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New Algorithm Alert: What you Need to Know About Penguin 4.0


penguin talk by moranagon

Penguin is back. No, they haven’t released a 43rd Madagascar movie; I’m talking about an update to one of Google’s most seismic ever algorithm updates: The Penguin Update.

What is the Penguin Update?

The Penguin Update is aimed at punishing websites that are benefitting in the search results by virtue of acquiring links that violate Google’s webspam guidelines. These links include paid-for links, link networks, external sitewide links, link exchanges, blog comments and irrelevant directory submissions.


On Friday, Google announced it had added a penguin element to its core algorithm. The core algorithm is more or less stable and is updated in real-time, meaning Penguin will now run continually as opposed to sporadically over time.


Previously, offending sites would only be punished when an update occurred. Now, however, any new spam activity will be likely caught by Google, leading to a penalty and subsequent traffic drop. Sites that had been penalised by previous penguin updates also had to wait for the next iteration to be redeemed by Google (sites hit by the last update in 2014 have waited nearly two years for the chance at recovery). Now, though, websites will benefit from a near instant reprisal thanks to the new solution.

Penguin Updates over Time

We’ve included a summary penguin update timeline including Google’s estimated impact of each.


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

Preparing for Penguin 4.0

All business owners should be fully aware of the tactics being used within their marketing departments to ensure they are not at risk of a Google penalty. If you’re concerned about your level of risk, we’ll happily provide a free snapshot of your link profile to help put your mind at ease. Get in touch today.