Google gave us the official word yesterday that it is rolling out Penguin 4.0. The difference this time is that it isn’t a one time update. Penguin 4.0 brings real time updating to the core algorithm that makes up the ranking system in the SERPS. Now before you go and panic because you engaged in some “potentially dubious” backlinking efforts, lets take a look at the pros and the cons of the update.
Cons (for SEO’s) of Penguin 4.0
The old game of turn and burn when it came to affiliate sites might not work as well as it used to. The guarantee that a site that you blast with spammy links will survive long enough to bring in some money is history. Now because of the way that Penguin 4.0 works, your site constantly runs the risk of being checked and given a penalty. The update causes the core Google algorithm to check the backlink signals every time it indexes a page. So while you may have had a grace period in the past, your sites are now on watch 24/7 and could consistently incur penalties.
To be honest, that’s really the only con for SEOs. Not the Google wants to make it easy, but lets look at all of the positives.
Pros of Penguin 4.0
Remember the days of disavowing your spammy links and then waiting and praying that sometime in the next year Penguin would run again and remove your penalty? Those days are over. Now, because of the rolling updates, if you make some poor link building decisions and your site gets hit with a penalty, the penalty can be removed the next time Google crawls your site with it’s little bot minions. This is good news when it comes to staying on top of your game and preventing any real damage to your sites.
The next big news is that Penguin 4.0 does not hand out site wide penalties anymore. Google has been a little unclear but has stated that the update will be more “granular” which points to page or section level penalties for sites that have spammy link profiles. Charles Floate just released a video that explains a lot of this stuff pretty well. Check it out here
Why else is this update positive?
Well, if you are a little guy who has been engaging in SEO best practices, Google is giving you an opportunity to rise above the pack of people with bigger budgets and the ability to blast their site with tons of links. If you have created good content and focused on providing value to your readers and your client’s websites, you stand to benefit greatly from the update and find yourself in a position to rank.
What to Do if You Get Hit
So what happens if you’re one of those individuals who find yourself hit by Penguin unexpectedly? The first thing to remember is not to panic. Chances are you can recover your rankings rather quickly (provided the only thing ranking you isn’t spammy backlinks – which it really shouldn’t be in this day and age). Head on over to your webmaster tools and prepare to put together a disavow file. A good place to get your links is Majestic. Once you have done this, a great guide to compiling your disavow file for submission is over at Moz.
Follow this, submit your file, and you should be good to go.
Next, you just have to wait for your site to be re-crawled. If you’re in a hurry, you can always ping Google and hope that it gets done faster!