Google Updates


Google Core Update, not Penguin 4.0 was bigger than Penguin 3.0

After waiting for almost a year, Google has confirmed that they’re working on a real-time Google Penguin update.

Awaiting the major Penguin update in January as announced by Google after shifting it for many months, I called Google Penguin 4.0 to start already.


What looked like Google Penguin 4.0 was a core algo update that was bigger than Penguin 3.0 last year and almost feelt like the massive Penguin 2.1 in 2013.

The “real-time feature” implies that effects of the Penguin algorithmic filter, i.e. demotions and promotions of organic rankings for a website due to link spam (unnatural links) happen faster than in the past. In the past, every Google Penguin update brought drastic changes.

While Google has still to confirm this new major Penguin Update, I am confident,
that “this is it.”

Google Penguin 4.0 is rolling out.

Gary Illyes mentioned that the Google engineers are “still testing”, but for me this looked like the “final release candidate.”

Gary and Zineb Ait (in French) today confirmed – after almost 48 hours of waiting for a useful statement that this major shake up is indeed a core algo update and not (yet) a Penguin update.

This means, that it was technically a Panda update, but Panda was integrated into the core algorithm, so is therefore no more a separate update they need to confirm.

Hey wait, but if Penguin goes real-time, that would mean it also needs to be integrated into the core algorithm… hmnn food for thought, if it’s not Penguin (the thing attached on top of the core, but the same link spam analyis component integrated into the core, would it be ok to say it’s “not Penguin”?

Last night I then wondered if Google’s John Müller and Gary actually continued the practice of confirming Google Penguin Updates, and remembered, that from End of October til December (!) in 2014 we were wondering if and how the Google Penguin 3.0 rolled out. I even found that post where Google’s John Müller confirmed in December 2014 that Penguin would be an “Everpenguin” already the  “Real-Time Version” of Google Penguin that was confirmed yet a year later.

I already heard some people expect Google Penguin 4.0 in March 2016 – no idea where that date comes from, but apparently Google themselves are unsure on what RankBrain, the Google Core algo and all those attachments to it – be it the past Panda or the (maybe still external filter) Penguin algorithm be if confirmation takes a day or two from official spokesmen.

I am still expecting the Google Penguin Update sooner than March 2016.

Anyways, read on to see my perspectives from January 10 and what led me to call Penguin 4.0 rolling out. It was a lot of work and I guess some people still haven’t read it.

In general, Google seems to update and shake different countries at the same time. This is something very much expected to continue to happen once the Penguin 4.0 is fully rolled out.

What I recommend moving forward with Google Penguin 4.0

It’s still early in this update.

However some principles remain and one new aspect is the game changer – “Real Time”.

How much real-time that “Real Time Penguin” might be, it’s going to be a lot more frequent.

But there’s still network and processing power needed for all those massive crawls and calculations, so I wouldn’t be surprised if “real-time” really translates into weekly or daily.

Link Risk Management, the practice of proactive link audits and disavows gets, even more, important for your business – and we always recommended to do it on a weekly basis. Maybe faster in the future.

The post-penguin basic principles for link building and SEO remain

  • A link can help or hurt – positive to negative effect, vs. positive or nothing pre-Penguin
  • You need to analyze your FULL backlink profile – it’s about ratios. It’s wrong to think that the few percent that Google Search Console gives you in links would be enough to audit. And don’t show any penalized sites, so you’re definitely missing out if you’re not aggregating all sources you can. LRT was made for that.
  • Use a machete, not a scalpel for bad links – I know that it’s tough to let a so-so link go, but remember it’s about ratios
  • Disavow shady scraper links – Google has better things to do than detect all sorts of scraper spam, so they put it on us
  • Be careful with redirects – as I found out in Penguin 2.0 update Google passes penalties on with redirects for a while now
  • Be careful with redirects 2.0 – temporary redirects are handled differently than just a few years ago and can convert into permanent redirects. Did you know?
  • Content relevance and the “AI” part – “Rankbrain” is here – Google rolled out their new machine-learning in October 2015 that can and will impact search results.
    this will make results, even more, unpredictable for Google themselves as well. Let’s see how this works out.

Copy of Article posted in Link Research

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