Google Penguin 4.0 may offer potential for SEO gains

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This latest change to the Google search algorithm will likely have a very positive impact on those firms that can effectively embrace SEO best practices.

Considering Google’s stature in the realm of Internet search, it’s no surprise that anyone interested in search engine optimization or paid search pays close attention to any and all Google updates. Recently, for example, Google rolled out a new policy that eliminated text ads on the right side of desktop searches. Such a change is obviously going to have a major impact on how companies approach their paid search and SEO initiatives.

Other Google changes may have a less obvious impact, but that doesn’t make them any less important. On the contrary, the most critical updates that Google makes are the behind-the-scenes tweaks to the algorithm that determines the order of search results.

That’s why the upcoming Google Penguin 4.0 update is such big news. While there are many questions that remain to be answered – including when exactly the update will roll out – there’s reason to believe that this latest change to the Google search algorithm will have a very positive impact on those firms that can effectively embrace SEO best practices.

Penguin history

To appreciate why industry experts are so excited and curious about the latest Penguin update, it’s useful to first examine the history of these changes.

The first Google Penguin update came out back in April of 2012. As Forbes contributor Mike Templeman explained, the first Google Penguin “immediately caused major ripples in the digital industry.” Specifically, organizations that depended on shortcuts and loopholes to artificially boost their search results suddenly found their search rankings significantly diminished.

Templeman went on to note that Google unveiled subsequent Penguin updates several times over the following years, and each of these updates brought significant changes to search results. Perhaps most significantly, each of these updates, just like the first one, has served to reward organizations that conduct “marketing the proper way” while undermining those companies that try to “cheat” the system.

Penguin 4.0 speculation

Given that history, it’s reasonable to assume that Penguin 4.0 will have a similar impact. That’s good news for those firms that are already making strides to improve their SEO through best practices and are in a position to continue such efforts.

“The update may deliver real-time capabilities to the Google algorithm.”

Beyond this, though, there’s only speculation as to what Penguin 4.0 will entail. According to Templeman, there are rumors swirling that the update will deliver real-time capabilities to the Google algorithm. If true, this would have a big impact on SEO and search results in general.

“With Penguin going real-time the algorithm will now catch spam link profiles more quickly and help keep sites from ranking well in SEO that really have no business ranking in the Google search results,” Templeman wrote.

Search Engine Watch contributor Chuck Price shared this view, asserting that he anticipated that Penguin 4.0 will “take the evolution of link value to the next level – placing a premium on semantically related links.”

Price went on to explain that semantic search prioritizes the relationships between things. Context is becoming more important.

However, one of the biggest unknowns surrounding Penguin 4.0 is when the update will arrive. The latest predictions suggested it would appear in the first quarter of this year, but Gary Illyes, a trends analyst with Google, first mentioned the upcoming update toward the end of 2015. Since then, he’s offered several updates, each time suggesting that Penguin 4.0 had been pushed back but was on the way. As Search Engine Round table recently reported, though, Illyes recently spoke at SMX West and indicated that he will no longer offer estimates for the roll out, due to the fact that his previous predictions have proven wrong.

That doesn’t necessarily guarantee that Penguin 4.0 will be delayed further, but it certainly doesn’t increase the odds of a Q1 roll out.

It's not clear when Penguin 4.0 will actually arrive.

Preparing for Penguin 4.0

Whatever the exact roll out date turns out to be, there’s no doubt that Penguin 4.0 is coming. That means that organizations of all kinds need to prepare.

This will be much easier for those businesses that have already made SEO best practices a priority. However, even these firms may run into difficulties and complications.

Ultimately, the best way for a company to thrive upon the Penguin 4.0 release is by partnering with an established search engine optimization firm, such as Core and More Technologies. Core and More’s experts have years of experience helping clients develop and implement SEO best practices in light of new changes to Google’s search algorithm and other updates in the search engine space.

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