Did Your Google Ranking Change Overnight? Introducing Google Penguin 4.0

Did Your Google Ranking Change Overnight? Introducing Google Penguin 4.0

In this guest post, Michael Jenkins (pictured below) from Melbourne’s Shout! Web Strategy, talks B&T readers through Google’s new Penguin 4.0 – both the good and the bad bits…

It’s been a two-year wait for SEO tragics – Google’s anticipated Penguin 4.0 started rolling out over the weekend. While it’s too soon to see the full impact here’s what you need to know.

Michael Jenkins

What is Google Penguin?

In a nutshell Penguin is the name for a Google algorithm designed to catch websites that are spamming search results.  The first iteration launched in 2012, the last update to the algorithm was in 2014 and now Penguin 4.0 landed on the weekend.

OK, so tell me about Penguin 4.0

Penguin 4.0, dubbed the ‘real time update’ LINK , has targeted over optimised sites. Over optimisation is two fold. Firstly, when there is an overuse of keywords that are unnaturally placed i.e USE IMAGE; second is the over optimisation of link profiles, so if you have too many links from external sites pointing to the same keywords on your page, its time to update your disavow file before you get penalized.

Moving forward, there’s one thing that’s for certain – use keywords to write for your audience, not for search engine rankings as you will get found out quicker than ever!

How exactly will sites be affected?

The two key changes are:

  1. You will start to see considerable fluctuations in google rankins from now as real-time updates will occur as updates are made to a site.
  2. Penguin 4.0 is more granular and penalises specific pages on a site. In the past it was a domain wide penalty.



  • Penguin is real-time! When a webmaster updates or optimises their website Google will now recognize these changes quickly; and rankings will change accordingly – no more lag time!
  • Penguin 4.0 penalises competitors sites that aren’t doing things by the book and taking short cuts for short term rankings. If you have been doing things well and building genuine authority in your market place online then it’s likely to see a positive effect on rankings. 


  • Penguin is real-time. I hear you – I’ve named it as a ‘pro’ but it is also a watch out.  You need to ensure your site is being optimized and updated correctly – Google will now notice errors faster than ever that can quickly alter your ranking.
  • SEO is becoming much more sophisticated over time and Google is getting faster at seeing unnatural tactics. Regularly updating your SEO strategy and keeping constant monitor on your websites back links is essential to remain compliant with Penguin 4.0

How can I make the most out of Penguin 4.0?

Marketers should always keep an eye on back links and perform regular checks using the Google disavows tool LINK . The main difference between good and bad backlinks depends on the quality of the website they are on.  Bad backlinks will see your site penalized.

If you have noticed fluctuations in rankings there are a few steps you can take to help:

  • Clean out hazardous links
  • Review keyword density on site. Is the keyword repetition natural?
  • Create some braded links. The fastest way to do this is though citation building LINK 

Watch this space. 

Penguin 4.0 has literally just landed we’re bound to learn more in the coming week as it rolls out.  Keep your eye out for more insights.

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Designworks Michael Jenkins PRIA Shout! Web Strategy

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