Google considers many signals when tailoring search results to a user’s query and Penguin refers to one of those signals. First rolled out in 2012, the Penguin update took into account the links pointing to your site. If those links came from sites that were spammy or had a low quality score, your site would likely drop in rank.
There have been a few updates to the update over the years, including one last September.
Link-related changes in rank now in real-time
Known as Penguin 4, the latest update is also called the Real-Time Penguin Update.
It used to be that changes you made to your site in regard to links – whether good or bad – would not take immediate effect. You had to wait for one of Google’s periodic “refreshes,” where the search engine would factor in changes made to the link profiles of sites across the web and hand out or remove penalties accordingly.
That changed in September. Refreshes will now happen constantly and changes in rank based on links – whether good or bad – will be gradual. No longer do you have to wait months to see changes based on your efforts. And in the event that your efforts prove unfruitful, no longer do you have to make additional changes and then twiddle your thumbs.
Penguin 4 and your SEO strategy
Before Penguin 4, if there was no refresh in the immediate future, your link profile might have been on the backburner. Now, every day you allow a spammy link to weigh you down, rather than remove or disavow it, is a missed opportunity; every quality link your competition acquires helps them eat into your lead or puts them ahead.
It’s a little daunting but it’s also enticing. Because link building is a time-consuming endeavor and its ramifications used to be manifested sporadically, it’s likely been a low priority for you. Fortunately, the same is likely true for your competition.
Now that you can utilize real-time Penguin refreshes to get ahead, it may be time to move link building to the forefront of your SEO strategy. And one quality link goes a long way toward establishing favorable rank.
Penguin 4 has brought about a few other changes as well, including rank adjustment that affects the page in question rather than the whole site. Get acquainted with them all so you can factor them into your link-building strategy, which is perhaps more important now than ever.