Google’s Penguin algorithm has finally been updated again. It’s the fourth major release, making this Penguin 4.0. Google now says Penguin is a real-time signal processed within its core search algorithm.
Google’s algorithms rely on more than 200 unique signals or “clues” to rank a site in search engine result pages. These signals include things like the specific words that appear on websites, the freshness of content, your region and PageRank. One specific signal of the algorithms is called Penguin, which was first launched in 2012.
Here are the key changes you’ll see:
- As per Google webmaster blog “Penguin is now real-time. Historically, the list of sites affected by Penguin was periodically refreshed at the same time. Once a webmaster considerably improved their site and its presence on the internet, many of Google’s algorithms would take that into consideration very fast, but others, like Penguin, needed to be refreshed. With this change, Penguin’s data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we recrawl and reindex a page. It also means we’re not going to comment on future refreshes.”
- Google also mentioned that Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site. Our best interpretation of this statement is that Penguin might impact specific pages on a site, or it might impact sections or wide swaths of a site, while other pages are fine.
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It’s also important to remember that updates like Penguin are just one of more than 200 signals Google use to determine rank.
The last Penguin update, Penguin 3.0, happened on October 17, 2014. Any sites hit by it have waited nearly two years for the chance to be free.
Those long delays are now to be a thing of the past, according to Google. With this latest release, Penguin becomes real-time. As Google recrawls and reindexes pages — which happens constantly — those pages will be assessed by the Penguin filter. Pages will be caught and/or freed by Penguin as part of this regular process
Is Penguin fully live?
This real-time Penguin update is probably not fully live yet. It is now “rolling out,” Google said. Google didn’t tell us how long it may take to roll out, but it won’t take that long, maybe less than a month.
Past Penguin updates
Here’s the rundown on Penguin updates over time, as well as the impact they’ve had on queries, according to Google:
- Penguin 1.0 on April 24, 2012 (impacting ~3.1% of queries)
- Penguin 1.1 on May 26, 2012 (impacting less than 0.1%)
- Penguin 1.2 on October 5, 2012 (impacting ~0.3% of queries)
- Penguin 2.0 on May 22, 2013 (impacting 2.3% of queries)
- Penguin 2.1 on Oct. 4, 2013 (impacting around 1% of queries)
- Penguin 3.0 on October 17, 2014 (impacting around 1% of queries)
- Penguin 4.0 & real-time on September 23, 2016
Penguin 4.0, Google would not give a specific number of the percentage of queries it impacted, mostly because the update is constantly happening and the percentage will constantly be changing.
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