Google made an official statement on September 23rd, 2016 to announce Google Penguin 4.0. Penguin is now part of Google’s core algorithm, and we’ve been waiting years for this announcement!
We’ll be comparing Old Penguin (1.0-3.0) to New Penguin (4.0+). There have been years of frustration with Old Penguin. Finally, we can say cheerio to any pain caused by the short-legged flightless bird with webbed feet.
Google Penguin 4.0 key differences
Old Penguin was slow, mean, loud and dramatic. New penguin isn’t a fan of drama or announcements, is fast and forgiving.
Sluggish vs. real-time
Old Penguin used to run intermittently. Meaning Google would run and release the algorithm every few months.
Old Penguin would say, “Thanks, I can see that you have done everything to fix any wrongs. But, you will now have to wait for my next unannounced update. Mwahahaha!”
Fear and frustration of Old Penguin came from these infrequent updates. Waiting months upon end to recover from penalties had significant impacts on advertisers and businesses. Many businesses had to switch to paid focused strategies to keep their businesses running.
The last we saw Old Penguin was back in October 2014 in the form of Penguin 3.0.
Since Old Penguin was frozen, Google Penguin 4.0 has been slowly incubating. New Penguin hatched in September 2016. With New Penguin, we no longer have to wait for an update for a penalty to disappear or arise. As soon as Google crawls and indexes a page, New Penguin’s data will refresh in real-time.
Sites will no longer have to wait months and years to be free from Penguin penalties!
Google declared that there will be no further public comments from New Penguin.
Months vs. days for recoveries
We will no longer have to wait months to recover from Old Penguin. We will not be able to heal instantly. But, we’re talking hours or days with New Penguin. So, legitimate marketers trying to tackle a penguin penalty will now get a speedy reward for their efforts.
Sitewide damage vs. granular precision
Even if only a few pages of a site were deserving of a penalty, Old Penguin would scold the whole domain! So, if some pages on the site had some bad links pointing towards it, Old Penguin would say “Okay, I am sinking the whole site!”.
While Old Penguin would punish entire sites, New Penguin is kinder. New Penguin gets more granular and only devalues links and their target pages rather than the whole site.
More thorough and regular analysis is needed to pinpoint SEO issues with New Penguin’s granular nature. Page and keyword level issues will become more common.
A strict vs. lenient disavow process
The Google Disavow tool lets you ask Google not to count links that are pointing towards your site.
But, with Old Penguin, it wasn’t as simple as just adding links to your text file and asking Google to ignore them. Old Penguin wanted us to contact those sites who owned the bad links. We had to ask these sites to take bad links down before expecting Google to jump in. This process became very manual for advertisers and Google.
New Penguin devalues spammy links. This change does make the disavow file less critical. But, we should still use the disavow tool.
Penguin obsession vs. best practices
Over the years, we became obsessed with Old Penguin. Penguin penalties were harsh and significant, which led to search marketers spending too much time waiting for the next update.
Google Penguin 4.0 is the last penguin update announcement. With New Penguin, we can now concentrate on best practices and monitor our organic traffic levels rather than the announcements.
Google Penguin 4.0+
Life after Google Penguin 4.0 should be a lot simpler and pleasant for legitimate search marketers. New Penguin should allow those of us who have not been spamming to move up in the rankings. Those bending the rules will have to play nice.
Set up processes so that you can constantly monitor your ranking positions, conduct regular backlink audits and update your disavow file when needed.