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Google's Real-Time Penguin Finally Emerges

Posted on 9.22.2016

Google announced an update that will reduce the time sites owners (and SEOs) have to wait if they were negatively impacted by the Penguin algorithm.

For the unfamiliar, Google's Penguin algorithm (introduced in April 2012) was designed to better catch sites spamming search results through a process of buying links or acquiring them through participation in link networks as a means to increase their search rankings.

The new "real-time" Penguin, announced on the Google Webmaster Blog this week, is the first update in two years and differs from the previous version in two important ways.


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The Penguin algorithm is now part of the core algorithm (which has more than 200 signals at present). Moving from a filter to a core part of the algorithm means that Google can operate Penguin in real time. In the past, those sites affected by Penguin were periodically refreshed at the same time. That left many waiting around for the update to take place which was obviously problematic for those that spent time improving their sites. With data now refreshed in real time, changes will be visible faster. Google suggested that changes could take effect shortly after it recrawls and reindexes a page.

The second significant development noted by Google is that Penguin is now more granular. This means that Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site (meaning Google can devalue a specific page and not the entire website)

For those SEO's that concentrate their efforts on creating the best possible website and digital experience for users, these changes should not mean much, but it should provide them some confidence that if things do go wrong, they won't need to wait around for a fix.

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