Penguin 4.0 Update now in realtime so get back to SEO

Penguin now a real-time function of the core algorithm

@methodeIt’s been a long time coming, but it finally happened. Penguin 4.0 has been released as a part of the core algorithm. Here is the announcement from Gary Illyes:

What should you do? “Don’t Panic!” If you have had a penalty in the past, this may help you recover. Since it is now it real-time, which means whenever Google crawls and indexes your site, it will also apply the Penguin rules of the algorithm. If you notice you traffic has suddenly while looking at your Analytics, then don’t ignore it. Make sure you are cleaning up any spammy links you may have created while in a momentary lapse of reason. The algorithm will be applied each time your site is crawled, so you can recover quite quickly if done properly.

This update ends a whole truckload of speculation, fear mongering and just plain old waiting for the algorithm to be released. So now we can get back to SEO. Of course any quality SEO work should always follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

A few days before Google announced it, I asked Omi Sido what he thought about Penguin coming. Here are some of his comments.


Amazon Echo has put Google in the corner. Their new product Google Home will be released later this year. It is quite obvious that Google has to concentrate on improved voice search and all algorithms that are related to it.

They say update but I think I was kind of right, this is not a real update, now part of the core algo, as i said earlier their concentration is going RankBrain.

I also asked my friend David Iwanow what made of the whole situation, and I said I was setting up a Penguin 4.0 watch. Here are a few of his comments.

@methodeSo I think people just need to really chill on the daily algorithm speculation, I feel that Google quality team didn’t seem to be in a rush to update the Penguin algorithm as I think they are focused on bigger issues and obviously building it into the core algorithm.  Also with the shift to machine learning they might not have as much manual control over algorithms as they did before RankBrain rolled out.  The SEO industry is focused on Penguin but I see the algorithm as a tattoo that Google has applied to your site, it’s not something that is going to go away with uploading a list of links via the disavow tool.  But Friday Google announced that Penguin like Panda is part of their core algorithm.

I’ve had several personal affiliate domains partly wiped out due to Penguin in the past so it’s not as if I haven’t personally lost out due to these algorithms.  These sites were tests created around expired domains so I accepted it was just a matter of time before it stopped working because it was basically lazy SEO but the advantage is that I learnt the hard way so I could educate clients not to follow down this path no matter how easy it looked.

There is still a heap of low quality domains ranking due to PBNs, Hacked Sites, Malware, Comment Spam and Directories, but there are also a heap of actual small businesses that have a similar link profile so the next Penguin algorithm needs to be able to balance between wiping out the crap but not hurt real websites that just don’t have enough time or budget to do link building right.  I’ve seen links built to clients to mask the link building down for other websites, same as old school link building tactics would be they would link to Wikipedia & Google because they would tell clients that Google would never penalise a page linking to Wikipedia or itself… this link building tactic is still being used.

I have stopped looking on a daily basis what algorithm might be rolling out, I do regularly check clients share of voice (visibility) regularly but I focus mainly on what clicks & impression trends are in Google Search Console or organic traffic in Google Analytics.  The knee-jerk reaction before you actually have any traffic or ranking data needs to stop as it doesn’t help anyone it just places more stress of you, so take a day or two and check your clients data and focus on them, if you are really worried you are probably doing SEO wrong.  It’s important to focus so if there is a shift in gambling keywords and you don’t have any clients in that space you shouldn’t be freaking out and wasting time and energy on how you can reverse engineer the gambling changes other people have reported back to your client in a different vertical.

The other factor about algorithm updates when sites benefit they aren’t going to shout from the rooftops, so if traffic has increased due to Pikachu algorithm just share the good news with your client that you are likely on the right path.  Sure do some analysis to work out what appears to have changed and put a caveat around it that a large spike might see a decline over time but no point wasting time and resources doing a full analysis of the competition on why they might have decreased according SERP changes if there was no change to your clients organic traffic. Stop wasting your time and resources doing analysis of industries that your clients aren’t in as it will be pure speculation as you won’t have access to traffic data to see if the impact was significant.

I did a Twitter survey and of the 221 votes 67% of respondents didn’t think Google algorithm updates impacted them, honestly most people don’t care for algorithm speculation and it causes unnecessary panic and worries for yourself and your clients.

algo survey

So just get back to focusing on your clients and do the best possible SEO for them and stop trying to second guess when Google algorithms are going to hit.  Considering the blood bath most websites experienced last time looking at backlinks most SEOs still haven’t learnt their lessons so shouldn’t be poking the bear so quickly to roll out algorithms like Penguin.

I really can’t think of any better advice possible than to follow what David has said. Let’s get on with the job of doing good quality SEO work, that we know works and delivers growth.

If you are concerned that you may have suffered as a result of this recent update, then please check your analytics, or use a tools such as SEMrush which has a huge database of keywords and also notes about algorithm updates etc. on the timeline.

Penguin 4.0 Watch – Google Algorithm Update 3rd September

After an Algorithm Update on 3rd September, it seemed Penguin 4.0 Update was looming. So I made this video and article to update you all, and try to make sense of the speculation. This was just a few days before Google made the official announcement.

This is the Penguin 4.0 Watch for September 2016, and so a Google algorithm uptight happened. There’s been a lot of chatter on the channels and a lot of the tools are showing this, and all my colleagues are saying this has happened.

The discussion was that there has been two updates. One perhaps earlier in the day on September the second or third. Perhaps this was a local algorithm update. People are saying has affected the local pack results for your local business. And then perhaps later in the day there was some global search fluctuations.

So first noticed on second September, but was there another update last week and perhaps the 13 of September? It looks like it when there’s a lot of fluctuations, but it could be the same Algorithm rolling.

OK so let’s take a look at some of the tools to see where we’ve seen this happening so we’re going to look at also going to look at but let’s just be really clear at this point Google is saying that this is not a penguin

But let’s just be really clear at this point, Google is saying that this is not a Penguin. It’s not Penguin! So we’ve heard from Google, they denied it, they said it’s just a usual update so let’s go and have a look at the tools.

Let’s go and have a look at the tools and see if I can show you what some of the internet weather is like for the SERPS. So here we can see John Mueller who has answered a question specifically to say that “nothing specific sorry we’re always working to improve things”. Now that was a specific question on was this a penguin update? And the answer is No.

John Mueller

However we know that whatever the update was it was pretty big. Here is the first update that’s September second or third and over here is September 13. This is on most cast of course

mozcast september 2016
Lots of valuable information here on Mozcast. But as you can see right across this whole section here the weather is high, the temperature is high.

So we have a look at Algoroo and it can clearly show us under September third there
was a lot of fluctuations in the SERPS, which indicates and algorithm update.
But as you can see here the orange bars there are also up high, so something’s moving, something’s changing.

algoroo sept

Let’s keep a watch on this. We know that Penguin is coming soon, and we don’t know how soon. So we’re just going to keep doing the best we can.

No doubt there’s been Google algorithm update and some people usually get scared when they hear this. So what to do? First thing

First thing… Don’t panic! But make sure you’re following google webmaster guidelines. You know in most cases most businesses who are following Webmaster guidelines rarely get negative effects from these Google algorithm updates.

However if you’ve lost any rankings or any traffic, get it checked out ASAP to see if you have been penalized by this
algorithm update. Of course in the past if you had any dodgy backlinks and spammy links created, or any any sort of work done on your site that may not comply with the Google webmaster guidelines. Then it’s possible you may receive a penalty from this update as it rolls out. So the next thing to think

So the next thing to think about is that Penguin for is pending. Google keeps saying that they’re ready with the updates now and they are writing the documentation. So when this will happen we just don’t know for sure. So what can we do

So what can we do? Cleanup links now before it’s released. Spent some time cleaning up the links. Most of all let’s let’s keep our eyes open, and keep a watch on the Google algorithm.

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