Google announced today that Penguin is now part of the core Google search algorithm.
Google’s algorithms rely on more than 200 unique signals or “clues” that make it possible to surface what you might be looking for. These signals include things like the specific words that appear on websites, the freshness of content, your region and PageRank. One specific signal of the algorithms is called Penguin, which was first launched in 2012 and today has an update.
Google Penguin refers to a set of algorithm updates and data refreshes for the Google search engine that the company periodically initiated to help enhance the value of its search query results for users.
The Google Penguin updates were primarily seeking to prevent various types of search engine spam (also known as spamdexing or Black Hat SEO) from being successfully rewarded in the form of higher-placed search engine results. Search engine spam can include activities such as keyword stuffing, link spamming, the use of invisible text on web pages, duplication of copyrighted content from high-ranking web sites and more.
Google rolled out the first Penguin update in April 2012, and the search company estimated it affected 3% of all English-language web sites. Google doesn’t always announce changes for Penguin, but there have been at least five Google Penguin updates, including a major update, Penguin 2.0, in May 2013 and the most recent, Penguin 2.1, later that year in October. The last Penguin update, Penguin 3.0, happened on October 17, 2014.
After nearly two years, Google’s Penguin algorithm was finally updated again. It’s the fourth major release and also the last release of this type, as Google Penguin is now a real-time signal processed within its core search algorithm.
After a period of development and testing, Google rolled out an update to the Penguin algorithm in all languages. Here are the key changes you’ll see, which were also among webmasters’ top requests to Google:
- 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 very fast, 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.
Google commented by saying, “The web has significantly changed over the years, but as we said in our original post, webmasters should be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling websites. It’s also important to remember that updates like Penguin are just one of more than 200 signals we use to determine rank.”