Google Penguin 4.0 is now officially rolled out – and while it’s just one of many factors that can affect organic search, it’s a significant one. Here are the top 5 implication for brands and how to make it work for your company’s website.
- SEO is less set-and-forget than ever
With the latest Penguin update to Google’s Search Engine algorithm, your website’s search engine ranking can now change as soon as Google updates its information about your page – or your competitors. For businesses, this means SEO changes can occur at a faster pace, and is even less a set-and-forget process than ever. Site owners will want to consider setting up automated reports and email alerts to keep them appraised of any significant changes to their organic traffic moving forward. And keep a closer eye on their competitors’ rankings.
- Penalties are assessed on a more granular level
Prior to the Penguin 4.0 update, SEO penalties and problems on individual pages tended to affect the whole site, and often took a considerable amount of time to recover from as Google processed the fixes. Now, according to Google, penalties are assessed on a more granular level and shouldn’t affect the whole site. Plus, when the web development team addresses the issue or problem in question, the recovery to organic search ranking happens virtually in real time, shortly after the page is re-crawled and re-indexed by Google. This is a huge relief to web developers who, in the past, might have experienced months of pain for a single mistake in the code.
- SEO problems may be harder to track
On the other hand, having only individual pages potentially affected by a penalty, rather than the whole website, means that SEO problems may be less obvious and harder to track and detect. More thorough and regular audits and reporting, especially on key information, conversion, and contact pages, will be required – rather than simply keeping an eye on the default homepage.
- Google will be tougher on webspam and suspicious links
For years now, an unscrupulous SEO tactic known as webspam has been centered on the creation of questionable websites and pages which link back to a website in an effort to increase its search engine ranking. In fact, a large part of the rationale behind Penguin involved dealing with this problem.
Google has been unclear on whether the changes in the latest version of Penguin simply do a better job of ignoring webspam, or whether it will further penalize individual pages seemingly trying to benefit from this tactic. Either way, we’re recommending website owners periodically monitor their backlinks list (pages that are linking to your website) and utilize the standard Google-prescribed method to disavow any suspicious links.
- Penguin remains just one of many factors affecting organic results
Finally, to put all this in perspective, as Google points out in its announcement of the latest Penguin update, it’s important to remember that the Google Search Engine is made up of over 200 different factoring signals which collectively determine where a website will land for any given organic result. Penguin is just one of these signals, and while it is certainly important to be aware of the potential effect on your own websites, search engine optimization is better tackled as part of a comprehensive on-going SEO program, rather than simply reacting to individual filters and changes to the algorithm.
The ongoing nature of SEO will be doubly important now that Google has also indicated in their release of Penguin 4.0, that no further public notices or updates to any ongoing alterations to the system would be announced.
Steven Harris is the Director of SEO at DAC Group. To learn more about how brands can optimize and leverage SEO, please contact us. You can also stay up to date on digital marketing trends by following DAC Group on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.