October 9, 2016

What Does Penguin 4.0 Update Mean to the SEO Practitioners?

Penguin 4 update

Ending plenty of rumours and speculations about it, Google has finally rolled out its latest search engine algorithm update named Penguin 4.0, which is expected to make a few welcome changes on how the ranking mechanism works in order to produce more accurate and relevant results.

Penguin is there for quite sometime now as a crucial part of Google’s core algorithm, penalising the websites that use black-hat schemes for quick ranking manipulations. As Penguin 4.0 has already started rolling, SEO professionals need to be alert about the incurred changes in order to succeed in their efforts.

An overview of some of the most important changes include:

  • The Penguin data gets refreshed in real-time. The pages are now recrawled and reindexed at real-time, so each and every change made to a page will show its effects soon.
  • Penguin highly devalues spams with this new version, and the ranking of offending pages will be readjusted, but it will not be affecting the whole site.

The impact of Penguin 4.0 on SEO practitioners

Here, we will review what the experts have to say about the impact of new Penguin in terms of its affect on the SEO practitioners. For easy understanding, it is being presented in a Q&A format with the opinions of various experts.

  • Q1: Is the latest version of Penguin is fairer? Is it an adequate deterrent in terms of spam link-building?

Expert #1: Yes, it is fairer than the preceding versions. Now, one need not have to wait for weeks or months for an algorithm to assess the link removals and make you perform better. Google’s algorithm, as usual, is a moving target, but now it has become harder to manipulate at a scale. In some cases, it can also be a reassuring game to someone who doesn’t have the worst backlinks to win.

Expert #2: This algorithm is fairer. At the first point, you get the benefits of a great content instantly. Also with the increasing acceptance of artificial intelligence, Google may be able to understand the links in a better way than the previous practices.

Expert #3: Agreeing with the statement of it being fairer, it is a fact to be noted that the real-time version of this Penguin algorithm can play very positively for the entire SEO community. After about 2 years of waiting, SEO experts can now feel reassured that whatever SEO mistakes can be quickly fixed afterwards to get relieved from its negative impacts.

  • Q2: How can webmasters best avoid the potential risks of getting affected by Penguin?

Expert #1: The best approach is to focus on building a brand than links. Link building will only help one to leave an SEO footprint, which is not of much value anymore. The story has to be told via quality content, data-driven analysis, and knowledge. SEOs should focus more on amplifying the content to the target audience through multiple channels including social media, paid promotions, digital PR and more.

Along with this, it is also important to monitor your quality links and frequently audit this. If you are into a competitive industry, you should always focus on disavowing negative links, which may have been built into your site by someone else.

Expert #2: Data analysis is more relevant to SEO with this change. Now, the most efficient way to analyse the new update is to categorise the links and then compare the performance of each in terms of visits, revenue, average blended rank etc.

Expert #3: It is for sure that the shortcuts in SEO are not going to work anymore. There are merely no such options left. The only possible way to be on the safer side is to secure your brand with quality practices and ensure visitors and sales through white-hat SEO.

Prepare highly useful and well-researched content and start building quality links to it. There had been a lot of positive changes in SERPs with Hummingbird and RankBrain and this is going to be the same for Penguin 4.0 too with betterment in terms of link building.

  • Q3: How will this update change the ways SEOs work?

Expert #1: The update actually doesn’t change the core process. The only thing which Penguin 4.0 reassures that is the process is in right track with keen focus on quality. It is also an inviting fact that those who tend to make mistakes out of ignorance do have an instant chance to correct it and get benefited.

Expert #2: Penguin 4.0 may not change the SEO work routine in any serious way. But, what you can be pretty sure of is that fact that there will be an increased demand for more quality link building approaches in the coming years, which may have its influence on the SEO industry by letting only the genuine ones survive. More and more webmasters start to play it safe by the rules and it should be same for all, which is a fair change.

Expert #3: Not only that it will not change any SEO practices, but it also will help to streamline the conventional SEO practices in a better way and make SEO specialists more reliable and expert professionals.

A few more things SEO experts should note

From the past experiences, it can be noted that there had always been a gap between what Google actually says what its algorithms may do and what one actually does. Over the recent times, Google had done their best to address this; however, most of the strategies which do work remained short-lived, which kept most of the brands away from those. Some of the major things Google still needs to address include the following:

  • The spammy link building at a higher velocity can be still positively rewarded by Google.
  • E-commerce site cloning can also play foul, in which Google tend to rank the fake site too organically with the original client content.
  • Mass content production can still work for a short term, with which may companies pump out huge amount of articles in a short span, but not putting much effort to ensure quality of the content.

Concluding all the above, we can see that the practices in SEO are not going to change largely with Penguin 4.0, but it is the quality of the efforts you put in may reap better results, whereas speed and quantity will not be the key anymore.

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