Google Penguin 4.0 And It’s effect on SEO

Internet titan Google Inc. released in September an update of their algorithm codenamed Penguin 4.0 which first launch was in April 2012. The company’s popular search function works with algorithms that rely on over 200 unique signals to find what a user searches online. The signals include stuff like keywords that are present on websites, site PageRank and the freshness of its content. It also takes the user’s region into consideration.

Penguin was introduced in 2012 to penalize the websites that practice black-hat search engine optimization techniques by decreasing their rankings. Black-hat SEO is when a webpage manipulates the links that point to the webpage which, when legit are big contributing factors to the website’s page ranking.


Google wants websites to be compelling and amazing, made especially for human audience instead solely for its search engines. Hence, it created guidelines for webmasters on how to design websites. The Internet firm ensures that the guidelines are implemented with its over 200 signals that determine page rank.

Penguin was updated periodically until this year. The Internet company has rolled out Penguin update in all languages. Two of its significant changes are being real-time and granular.

Penguin’s data is now refreshed in real time to make changes and refresh visibly faster. It means that the list of websites affected by Penguin is updated in real time. That means, whenever any of those sites is making enhancements, Penguin will detect faster after reindexing and recrawling the page.

For example, the Penguin filter would catch spammy websites which remain penalized even if they already have made changes and improvements. However, Penguin could only detect their improvements on its next run which could take time, like several months or more.

The last Penguin update 3.0 was on Oct. 17, 2014. If your site was hit by that, you waited almost two years for the penalty to be lifted. This is not the case anymore with this year’s Penguin 4.0.

Being granular lets Penguin adjust the site’s ranking based on spam signals instead of affecting the ranking of the entire site. Penalties are now applied to the violating webpage, rather than the entire domain.

With this year’s Penguin 4.0, Google will no longer confirm any succeeding Penguin update, since the update is a constant process. Hence, there is no sense to confirm. Here is the list of Penguin updates made by Google and the percentage they impacted on queries.

•    April 24, 2012 – Penguin 1.0 (impacted ~3.1 percent of queries)
•    May 26, 2012 –  Penguin 1.1 on (less than 0.1 percent)
•    Oct. 5, 2012 – Penguin 1.2 (~0.3 percent)
•    May 22, 2013 – Penguin 2.0 (2.3 percent)
•    Oct. 4, 2013  – Penguin 2.1  (around 1 percent)
•    Oct. 17, 2014 – Penguin 3.0 (around 1 percent)
•    Sept. 23, 2016 – Penguin 4.0 and real-time on

Google did not say a word on when the rolling out of Penguin 4.0 was or will still be completed. If it regularly visits your website, then you should likely see the changes. Otherwise, it may take longer.  To learn more about how you can avoid being hit with a penalty from google penguin 4.0, reach out so top internet marketing companies such as Scarlet SEO.