Penguin, Google’s primary algorithm for ranking search results while simultaneously excluding spam links, has just been updated to 4.0. As predicted, it came with two key changes.

Firstly, Penguin is now working in real time. Previously, if Penguin erroneously identified a website’s backlinks as spam or a website had commissioned poor SEO link building and Penguin spotted it – a website entered a proverbial blacklist that was near impossible to escape from.

“Penguin 4.0 identifies spam on a finer scale”


Removing spam links didn’t improve or affect ranking meaning that a website could be forever paying a debt for bad SEO whether it was deserved or not. With Penguin 4.0 however, real time rankings give more power to the website owners by enabling them to fix their ranking by removing their bad links.

Granular Google

Secondly, Google is describing Penguin as being more ‘granular’. Albeit an ambiguous way to describe it, this simply means that Penguin 4.0 identifies spam on a finer scale. Previous Penguin versions identified spam according to the website that produced it rather than paying attention to the content of the specific link.

Now, Penguin 4.0 identifies spam by page and wording and uses this data to adjust page rankings. This also gives more power to website owners by giving them the opportunity to have their ranking affected by the quality of the content of their links, rather than pay the price for links on domains with a poor reputation.

Quality links needed

The main thing that this means for SEO is that the quality of links is more important than ever. Gone are the days when companies could simply purchase thousands of links with borderline irrelevant content to produce a good ranking. Google have announced that Penguin 4.0 is about creating ‘amazing, compelling websites’ and encouraging SEO to build up high-quality content that is interesting and useful in its own right.

“Links need to be varied, content needs to be represented on various domains and with good reputation signals”


Links need to be varied, content needs to be represented on various domains and with good reputation signals. Most of all, the content needs to be useful independent of its SEO function. If linked content is readable and interesting, chances are it will naturally gain readers and popularity throughout internet users and gain links without any direct effort required on the developer’s part.

Although this introduced big changes to the way that SEO has been conducted for years, Penguin 4.0 does actually mean good things for those that are willing to put in the effort to comply with Google’s intentions. Penguin 4.0 functions to promote SEO to be conducted in a more honest and quality driven fashion.

If you’d like to find out more about Adam’s Cheltenham-based web marketing business, Fibre Marketing, you can visit the Fibre Marketing website. You can also follow them on Twitter: @Fibre_Marketing.

Adam Adlkish