How Google’s Penguin SEO update affects your website

Google have finally announced an update to their “Penguin” ranking signal. This update came on the 23rd of September 2016–4 years after the first Penguin update. Simply put, Penguin is one of 200+ unique signals used to determine the placement of websites amongst search results. Keeping on top of these updates is important to securing a prime position on Page 1 of relevant searches, which brings 24/7 visibility to your website and more traffic from potential customers.

Essential Penguin SEO changes

Penguin 4.0 implemented some major changes regarding incoming links, which SEO professionals everywhere have been patiently waiting for since 2012. This is one of the most time-consuming parts of SEO and can take some time to perfect. Ensuring incoming links are high quality can sometimes be difficult to achieve — but it can really improve the validity and relevance of your website in search results.

This signal now works in real-time as well. Previously, websites affected by Penguin would need to be refreshed before any new incoming links would be considered. From now on, links are checked on a faster, more regular basis after every website re-crawl. This means your ranking position will actively update but may fluctuate depending on the amount of high/low-quality incoming links you’ve gained since the last re-crawl.

Google Penguin SEO Timeline
Timeline of every Google Penguin update so far and how each update affected search queries

Banishing negative links

Using taboo tactics like paying for links from reputable websites, rushing to create irrelevant links within your content or having incoming links from evasive spam sites will damage your website page’s search ranking. Google penalises any individual pages which are not using recognised SEO practices.

Google’s Search Console tool is available to check any website’s incoming links and see whether they’re trustworthy or not. This can give you a rough indication of which ones may be harming your reputation within search results. If a site is questionable, you can ask Google to ‘disavow’ these incoming links on the Search Console. This means you’ll no longer associate with that particular website.


Introducing these long awaited changes finally gives business owners/content creators more control over who is linking to their website. Also, with the real-time updates, using good SEO techniques should improve search results sooner than ever.

As always, here’s the link to Google’s official blog post on the matter — although personally, I think ours is a lot easier to understand!

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