It’s been quite a wait, almost two years, since the last Penguin algorithm update, but the wait is over.  Penguin has finally been updated.  This is the fourth major release, making this Penguin 4.0.  At the same time, this is the also the last release of this type.  Google has said that Penguin is a real-time signal processed within its core search algorithm.

Penguin is a filter that has been designed to captures sites that are spamming Google’s search results in ways that the company’s normal spamming systems might not be detecting.  Penguin was first introduced in 2012, and it operated on a periodic basis.

This means that the Penguin filter would run and catch sites deemed spammy.  Those sites that were caught by Penguin would remain penalized even if had been improved

and changed until the next time the filter ran.  This means that, even if your site was fixed, it could take months for it to get out from under the penalty.

With Penguin 3.0, which released on October 17, 2014,those sites that was hit with a penalty had to wait almost two years to be freed.

Now, luckily, these delays are a thing of the past, according to Google.  In Penguin 4.0, the algorithm is now operating in real-time.  Google is now recrawling and reindexing pages constantly, and they will be assessed by the Penguin filter.  Pages will be caught and/or freed by Penguin as part of this regular process.

This is what Google said in the post:

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.

Google said that this Penguin algorithm is “more granular.”  From its post:

Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.

With the previous version of Penguin, if there was a penalty, it would be sitewide.  With the fact that it’s “more granular,” does this mean that it’s now page-specific?  Google was asked for more clarity about this:

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

It seems that this could mean that penguin might impact sections or wide swaths of a site, while other pages are fine.

The company even said that with this update, it’ll no longer confirm future Penguin updates.  As it’s going to be a constant process, there won’t be much to confirm.

As of right now, it makes sense that this version of Penguin isn’t fully live yet.  But it is currently rolling out, according to Google.  The company didn’t say how long it’ll take to roll out.  If Google is regularly revisiting your pages, should see the change quickly.

Some swore they saw this roll out yesterday, but Google would not confirm that.

Here’s a list of all the Penguin updates over time, as well as the impact that they’ve had on queries, according to Google:

 

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