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Well here we are, some two years after the last update, Penguin 4 has finally been released! Google have at last officially announced that the latest update to its Penguin series has indeed gone live but what has this change brought about? This is what Google had to say;

With this change, penguin’s data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we re-crawl and re-index a page”.

Google went on to say;

 “Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site”.

So with this announcement there are a few things to understand. The first and the most important thing for us all is that Penguin will now be running in ‘real time’ this includes the updating of their records which importantly means we will not have to worry that any mistakes we make may not be picked up for some time – in fact years as we can see with the length of time it has taken for this update to be pushed live.

The original Penguin algorithm update went live on 24th April 2012. It enabled Google’s ability to determine which sites had breached their webmaster guidelines however, if you fell foul to this vicious animal then any fix you made would not be picked up until the algorithm was re run!

When you consider that Google’s last crawl titled Penguin 3.0 was released on 17th October 2014, then you get an idea of the problem for webmasters. If your site was penalised then your site would remain penalised for many months even if it had been improved. It could therefore take months for any improvement to show, and so webmasters had difficulty trying to recover.

The next thing to understand is that this update is more concentrated, and will begin to affect individual pages rather than site wide issues. Again a positive move from Google so one issue on one page will not draw down the whole site!

This will mean that all the positive work our webmasters complete for us to make our code and content authoritative and unique may now actually show and so any issues we may have had in the past will be overcome – assuming we action things correctly!

One really positive point here is that we will no longer have to worry about the next release of Penguin, it is now constantly running and therefore affecting us in real time!

There is a nice tool available from FE International that has been brought to my attention. This shows your sites traffic and each update so it is therefore possible to see if you have indeed been affected. It may be a good place to start! https://feinternational.com/website-penalty-indicator/

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