Google has finally rolled out its Penguin 4.0 update, which has been designed to work in real-time.
It’s been quite some time without an update from the Penguin (the update that slaps down websites with dodgy backlinks), but for all this time it has been one of the most feared updates. With Panda, you had some degree of control over the content you had on your site, and if you had a lot of thin and useless pages, you could just combine them, or just remove them completely. Penguin on the other hand has been far more unpredictable. It was always more difficult to tell whether your backlink profile would be considered “spammy”, even if you considered it not.
- Was reciprocating a genuine link to a related site spammy?
- Maybe …
- What was the purpose of the link?
- Did it drive any traffic?
- Was exchange of money involved?
- Was it part of a network?
In most cases it would be clear, heaps of profile links, or blog comments from pretend blogs, but quite often there would be genuine links that would somehow fall foul. The issue many people had was that Google’s guidance was flimsy and secretive, and despite having good intentions those who didn’t know much better would get hit. After all, the internet is essentially all about link sharing.
When the Penguin update came, it turned the world of SEO and web marketing upside down. Millions of sites were hit, fairly and unfairly. There was even a backlash, where users complained that Google was wrecking their businesses but Google stayed steadfast in its commitment to kill spam, and those cheating the system. In hindsight it was the right thing to do, but their approach could have been a little more transparent.
Fast-forward a couple of years since the last update and here we are again, a new Penguin update, 4.0 to be exact.
Having reviewed a few articles regarding the impact of Penguin 4.0 the consensus is that the impact has been low. So here’s the question.
Is the impact low because people stopped building spam links, or has it been low impact because the update wasn’t particularly aggressive?
One separating factor in this update is that Penguin has been programmed to work in real-time, that is to say, that Google will update its ‘opinion’ of your website and so called spammyness every time your links are crawled. This is useful because it means at least you’ll know much more quickly if the work you’re doing to remove spammy links is actually helping, but equally, it will also hit you sooner if you are still building spammy links.
Want to know how Penguin has affected you?
If you suspect you have been affected by Penguin than get in contact with us at Michael Bell One and we will be happy to review your website and make recommendations for you.