Friday, September 23, 2016

The Long-Anticipated Real-Time Penguin Is Live

The Long-Anticipated Real-Time Penguin Is Live was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Editor’s note: We’re updating this post as we get more news and comments.

Big news in the world of search this morning. Google released a major update to its link analyzing algorithm, Penguin, today. This latest update is the long-anticipated upgrade that will help sites previously penalized by Penguin get out from under the SEO shadow of spammy paid links.

If you’re an SEO services or penalty assessment client of Bruce Clay, Inc., expect to hear from your analyst with a Penguin Update impact report ASAP.

The announcement was made by Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes this morning on the Google Webmaster Blog.

As the fourth significant enhancement since its initial launch in 2012, Penguin 4.0’s most noteworthy upgrades include:

  1. Real-time data refreshes as part of the core ranking algorithm and
  2. A more granular approach to the way it filters spam.

Bruce Clay, Inc.’s VP Duane Forrester‘s response to the Penguin update? “About time! But now the real work for many begins. Those working hard on managing their link profiles or cleaning up old link building programs have reason to be optimistic. Those thinking old tactics will still work are about to fall on hard times.”

What a Real-Time Update Means

“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,” writes Illes.

With real-time data refreshes, Penguin becomes part of Google’s core algorithm, which “also means we’re not going to comment on future refreshes.”

We turned to Duane again for comment: “A real-time factoring of link quality into the mix means as soon as they see it, they decide. Everything is on the fly, so it’s the algo at work here, making the call on good, bad and ugly as it sees links. If you’re still thinking buying links works, you’d better be careful. Those days are behind us.”

What a Granular Filter Means

In his blog post, Illyes writes: “Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.”

SEO industry news outlet Search Engine Land requested further comment from Google on what “granular” means in this context.

Previously, Penguin was a sitewide penalty. So, does being “more granular” mean that it’s now page-specific? Yes and no, it seems. We asked Google for more clarity about this, and we were told: “It means it affects finer granularity than sites. It does not mean it only affects pages.”

More Answers on the Penguin Update

Illyes took to Twitter to answer SEOs’ questions about the latest Penguin update.

On how many pages are affected by the Penguin Update:

On whether the roll-out of Penguin is complete:

On how manual actions are now handled:

Stay tuned as we learn more on how Penguin 4.0 is affecting our clients’ sites.

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