Penguin 4.0: Everything We Know So Far
Google officially announced the update of the Penguin algorithm on Friday, September 23rd, nearly two years (707 days) after the last Penguin update.
Penguin is now realtime and part of the core algorithm. It took a while to launch it, but totally worth the wait imo https://t.co/ItQM8XxuQ5— Gary Illyes (@methode) September 23, 2016
Unofficially named Penguin 4.0, this iteration made Penguin part of the core search algorithm, updating in real time.
Here's what we know so far (this will be updated as we gain more information):
- Penguin is now running in real-time, and is part of the core search algorithm (similar to Panda).
- The release is in all languages and all countries.
- This will be the last major update of Penguin. Now that it's part of the core algorithm, Google will no longer comment on data refreshes, although SEOs will likely be able to catch future data refreshes.
- Penguin is more granular than site-wide, although it's not limited to pages. Penguin should have more flexibility in the past.
- No changes or impacts have been reported yet by SEOs, although Dr. Pete believes it will be a matter of days, not weeks until we begin seeing Penguin impacts and recoveries.
- There will be no announcements through Google Search Console for those impacted (Google only sends notification for manual actions).
I will be updating this post as we learn more, across the weekend.
I recommend keeping an eye on John Mueller's Twitter feed, along with Gary Illyes' Twitter feed. They're the primary Googlers answering Penguin-related questions, and much of it is happening on Twitter.
Updated News (learned since launch):
We've learned a few interesting pieces of information since Penguin 4.0 launched on Friday.
Here's the breakdown:
- The initial impact was nearly nonexistent. The rollout appears to be slow, but Dr. Pete is beginning to see the impact (through Mozcast), starting 9/27.
- Penguin no longer demotes websites, but instead devalues spam to pages. Effectively, Penguin no longer penalizes sites—only ignores spam and manipulative links. Read more here.
- The change from demotion to devaluation in this update means past Penguin demotions are beginning to be removed. On September 28th Gary Illyes said Penguin 3 demotions were beginning to be removed.
Recoveries and Case Studies
So far much of the reports are slow recoveries. Hopefully we'll begin to see more as time goes by and Penguin continues to run as Google crawls the web.
Marie Haynes has shared the most concrete information of anyone yet. See her Penguin recovery case studies of seven different sites here: https://www.mariehaynes.com/penguin-4-0-recovery-case-studies/.
I will continue to update this section as more information is reported and shared.
Currently Google algorithm change monitors are reporting high fluctuations within Google's search results. It's a good guess that we'll continue to see recoveries and impacts as Penguin continues to roll out.
Either Penguin's still rolling, or everything broken - Sunday temps at 110° -- https://t.co/VzCp4QjKD0— Dr. Pete Meyers (@dr_pete) October 3, 2016
Keep an eye out with these tools:
Jennifer Slegg, Barry Schwartz, and Dr. Pete were all on the ball in reporting. I recommend reading each of their posts, along with the official announcement:
- Google's official announcement: http://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/09/penguin-is-now-part-of-our-core.html.
- The SEM Posts' coverage: http://www.thesempost.com/google-launches-real-time-penguin-40/.
- Moz's coverage (don't miss the comments): https://moz.com/blog/penguin-4-was-it-worth-the-wait.
- State of Digital's coverage: http://www.stateofdigital.com/penguin-4/.
- SERoundtable's coverage (& comments): https://www.seroundtable.com/google-penguin-4-live-22737.html.
- Search Engine Land's coverage: http://searchengineland.com/google-updates-penguin-says-now-real-time-part-core-algorithm-259302.
- Search Engine Watch's coverage: https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/09/23/penguin-4-0-is-finally-here-google-confirms/.
- Cognitive SEO's coverage: http://cognitiveseo.com/blog/10409/google-penguin-4-0-released/.
- Patrick Coombe's coverage: http://www.elite-strategies.com/major-google-update-penguin-4-0/.
- SEO Book's coverage: http://www.seobook.com/penguin-40-update.
- Marie Haynes' coverage: https://www.mariehaynes.com/early-thoughts-penguin-4-0/.
A few notable SEOs have speculated about the release of Penguin 4.0, and what it might mean:
@atmoore81 yes. I'm sure someone will say I'm not blunt enough with this reply though— Gary Illyes (@methode) September 28, 2016
Both old and new Penguins were in play temporarily. That will end soon. I do not work for Google - these are my interpretations :)— Dr. Pete Meyers (@dr_pete) September 28, 2016
Not sure, but it sounds like, instead of trying to ID good vs bad links, they're saying they'll use different signals when they detect spam— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) September 23, 2016
My gut feeling is that we're not going to see a big Penguin 4.0 spike. A couple of points...— Dr. Pete Meyers (@dr_pete) September 26, 2016
Read Dr. Pete's full thread of 8 tweets here.
@dr_pete Based on Panda 4.2 & beyond, we may never see any impact, ever again from Penguin. Also a great way to hide a broken algo. IMO.— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) September 26, 2016
Dr. Pete shares that he's beginning to see a temperature spike at Mozcast on 9/27:
Seeing Google temperature spike yesterday on part with Sep. 1 & 13, part of a ramp-up over the past 4 days. More to come.— Dr. Pete Meyers (@dr_pete) September 28, 2016
Have Further Information?
Share with the community! Either leave a comment here, in one of the mentioned comment threads above, or email me (Cory Collins) personally at email@example.com.
Good luck! The next week should be exciting.