On September 23, 2016, Google officially announced its release of the Penguin 4.0 updates as a part of the core algorithm. In Google’s Webmaster statement, they said Google relies on 200 different clues including PageRank, keywords and content on your website, newness of content, and your geographic location. Penguin is a signal itself that originated in April 2012.
The Google Penguin update is aimed at de-ranking websites that use spam, keyword stuffing, and linking schemes to boost a websites rank. Such tactics are described as “black hat” SEO. These are essentially loopholes in Google’s algorithms that people have found and exploit to boost rankings. Eventually, Google get’s wise to these tactics and updates such as Penguin send these websites down the results pages. “White hat” search engine optimization in comparison is abiding by Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by optimizing a website’s page load time, optimizing for both mobile and desktop, as well as providing excellent content that is user-friendly. These not only benefit Google as a search engine but also users who are searching for information.
In the Webmaster statement, Google says “Penguin is now real-time.” In the past, Penguin used to be an update that would occur in waves which meant if a site was penalized by this signal, it would have to wait until the next wave of updates for the penalty to be removed (if it was fixed). Real time means this data is refreshed the instant the website is re-crawled by GoogleBot. The statement also said that Penguin is “more granular” now focusing pages and their ranking rather than an entire site. This does not mean entire sites will not get hit by Penguin but it looks as if Google is focusing their efforts to be more specific with what this signal affects.
This update should be great for SEOs and legitimate businesses. If your site was hit by Penguin then an SEO Expert can make the necessary changes to remove the penalty and restore rankings fairly quickly. This also may allow SEO’s to be a little more aggressive knowing this penalty specifically can be removed instantly. Overall Google rankings have been moving much slower in the last six months so this definitely looks like a positive update for SEO.