Earlier today, Google announced the launch of Penguin 4.0 as a core part of their algorithm. We've been on the lookout for this release for most of this year. The rumors and news from Google about launch dates, how it might work, and other details have been like reading a tabloid. Overall, the Semify portfolio of clients has fared well. We are seeing a slight decrease in the number of new page one rankings this month, but we are positive overall. We have done a lot of prep work, including Penguin Awareness Month, evolving our product, and bundling tools like the Link Audit feature into our product for no charge. Read on for more information about Penguin 4.0 and frequently asked questions.

Google's Two Key Changes:

  • "Penguin is now real-time. Historically, the list of sites affected by Penguin was periodically refreshed at the same time. Once a webmaster considerably improved their site and its presence on the Internet, many of Google's algorithms would take that into consideration quickly, but others, like Penguin, needed to be refreshed. 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. It also means we're not going to comment on future refreshes."

  • "Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site."

What is the Penguin algorithm?

First introduced in April 2012, the Penguin update was created to target sites that used “spammy” tactics and manipulative practices that violate the Google webmaster guidelines.

The last update was in the Fall of 2014 and sites impacted by that update have been waiting two years for another update.

Is it still rolling out?

Yes, and it is expected to for the next couple weeks.

It is now a real-time part of Google’s core search algorithm, which means that once it fully rolls out, it will be a constant process rather than periodic updates, as it's been previously.


  • "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."

If rankings are fine now, will there be any more changes?

No one will know the impact until it has fully rolled out. Once it has, it will be a real-time part of the core algorithm.

Keep in mind that Google is constantly making changes to its algorithm to improve the user experience, so with Penguin now part of the core algorithm, it is more important than ever to ensure that your links are following quality guidelines.

If rankings have gone down, what should I do?

Don’t panic. It will still be rolling out for the next couple weeks. We have already seen some clients' rankings bounce around and then settle back into their previous positions.

What should I tell my client?

We've always recommended being proactive in your communication with clients. Let clients know about the change. As we said earlier, this change is still rolling out so they may see some ups and downs as this rolls out to all searches.

If you have any questions, please give your Account Manager a call or join us in our 4:00pm daily training webinar.