L recently released Penguin 4.0, and the Penguin filter now updates in real time. Columnist Marcus Miller explores what this means for SEO and link building.

So it happened. Google finally released Penguin 4.0 — the last Penguin update of its kind, as it now processes in real time as a part of Google’s core ranking algorithm.

In this post, I want to take a look at what Penguin is, how this update affects the SEO community as a whole and how the brave and the bold can continue to safely improve their organic visibility without fear of repercussions from punitive search engine algorithms.

The announcement
After a few weeks of turbulence in the SERPs, the announcement that many had predicted was finally made.

The Penguin 4.0 announcement had two key points:

Penguin is now running in real time. This is really good news. There are lots of folks out there who have paid the price for low-quality SEO yet are still not seeing a recovery after removing or disavowing all of their spammy backlinks. Certainly, a house built on dodgy links will not spring back to a position of strength simply by removing those links; however, there are many businesses out there that seem to have been carrying algorithmic boulders around their digital ankles. Hopefully, these folks can now move on, their debt to a punitive algorithm update paid in full.
Penguin is now more granular. This element is a little more curious, in that Penguin 2.0 seemed to add page-level and keyword-level penalties, making it more granular than the 1.0 release. However, we can only imagine that things have got much more advanced, and possibly individual links are considered rather than the seemingly aggregate approach that was taken historically. Only time will tell the degree to which this granular approach will impact sites, but I suspect it will be a good thing for those looking to play by the rules.

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