Google’s Penguin Algorithm, first launched in 2012, which penalises sites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines – particularly those sites that boost their ranking by manipulating the number of inbound links – has had a long-awaited update.
Version 4.0, released last week, will now be part of Google’s core algorithm and features two new major improvements: real-time updates and a more granular approach to penalisation.
In the previous version, released in 2014, updates to sites affected by Penguin penalisation would be periodically refreshed, meaning webmasters would have to wait for that process to occur before having their sites reindexed.
Version 4.0 offers real-time updates, meaning that once a site has taken the necessary steps to improve its structure and links, Google and Penguin will re-index the site almost immediately.
Page or section specific ranking rather than whole site
The second new feature takes a more granular approach to the qualitative process – rather than penalise an entire site for infringements on just a few pages or single sections, Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.
Google uses around 200 unique signals to assess and index a site, and while Penguin v3.0 impacted around 1% of all Google search queries, the new update is likely to increase that number significantly.