Last Friday we shared some big news with SEOs all over the world: Google has officially announced the release of its Penguin Update 4.0. Penguin now becomes part of the core Google algorithm and runs in real time.
Penguin 4.0 will affect the work of SEO specialists:
- Penguin is real-time now. This implies that any page’s rankings many change each time Google updates the information about this page and about pages linking to it. So, both the positive and negative impacts of your actions will become noticeable faster.
- Penguin 4.0 was released for all countries and languages at the same time. This means that all websites will experience the same impact independent of their location; the rules are the same for everyone.
- The real-time algorithm allows you to recover from a Google penalty faster. If your site is penalized and your webmaster does a good job improving it and removing harmful links, you’ll see positive results sooner, right after Google re-crawls your website’s pages.
- Penguin is a part of Google’s core algorithm, not a separate filter. That’s why we’ve seen the last official Google announcement about the update. Now you’ll need to continuously monitor your backlink profile.
- Penguin is becoming more granular. The algorithm is now focused on the specific pages toxic links are pointing to, rather than on the whole websites. Such micro-penalties are more difficult to track, which is why it is now essential to audit all important subdomains and specific pages of your website on a regular basis.
How to benefit from Penguin 4.0?
Penguin is so dangerous is because you will never be informed if your website is penalized. The recovery process becomes faster, but so does the penalization process. Here is what you can do to protect your website from unexpected drops in rankings:
- Keep your backlink profile healthy and clean. Make a habit of regularly checking new and lost backlinks, their value and quality, and handling the suspicious ones.
- Constantly monitor your positions in SERPs. Set up regular email alerts to stay informed of any position changes. Make sure you’re tracking not only keywords your homepage is ranking for, but also keywords for all significant subdivisions. Tom Clark suggests “comparing keyword rankings and investigating which keywords have taken a sudden drop in their position.”
- Set up properties in Google Search Console for each important subdomain or subpath and update your disavow file as needed. You can use SEMrush Backlink Audit tool to easily and properly format disavow files.
- Conduct a deep backlink audit of your entire website. Because the new Penguin takes a granular approach, it is essential to audit backlinks for each important subdomain and subdivision of your website (for example, conduct separate audit for each of different language version of your website).
Finally, Penguin’s “real-time” feature implies that you can recover from penalty quicker. The new update allows you to conduct various experiments with a reduced cost of error, as long as you are competent and careful. It also raises the possibility of sites being rewarded almost instantly for building their reputation the right way, just as the spectre of punitive action has now become ever-present for those who transgress.