As you’re no doubt aware, Google finally rolled out its Google 4.0 algorithm update at the end of last week.
Penguin is now part of Google’s core algorithm, penalising websites that use various black-hat link schemes to manipulate search rankings.
Other important changes include:
Penguin data is refreshed in real time, so any changes will be made as soon as the affected page has been recrawled and reindexed.
Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking of the offending page, rather than affecting the whole site.
So how do these changes affect actual SEO practitioners? I asked a panel of experts and SEW contributors their views on Penguin 4.0, including:
Gerald Murphy, Client Service Manager at EMEA at BrightEdge
Kevin Gibbons, Managing Director at Blue Glass
Nikolay Stoyanov, freelance SEO consultant at niksto.com
Do you think the new version of Penguin is fairer? Do you think it’s an adequate deterrent when it comes to spammy link-building?
Kevin Gibbons: Yes, being realtime helps to set expectations as you won’t have to wait weeks or months for the next algorithm refresh to assess your link removals.
Of course Google’s algorithm is always a moving target – but it is becoming harder to be manipulated at scale. In some verticals it can even be a game of whoever doesn’t have the worst backlinks might win. Perhaps having a new domain with no link reputation isn’t a bad starting point any more!
Gerald Murphy: I think the algorithm is fairer. Think about it, you will be awarded for great content, instantly. I also think that, with the rise of AI, Google will soon be able to understand links more. A flower shop on Valentines Day, for example, will get away with more spam-like links but this won’t be the case in September. As links will be linked with behaviours.
Nikolay Stoyanov: Yes, I think that the real-time version of the Penguin algorithm will be fairer and will play a very positive role for the whole SEO community.
Google Penguin is now a part of the core algorithm and every change (either a negative or positive one) will happen very quickly (maybe not instantly but on a daily or weekly basis). After more than 700 days of waiting we can finally rest assured that whatever SEO mistakes we make we will be able to quickly fix afterwards.