Updated with a follow-up video on October 3rd 2016:
After a month of extreme algorithm turbulence, Google has finally announced the release of Penguin 4 (nearly 2 years after the last penguin release), their latest spam-fighting core algorithm update.
If you don’t know what Penguin is, it’s Google’s way of catching unnatural links going to your site (backlinks), the goal is to filter out and penalise sites that are spamming the search results using dodgy link-building techniques.
In my previous post I discussed how this month (September 2016) has seen some insanely odd SERP changes, with spammier sites that have unbalanced anchor profiles (high % targeting keywords) actually being boosted… This hasn’t changed after the announcement, but I’ll get to why that is later in this post.
First things first, let’s have a look at the past month’s turbulence.
As you can see, it’s been insane, with rankings jumping around multiple times a day after being rock-solid for months. Check out the SERPwoo snapshot below for my own niche, it covers the first 20 positions (I’m #6), sooooooo much movement!
Looking at the past month, my guess is Google released the update at the start of September but only announced the release a few weeks later.
Now to go back to the higher ranking sites with spammy anchor profiles. As I mentioned in my previous post, this is only temporary. Google is now re-crawling the entire web using the new algorithm change, meaning that the real consequences of Penguin 4 will be felt/seen a few days/weeks from now, which is also when the spammy sites will (most likely) drop off like flies.
What’s so special about this update?
The biggest change is that Penguin is now real-time. In the past, if you got hit by Penguin, you’d work hard on your site’s backlink profile to get the rankings back, but only see most of the results after the next Penguin refresh. Now because it’s real-time, any changes you make in your backlink/anchor profile will be seen much quicker (basically as soon as Google re-crawls the pages involved), this includes the lifting of penalties, but also getting new penalties.
Speaking of penalties & spam, Penguin is now more granular, meaning that instead of a whole site getting hit with a penalty, it could be specific pages, or just keywords/keyword groups. This does make it more difficult to identify these smaller penalties.
Google also won’t announce any future Penguin updates, since it’s real-time now.
That’s about it, keep an eye on your rankings as there’s a lot more turbulence to come!
With a passion for digital marketing and web design (primarily WordPress), Matthew never stops learning! He rather reads up on new marketing strategies than binge-watch the next big NetFlix special.
Check our about page for more info.