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Google Penguin 4

Google never stops regarding updates to its algorithm.  If you are someone operating in the search engine optimisation community, you probably are well aware of that at this point!  Google was busy once again in the fall of 2016 with significant changes.  The biggest was that of Google Penguin 4.  Dropping in September of that year it marked a major shift for the search engine giant that still impacts the Internet today.

There was a lot of confusion in September of that year as many did not know what the Google update accomplished.  We noticed significant changes taking place in search engine rankings.  Things seemed to be jumping around quite a bit, with sites going up and down in the ranks regularly.  

Getting Up to Speed With Google Penguin 4 and a Possum

Search engine results page trackers began to see some big changes around the 1st of September, 2016.  Fluctuations started to be picked up by monitoring tools that showed drastic changes in the results.  

The whole idea of a search engine results tool is to be able to pick out abnormalities.  It is about detecting when there is a shift, and it is then up to the search engine optimisation professional to isolate the change and try to capitalize on it.

Google Penguin 4 arrived along with what many still know today as Google Possum.  The Google Possum update had an impact on local search results on an international scale.  For example, businesses that were not in the center of a city began to rank lower.  If you had an address near the dead center in your town, your rank went up.  

Local results that shared the same address also began to be filtered out.  The elimination of duplicate addresses made it complicated if you were a business that shared an office with someone else.

In the event you were genuinely looking for something local, Google began to use your location, where your internet provider address targeted you, to get you the best results.  Long tails gave a lot more variation regarding search engine results as well.  If you change up the way you search for a keyword, city, as well as state combination it would have an overall impact.  

The changes continued for the entire month of September until September 23, 2016.  That is the day Google Penguin 4 arrived.  As with all things Google, you cannot fight it you just have to embraced it and adapt!

The Changes Penguin 4 Brought

Google Penguin 4 brought with it a lot of announcements that continue to have an impact on the search engine optimisation community today.  Google made the switch to what is known as real-time crawling with the update!

With past Google Penguin updates, if the changes had a negative impact on your search engine rankings, you would have to adjust and then wait for the next Google Penguin update to be released.  It would be later that your site and associated pages would be re-crawled and evaluated once again.  That changed with Google Penguin 4 as the real-time changes you make will have your links re-evaluated.

Google also got more specific as to what parts of a site had an impact.  Google focused more on pages individually than site-wide activity.  You could have two pages on a website, one that ranks high and one very low based on its quality of content, keywords, etc.  If you over optimised on your anchor text that could rag one site down versus another.

No Widespread Penalties

There were no widespread penalties with the Google Penguin 4 update.  The penalties experienced were much more niche, focusing on pages that had poor content quality.  It could also be that certain sites or pages had far too much optimisation within them.  

Google wanted to look for sites that were natural, that met the match of what a Google user was trying to query.  Once they met the match, those are the results they wanted to display to the reader.

Making a Shift After the Google Penguin 4 Update

The most significant shift that sites had to make after the Penguin 4 update was around anchor text that had far too much optimisation.  If you take the time to clean that up and you get rid of lower quality links, you will likely see real-time results and improvements.  The Google Penguin 4 rolling feature, the real-time re-crawling of your site makes it easier than ever to shift and regain your position.

Google continues to optimise what it is doing with the Penguin updates.  What you are always going to want to do is to take time to look at your anchors.  Use a tool such as the shreds site explorer.  Clean up any links that you just do not need on there and try to replace them with links of higher quality.

Google is Always Changing

You have to remember that Google is always changing.  They continue to try and evolve, always making their search engine better in their eyes.  As those working in the search engine optimisation community, you have to continue to pivot.  Adapt to the changes and try to optimise in your favour.  

The best way go-forward with this is to continue to focus on quality content that meets the needs of your target audience.  You have to continue to keep your link building natural.  You should not fear a site page that is not entirely optimised.  In the eyes of Google that can be a good thing!  Change up your anchors to see how that impacts search engine rankings results.

High-quality links and content that is authoritative are pivotal.  Work on getting that type of material out there so that it can be crawled and have a dirty impact on where you get placed in the ranking results.   Google is never going to stop with the updates; there is no finish line.  All we can do is continue to bob, weave, and improve our sites to increase our spot on search engine results pages.