Earlier today Google released an official blog post confirming that Penguin 4.0 has been released, and it is now part of the core algorithm.

We’ve been expecting this update for many months now. It is the first major Google update in over 2 years. A lot of us saw this coming, as we’ve been getting copious amounts of emails from our customers about ranking shifts throughout the last few days.

The last Penguin Update occurred on October 17, 2014 and caused a lot of drama in the webmaster community, as did the other Penguin updates before that.

And for those non-savvy readers out there: Penguin is the Google update that penalizes websites that have been involved in link or backlink schemes such as:

  • buying backlinks from services
  • linking to yourself
  • using private blog networks aka PBN’s
  • building mass links such as blog comments or social bookmarks
  • there are many more examples

From what we can see, Penguin 4.0 is still rolling out. In other Penguin updates, it has taken days if not weeks to fully roll out, so if you are worried about your rankings just know that Google is currently “dancing” i.e. adjusting and could take some time to stabilize. This could be good for some webmasters or bad for others.

The biggest piece of news from this update is that this version of Google Penguin is real time. What does this mean? 2 key points:

  1. Google will now be able to penalize websites in ‘real time’ rather than having to wait months, or years to roll out
  2. If you have been penalized, you no longer have to wait months, or years to recover

Another interesting part of this update that I didn’t see coming, was this:

Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how exactly that is going to play out yet, but I can make a few guesses. I suppose we will see how it manifests as the weeks turn into months.

If this update does convert this algo update to a ‘real time’ update, this could be the end of Google Penguin updates and news. No longer will there be Google Penguin drama on Twitter anytime there is a shift in rankings etc. But don’t worry, there is still Google Panda and a slew of other algorithmic updates to worry about.

I’m going to update this post a few times over the weekend as I hear more news, until then if you have any info for us or something you’d like to add please don’t hesitate to hit us up!