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Google confirms new algorithm update: Penguin 4.0

Posted: September 27th 2016

Every search made on Google is ran through hundreds of algorithms in order for the best and most accurate results to be brought to the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). One of the main algorithms used by Google is called Penguin and on Friday 23rd September, Google’s Gary Illyes announced its brand new update: Penguin 4.0.

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What is Penguin?

Penguin is an algorithm which crawls websites and hunts down inorganic external links – links that have been made purely for the sake of improving rankings and that have no relevance to the page in question. This is known as ‘black hat SEO’. These links are unimportant to Google and they do not indicate that the user’s experience will be improved, so why should they have an impact the on the ranking of the page?

How does the Penguin 4.0 update compare to Penguin 3.0?

Penguin 3.0 just looked at unrelated links and devalued them so they could not help the page increase its rankings, but Penguin 4.0 now deems them ‘toxic’ to the website. If Penguin finds irrelevant links and deems them ‘toxic’, they need to be removed and disavowed before the page can return to normal and continue to reach its full potential.

Penguin 4.0 will be the last ever update of Penguin, as it runs in real-time so it won’t need to refresh. It will be completely set into the core ranking systems at Google, cementing it as a key aspect of every search made.

When will Penguin 4.0 be live?

It takes a while for most updates to fully roll out, so although Penguin 4.0 is in motion, it is expected to take another few weeks to be fully live. If your website is regularly updated and Google's algorithms crawl it very frequently, it is likely that Penguin 4.0 will become apparent more quickly than if your website is rarely visited by Google.

How will the update affect SEO?

It is important to always build links that are relevant and genuine to push your website, all the while staying true to the topic. If your SEO is carried out properly, using ‘white hat SEO’ practices, you won’t need the irrelevant links that Penguin tracks down and penalises, so it shouldn’t affect how you work.

Penguin 4.0 is here to further reinforce the threats posed when carrying out ‘black hat SEO’. To achieve the most positive results for your website, you need to abide by the rules, finding genuinely valuable and interesting links for your page and not just building links for the sake of them being there.

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Have you got any more questions about SEO or the algorithms Google have in place? Get in touch and speak to a member of the team, or leave us a message in the comments below.

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