Google recently had its latest roll out – Google Penguin 4.0 is changing the game when it comes to backlinks and SEO. Here’s everything you need to know.
If you’ve been in the SEO business for a while, you’ll know that Google is constantly tweaking their search engine algorithm. This means that to stay current in the world of online marketing, you have to keep up with the Googles. Today, we’d like to announce the emergence of Google Penguin 4.0, Google’s newest enhancement of their search engine algorithm.
It’s been two years since the last major update to Penguin, and since that update, websites found themselves with penalties because of spammy backlinks that didn’t link to quality content. Some of those penalties have only just recently been lifted.
With the new Google Penguin 4.0 update, websites will recover faster from penalties. Penguin has gone real-time, meaning your website will recover as soon as you fix what Penguin found wrong.
1. Google Penguin 4.0: What is it?
Before we talk about backlinks and how the update affects them, let’s talk about what Penguin actually is.
If you haven’t already guessed, Penguin is a filter designed to catch websites that use spammy techniques in their search engine optimization. Things like misleading links, duplicate content, and spammy links in the comments section. (Never read the comments section, my son.) These techniques are called “Black Hat SEO” because they are aggressive and care only about self-gain like the black-hatted cowboys of the spaghetti western.
Penguin more than anything goes after websites that use spammy backlinks. And previous iterations of the filter required Google to manually reset any and all offenders’ records before they could recover from a penalty. This could take a few weeks to a couple years.
As mentioned above, the update has fixed that particular problem.
2. Google Penguin 4.0: What’s New
The announcement came on September 23 from the Webmaster blog of Google itself. And we’ve mentioned one of the changes already, the fact that Penguin is now in real-time. Your rankings may change at any time, and you will notice the reactions to your own website changes faster.
Not only will this be a positive for those who wish to stay in the light of white-hat SEO practices, it will also make using black-hat techniques riskier.
Penguin is now a part of the actual algorithm that crawls websites periodically and ranks your site. This basically means that Google will no longer make announcements about their Penguin updates because the updates will be gradual and incremental.
Previously, when Google penalized you through Penguin, you would find your whole website stuck in a lower ranking limbo across the board. With the new update, Google will be more granular in its judgment, meaning pages or categories within a site might be affected, but the rest of the site could still gain higher SERP rankings.
Lastly, it’s all the same for everyone in every country and in every language at the exact same time. Equality for all in the kingdom of Google.
3. Google Penguin 4.0: The Link Back to Backlinks
So what does this mean for back links? Well, for starters, they’re still important. As Google’s own Matt Cutts confirmed, Google’s search results just wouldn’t be quality without factoring backlinks into the algorithm.
But then John Mueller warned that it wasn’t just about backlinks. He said, “So that you are really sure that your content kind of stands on its own and make it possible for other people, of course, to link to your content. Make it easy, maybe, put a little widget on your page, if you like this, this is how you can link to it.”
So, the focus really should be on quality content people want to reference in their own content. If you think about it, when you’re doing research and you’ve found some really quality bit of information for an article, you’re going to want to reference back to it. This is what Mueller is talking about.
So, if backlinks are still important, then they could still get you penalized through the Penguin/Google Algorithm. How, then, do you keep your website safe from unexpected drops in SERP rankings?
Don’t let a day go by that you don’t check on your SERP rankings. Set up email alerts for yourself. And now that Penguin is more granular, don’t just check overall site keywords, break it down by section or page.
Rush to it
You need to audit your backlinks yourself to catch suspicious links before Google does. The SEMrush Backlink Audit Tool is an excellent way to keep up to date on your most linked pages while analyzing anchor texts and working off toxic links.
This will keep your backlink profile quality and exceedingly healthy.
4. Google Penguin 4.0: The Future
It is unclear exactly what the update spells for the future of SEO and link building. There will always be people out there wanting to test the boundaries of what they can manipulate and how they could cheat.
Some speculate that the Penguin algorithm might not even factor in spam links anymore despite what Google might have said. This would make it much harder to figure out what Google’s algorithm is actually doing and make it much harder to figure out where the boundaries lie for black hat SEO wheelers and dealers.
And since Google will no longer announce the major changes in their Penguin filter, it will be interesting to see what grey-hat methods SEO driven companies come up with to test the incrementally changing Google algorithm.
Conclusion: It’s All Good
Change can be exciting, fun, and scary all at once. A mixed bag of interlocking insights and emotions. But we see this as a positive change for the SEO world.
If companies still want to push the boundaries, then it’s at their own risk. The new algorithm will push well-meaning companies to continue to create quality content that people want to reference and link back to.
The real-time model of crawling and ranking will be a blessing to those who spent the past year or two down in the dredges of penalization because of one or two mistakes. And now the cost of making a mistake or two will be much less as time is no longer a factor.
Now go to it, webmaster, build beautiful, quality content knowing you have it in the bag with backlinks in Google Penguin 4.0.
Owner and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry. With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.
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Located in the heart of the Emerald Coast - Destin, FL, founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization / and PR campaigns, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry.
With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.