What Exactly Is Google Penguin And How Does It Work?
For professionals whose work lies in the field of SEO, the name “Google Penguin” sparks no questioning look. But an introduction is necessary for the uninitiated. It is an algorithm that had been designed with the aim to deter the practice of link spamming. Penguin was introduced by Google way back in April 2012 with the aim to combat web spam. It imposed heavy penalties on those sites whose SERP-ranking tactics involved using SEO techniques classified by Google as “Black Hat”. Some of those tactics involve things like cloaking, content duplicity, keyword stuffing etc.
Things Which Have Changed in Penguin 4.0
Ever since the time it was introduced, Google Penguin has undergone several versions of updates, all of which were required to promote high-quality content and stops any users from practicing link building in an unethical manner. In that area, Penguin 4.0 has introduced certain major changes which are as follows:
• Now, Penguin is seen to be running in real-time.
• The site-wide negative ranking factor no longer exists or is relevant as far as Penguin is concerned.
Google used to run Penguin only intermittently (in other words, Google would run this algorithm just once every two or three months); usually, an erring person would be slapped a penalty; or, the penalty would be lifted each time the algorithm is refreshed. Therefore, even if a website that has been penalized removes the offending links the next day (after they received a penalty), they might have to wait for months before that penalty is finally lifted.
Also, before all these updates took place, the entire website with an erring page would fall under the ambit of the penalty imposed by Penguin. The domain of the website in question would be made to rocket down through the result pages even if most of your website was spam-free. Still worse, this penalty would be maintained until the refreshing of Penguin (which is a process which might take months) even if you had rectified the problem immediately after the penalty was received.
Penguin 4.0, however, has introduced a change to all this. The updated version of Penguin refreshes in real-time, which essentially means that site penalties are lifted or incurred when Google uses its crawlers to re-index a page. To explain in other terms, creation of spam links could severely affect your SERP rankings the next day after you do the deed, but you would no longer wait long for that penalty to be removed.
With the latest update, there is the presence of a more granular quality to Penguin. This essentially means that Google will now punish individual pages but not the website as a whole. If Penguin happens to detect web spam on your website, then it might bury the bad page in the SERPs. However but the rest of your domain still has the potential to rank well.
The Effects of Penguin 4.0 on Your Website:
If you have read this far, then you already are aware the effects of a Penguin update would be felt immediately in the SEO community: “Black Hat” SEO is heavily punished; while websites that have had their penalties lifted, see resurgence in the ranks. However, this latest update was not felt by most SEO specialists and webmasters until a few days after it was being rolled out by Google.
According to the industry experts, SEOs started to witness a SERP flux about almost three to five days after the update had been done. A poll was conducted to this effect; and it was found that almost 24-28% of them had been affected by the new introductions to Penguin updates. The effects were not evenly distributed; since some people felt the heat creep up on them at a much later date compared to the others. A majority of the websites that had been affected enjoyed a slight boost when it came to rankings, and only a very limited number of sites actually felt the penalties heaped upon them.
What we can gather from this is that the latest Penguin update is absolutely beneficial websites which don’t spam. Actually, as a result of this update, the rankings are more likely to improve the rank of websites that make genuine, honest-seeming links and focus on upping the quality of their content.
Case studies done by experts, testify to this. They list a lot of websites which have seemingly been suppressed and buried deep in the realm of internet marketing, often for years (a few of those websites are in SERP-dormancy ever since Penguin was first launched in 2012). Those websites are finally getting freed of the yoke that their penalties impose on them. To cite an example, an e-commerce store which had been previously subjected to penalization is now ranking 10th for a keyword for which they’d been ranked at 56 about five years ago.
In conclusion, we could end by hoping that the Penguin update would affect your website’s ranking only in a positive manner. This update promises to be advantageous in ways more than one.