engine Optimisation, please leave a comment below, email us at or give us a call on 01293 822755

Chris Griffin
Chris Griffin
Chris has been a Digital Marketing Consultant since 2005. Since 2007 he has specialised in Search Engine Marketing, both Paid Search and Organic SEO. He has an excellent record of helping businesses of all sizes, both in the UK and overseas, to achieve their online marketing goals.

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