Google regularly updates its algorithms to keep itself on the forefront of delivering top-quality search results to its users. One of the more important algorithm updates is called “Penguin,” which was first launched in 2012. In Q4 of 2016, Google launched the biggest makeover ever of Penguin and rolled it out for all languages: Penguin 4.0.
Unlike previous updates, the Penguin 4.0 update was released globally. This means that all websites – domestic and international – will be affected by this major update.
According to Google, its algorithms rely on more than 200 unique signals or “clues” to determine what a Google user is searching for via the Internet (what his or her intentions are), and what webpages are most relevant to those searches. These clues include the search terms entered in Google search bar of course, plus the user’s location and search history, plus specific words that appear on websites and webpages, words that appear in links that link to the webpages, the freshness of the content on the webpages, Google’s PageRank 2.0, and many more.
Currently, Google owns 62.7% of the search engine market both locally and internationally. This means that if your business is ranking well on Google, then it is likely that your business could receive global attention if it is correctly optimized for Google’s various international versions. This is especially true if your website has been translated into the local language of each country where you want it to rank well.
Here are a few key changes that have come to light about Penguin 4.0:
- Penguin is now part of Google’s core algorithm.
- Penguin’s data is updated in real-time.
- Penguin devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting the ranking of the entire website.
- Penguin will penalize websites that use various black-hat link schemes to manipulate search rankings.
So, what will this mean for online marketers and the global market?
Penguin 4.0 may lessen the unpredictability of search engine positions. Unpredictability is something that domestic and international search marketing optimizers have had to deal with. On the one hand, the faster refreshes and updates can cause positions to change more quickly. However, since these updates are smaller and more consistent, changes may have less noticeable impact overall. Time, testing and experience will tell!
Faster Penalties or Recoveries:
This is great news for those like us who stick to white hat website marketing practices. And there is hope for website owners whose websites were being marketed by back hat agencies: Website owners will be able to file a reconsideration request (after their websites’ spammy backlink profiles have been cleaned up), and their websites’ high search engine positions will recover faster than before.
Link Evaluation Refinement:
Currently, there is no outright signal that Penguin 4.0 has changed the way that Google evaluates links for quality. However, this could prove to be a prime opportunity to review current link building practices. Are you focused on naturally building links that are relevant and valuable for the respective target audiences? Are you selectively connecting with high-authority relevant websites that will help your website become more authoritative?
Penguin isn’t the first peripheral algorithm to be incorporated into Google’s core algorithm — Panda was incorporated into it early in 2016. It appears that Google is working to consolidate their algorithms to be faster and more simplified. It is important to keep in mind that Google’s Webmaster Guidelines have not changed, and one must continue to ensure that their business website solely relies on white hat marketing techniques. Google has reached a solid foundation for ranking determination, and this result will improve search results quality reduce search ranking unpredictably worldwide. A very good thing for domestic/international white hat search marketing agencies like us!
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