Google will be releasing Penguin 4.0 very soon, this is the biggest Penguin update for some time and will mean big changes to SEO and website link profiles.
What are Penguin updates
Penguin, is the name of the algorithm updates that target websites with spammy looking links, these are links that appear to have been created purely for SEO and have no benefit to internet users.
The first Penguin update was released in April 2012 and was a game changer in terms of SEO. Link building used to be the main focus of cheap SEO and links were purchased from sites that were often set up only to provide SEO links to SEO buyers. This first update hit a lot of businesses hard, they were often removed from Google’s index and it took a lot of hard work removing these spammy looking links to get SEO traffic back.
SEO’s had to evolve as it was no longer in a clients best interests to just buy links, links are still an important ranking factor, but link acquisition needed to be much more marketing focused and organic.
Google rolls these updates out sporadically but we have been waiting a long time ( 2 years) for the latest updates to Penguin, this is due to improvements Google is making to the Penguin algorithm.
Penguin 4.0 – what is different?
Google are always very tight lipped about updates and what they entail, however Penguin 4.0 has been long anticipated as it is said to update in real time. Currently Penguin updates very infrequently, this means that black hat SEO’s can still do churn and burn sites, spamming the links knowing that it will take some time for Google to update and penalise the sites. If Penguin 4.0 has a constant update then as soon as a link has been crawled and identified as spammy the site will be seen to lose trust, if Google crawls a high number of links that are deemed to be spammy then they will undoubtedly penalise the site that is being linked to.
What does this mean for SEO post Penguin 4.0?
Many SEO’s are very cautious about link building, they use creative techniques to acquire links, the links they build are much better from a marketing perspective as they are more relevant and can often drive a significant amount of traffic and sales to a website therefore are beneficial commercially as well as for trust in the search engines.
However spammy links can occur and there are black hat SEO’s who will use negative SEO and point a large number of bad links to a competitors website to purposely get them penalised. These penalties are currently very infrequent and with the google grapevine of updates it gives many SEO’s the chance to audit links prior to an update.
If Penguin 4.0 is the start of ‘real time’ updates then this means SEO’s will need to be more vigilant with link monitoring and link acquisition. At Falkon Digital we monitor links regularly, however we are currently doing link audits and updating disavow files of all our SEO clients to ensure their link profiles are as close to effect as possible before 4.0 is released (which could be any day now).