Google’s algorithm, Penguin is likely to be updated by the end of the year according to industry experts.

Gary Illyes, a Google Webmaster Trends Analysis has confirmed that Google’s new algorithm, Penguin 4.0 is to be released by either November or December of this year.

Penguin was first released back in April of 2012 and drastically changed the way marketing was done online. In fact, Penguin changed the entire landscape of SEO and forced marketers to learn a whole new way of promoting online.

What many people don’t know however, is that when Penguin was first released the full effects were not really felt. Many spammy sites still passed through the algorithm undetected and rankings were not really changed.

Fast forward a couple of years however and Penguin slowly evolved into a high functioning algorithm that was able to detect spam and influence the way rankings were listed on search results.

Backlink building and guest posting also lost credibility and mobile ranking and social media started to take the lead.

While it is not yet clear what Penguin 4.0 may have in store for the world of online marketing just yet, it is believed that the new update is expected to include a real time algorithm. This means that Penguin 4.0 will update continuously in real time and on an on-going basis as necessary.

A spokesperson from Google stated-

“The last big update is still rolling out- though really there won’t be a particularly distinct end point to the activity, since Penguin is shifting to more continuous updates. The idea is to keep optimising as we go now.”

This is mostly good news for website owners as the continual updating should make Penguin 4.0 far more accurate than previous versions especially when it comes to sourcing spammy links.

In the past, if Penguin wrongly detected your site as being spam it was sometimes months before you could do anything to correct it as you had to wait for the algorithm to update. Algorithm updates were also few and far between. Infact, the last time Google updated Penguin was over a year ago back in October 2014.

As blogger and freelance content strategist, Dan Virgillito states-

“The worst part about it (Penguin), for many webmasters, is how rarely it updates. When you are stuck with a Penguin penalty, you can be stuck for months, even if you immediately fix the issues that led to the penalty.”

With Penguin 4.0 updating all the time however, any corrections marketers or web-owners make to their site will help it to be instantly whitelisted again.

This of course is excellent news for website owners and marketers as it gives more of an opportunity to correct any issues and test out different ways of getting traffic.

While specifics are yet to be released by Google in regards to Penguin 4.0, one thing is for sure that Penguin is really here to stay whether you love it or hate it.

Updates are also expected to happen more frequently and with less fan fare as everything will be automatically tweaked in real time.

This is very similar to what Google has done with Panda. Panda has been integrated into the Penguin algorithm and is constantly updated as and when it needs to, rather than scheduling a massive update every year or so.

As usual, the internet is rife with predictions as to what Penguin 4.0 will include or not include. Here are our favourites of what we have read so far:

Predictions for Google’s Penguin 4.0 Update

  • Penguin will not require data refreshes and will instead work with a live index
  • Penguin will either tighten the restrictions that are already in place or shift the power of balance, it seems that the real-time algorithm will either be one way or the other
  • Mobile site ranking will continue to dominate
  • Personalised content will be given preference
  • Social media will continue to have an indirect effect on site ranking
  • External links will continue to lose credibility as will brand mentioning
  • Preference will be given to content shared across multiple channels
  • Google’s knowledge graph will continue to expand, potentially reducing organic traffic
  • Smart watches and mobile surfing will impact local searches

Of course, no one really knows what Google have planned however, there are a few things your business can do to protect itself.

This includes:

  • Use Google’s Disavow Tool to clear up any links that need to be removed
  • Ensure that your content is written for the consumer and not for ranking purposes or SEO
  • Optimise your mobile site by making it easy to use and search friendly
  • Staying updated with the latest news from Google
  • Stay consistent with good SEO practices

Until its release, Penguin 4.0 will remain a mystery however, if it is like any of Google’s recent algorithm updates it seems that once the initial hype around the changes dies off, the algorithm specifics will quickly become the industry norm.