In the world of SEO, the rules are always changing

Google penguin

According to Google, for a typical search query, there are thousands or even millions of web pages with helpful information. Google’s algorithms rely on more than 200 ‘clues’ that make it possible for the search engine to display the results you are looking for when you make a search. These clues can include terms in website copy, the freshness of the content, your region and PageRank.

One of the algorithms that Google uses is called ‘Penguin’. On the 23rd September 2016, we received official confirmation that Google Penguin has been updated and is now officially part of Google’s Core Algorithm.

What is Google Penguin

Google Penguin is an algorithm that attempts to catch ‘black hat’ Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) practices, in order to enhance the value of search engine results for google users. Black hat SEO refers to manipulative tactics that businesses can use to boost their website rankings on search engines – these tactics can include keyword stuffing, link spamming, the use of invisible text on web pages, duplication of copyrighted content from high-ranking websites and more. The manipulative techniques that Google Penguin aims to combat are:

  • Over-optimized anchor text
  • Links to and from ‘bad neighbourhoods’ (i.e. unhelpful, low quality or inappropriate websites)
  • Too many links from irrelevant sites

Although Google Penguin shares similarities with two other algorithm-enhancing filters, Google Panda and Google Hummingbird, Penguin’s specific focus is to penalise companies and web developers that deliberately try to ‘boost’ their search engine rankings via manipulative and spammy SEO tactics.

What is SEO?


SEO refers to a number of strategies, techniques and tactics that businesses use to increase their website traffic by obtaining a high ranking in the results of search engines. SEO is a constantly evolving practice – SEO tactics that worked 2 months ago might be considered as spam and be punishable today.

At Studio Culture, we know that staying up to date with Google’s updates, changes and additions is key when it comes to outranking online competition. SEO is now more complex than ever – to avoid being punished by Google, you should always consult a professional before employing SEO strategies on your website.

What Are the Penguin 4.0 Changes?

We’re not going to lie… the changes have people a little confused.

Change 1: Penguin is now ‘real-time’

According to Google:

 “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.”

This basically means that Penguin now runs continuously rather than sporadically, so your site will be assessed and penalised for spammy SEO in real-time (and recover from being penalised very quickly). In the previous versions of Penguin, sites that were penalised remained that way (even after being improved) until the next time Penguin ran, which was often months later. 

Change 2: Penguin is now ‘more granular’

According to Google:

“Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.”

Search Engine Land asked Google for some clarification about what this statement actually means, and were told:

“It means it affects finer granularity than sites. It does not mean it only affects pages.”

According to Search Engine Land, this likely means that Penguin will impact and punish specific spammy pages on a site, rather than the whole website.

What Can You Do?

It seems further clarification is still needed about the latest Google Penguin updates… we’ll be sure to keep you updated as more information comes out and the changes become clear. One thing we know for sure is that it is more important than ever to make sure that your SEO strategies are up-to-date, and we can help. Our SEO tactics are constantly evolving in order to stay in line with Google algorithms, so we can make sure your business isn’t punished for outdated SEO strategies. Click here for a free SEO review of your business.

Has your website been punished by Google Penguin? Contact us – we can help.

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