Penguin 4.0 – The Effects and the Aftermath
By aipl in SEO
Ever wonder how easy it is for Google to retrieve answers to the questions you type on its search engine? Well, the truth is, Google has a lot of help from algorithms and hundreds of signals just to find specific answers or matches to the keywords you entered. Samples of these signals are page rank, content, region, and words that appear on various websites. Penguin, a signal that was launched back in 2012, finally released an update past September 2016. Now it has become a part of Google’s core algorithm.
The main purpose of the Penguin update is to process websites that had an unnatural way of acquiring links just to improve their rankings. A lot of websites were affected when the Penguin update was rolled out, causing them to receive penalties from Google. As an aftermath, these websites withdrew from the search. Because of this, different strategies had to be implemented in building links for websites.
About Penguin 4.0 –
The recent update, called the Penguin 4.0, however, penalizes websites that manipulate rankings on search engines through black-hat link schemes. Other noticeable changes are:
- Penguin 4.0 is now real-time. Back in the day, any site affected by Penguin had to be refreshed from time to time. Whenever a webmaster made some changes or improvements on their site, most of Google’s algorithms were quick to pick up these alterations, but not Penguin. Penguin needed to be informed for it to take note of the changes. Since Penguin 4.0’s data is refreshed in real-time, changes are immediately visible. As a matter of fact, one can already take note of these changes once the pages are reindexed or recrawled.
- Penguin 4.0 algorithm is granular, meaning, that it concentrates only on specific or offending pages that toxic links are pointing to and not the whole website. It’s quite tricky to keep track of micro-penalties and for this reason, it’s crucial that you audit your website’s subdomains and pages regularly.
So, how will Penguin 4.0’s key features impact the works of SEO specialists? Well for one thing, since all countries received the update at the same time, that means all of the websites will experience the same impact, regardless of their location. Since Penguin 4.0 is now real-time, it becomes so much easier and faster for SEO specialists to recover or get out of a Google penalty. Once the webmaster tweaks the website and gets rid of toxic links, positive results will be seen after Google recrawls the pages of the website.
How to Benefit from Penguin 4.0 –
One of the issues that SEO specialists have with Penguin is that it does not inform them if their website received a Google penalty. They can only make assumptions that their website was penalized by elements such as declined keywords or a decrease in organic traffic. While the algorithm enables SEO specialists to easily see the aftermath of their actions, this can also work against them at some point. Increased speed in the recovery process can also mean the same thing when it comes to penalization.
These days, it’s difficult to separate the real SEOs from the fake ones but thanks to Penguin 4.0, doing that will be a piece of cake. Any SEO that uses dirty tactics like black hat SEO strategies to boost their clients’ ranking will die out sooner than expected because Penguin 4.0 will not grant them access. This will teach the fake SEOs that organic rankings have no bearing when bad practices are being implemented. If they want their website to maintain a good standing, then they need to do things properly from the very beginning.
Ways to Save Your Website from Penguin 4.0 –
If your website has spammy or low-quality backlinks, make sure that you get rid of them immediately. Backlinks have a positive or negative effect on your website’s overall search rankings that’s why you need to dispose of the low-quality ones because it will send your site all the way down to the bottom. Ensure that the site only has links from trusted and good quality websites. To do this, you need to perform a backlink audit.
You can also check if your website is a candidate for Google penalty by performing anchor text distribution. One way to do this is by making sure that the backlinks contain anchor texts which contain the name of your website. URL, long tail keywords, and brand should be indicated in the external links, instead of just relying on exact match keywords since those face drops during search rankings. If the SEO strategy of your website makes use of certain keywords that are also being used by other websites linked to you, you’re at risk of being tagged as “spammy” by Google. To solve this problem, contact the SEO specialist of the linking website and ask them to do some changes in the anchor text.
Penguin 4.0 does not only target backlinks; it also targets internal links. This is one of the reasons why you need to analyze these links so you can protect your website from a Google penalty. You need to ensure that there are no repetitions in the links and keywords. Google crawlers follow hyperlinks to each page on the website. These crawlers get confused when there are too many hyperlinks and when this happens, they lose the ability to rank your website properly.
While marketers and SEO specialists dream of getting an increase in the number of backlinks that lead people to their site, any unusual increase must be seen as a red flag and should be dealt with at the soonest possible time. Study the previous data and look at the relationship between the number of referring pages and domains. If there are drastic changes in the numbers during a short period of time, this will be tagged by Google as suspicious activity.
Keep an eye on your competitors and see if they are being penalized by Penguin 4.0. Study those that are penalized and think of ways to spare yourself from that situation.
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