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How Penguin 4.0 Impacts Small Business SEO


Google's algorithm update, Penguin 4.0, is all grown up and ready to impact search results. As a small business owner, you need to understand how this will impact your small business SEO strategy.

Previous versions of Penguin were launched every 3-6 months to help the core algorithm rank pages fairly, with little link-spam influence. Starting September 23rd, Google made Penguin 4.0 an integrated, real-time component of the daily algorithm.

Need a refresher on what the heck Penguin is all about? 

At a very high level, Penguin 3.0 and 4.0 crack down on sites that use "black-hat" seo tactics to get links from other sites. These tactics include

  • buying links,
  • spamming other site's comment sections,
  • and doing massive link swapping
solely for the purpose of increasing link volume. (Thus, increasing page rank in search engines inorganically.)

The good news for small businesses with a solid and ethical SEO strategy is that they will continue to rise to the top while the spammers will fall from grace.

A round of applause for Google Penguin 4.0!

What Does An Adult Penguin 4.0 Look Like?

Penguin 4.0 acts much like it's predecessors, penalizing websites that have spammy inbound links. There are a few major differences:

1 - Penguin 4.0 Is Always Waddling Running

Previously, Google ran Penguin against its search results database intermittently. Refinements would be made every 3-6 months. Penguin 4.0 is now running constantly, in real time as a part of Google's core algorithm. It's all grown up!

You used to have 3-6 months to use Google's disavow tool and submit proof of removing bad links before the filter penalized your site. There's nowhere to hide now!

On the flip side, you had to wait 3-6 months to starting ranking again. That's an eternity online! Now, adjustments will be made in a matter of days with Penguin 4.0. 

2 -  Penguin 4.0 Uses A More Mature Approach To Punishing Websites

An adult Penguin uses a more delicate touch when handing out punishments to offending sites.

Previously, a website's entire domain was impacted. This meant that if one page on your site had spammy links pointing to it, your entire website was pushed WAY down in the search engines. While it certainly sent a message, it also impacted some sites too severely, especially those that had spammy links they didn't ask for.

Penguin 4.0 may still impact an entire domain if Google finds a sizable percentage of your site is breaking the rules. But, for those instances where just a few pages are on the naughty list, only those pages will be left with no search rank under the tree.

Note - you shouldn't have to submit links that you disavow, or submit evidence that you're trying to drop bad links anymore. With Penguin running all of the time, it should know when you've dropped the bad links. However, we still recommend submitting disavows for the foreseeable future to be on the safe side.

3 - Penguin 4.0 Knows When It's Dealing With A Class Of Hellions

If all or most of a keyword's best search results are impacted by spam links, Penguin 4.0 will lower the bar for this group of hellions. It will simply give no or low value to the links, rather than punishing the entire group.

They do this because, in the grand scheme of things, they still want to deliver the best results for their users. 

Overall, an adult Penguin is much more refined and sophisticated. It has WAY more responsibilities now that it has a full time job. It's earned that spiffy tuxedo.

What Does Penguin 4.0 Mean For Small Business SEO?

You might be thinking that penguins are cute and all, but who cares? 

If you have a white-hat, ethical SEO strategy (or work with a small business seo provider), you'll reap the rewards of ethical SEO. 

Small businesses that have used shady SEO services or practice link spamming will now be caught and penalized faster.

But, What If I Don't Know If My Site Will Get Along With Penguin 4.0?

Unfortunately, using best practices and good partners doesn't guarantee that a bad site won't link to you. This means it's important to analyze who is linking to your content on a monthly basis. If you see a shady link, report it as a disavowed link to Google and request that the link be removed.

The Bottom Line - Produce Great Content That Earns Links Naturally

Why is Google fighting so hard against link-spamming? It disrupts one of the fundamental components of their search algorithm: links as references for quality content.

By producing excellent, educational content that resonates with your audience, you will generate links to your content organically because other websites will value your content and share it. You don't need (and should never) buy links or use a link-building service to grow your inbound links. Do it the right way by producing awesome content that earns links from other sites!

Want to see if your site's SEO is on-point or lacking? Download the checklist below. We can even evaluate your site for you, FREE of charge!

Free SEO Checklist for B2B - Click to Download