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Penguin 4.0 – The Recovery

Penguin 4.0 was released 23rd September 2016, almost 2 years after the last Penguin update. Many website that were hit by Penguin 3.0 have been waiting a long time to recover. This is the last release of its type, Google have stated that Penguin will now happen in real-time and is part of the core search algorithm. They will no longer confirm Penguin updates.

Unlike previous Penguin updates where websites were penalised over night, 4.0 has been a slow rolling update. Recoveries have been slow, with many SEO stating they didn’t see improvements until mid-October, when the update was fully rolled out.

What does Penguin in real-time mean?

Previously, if a website was hit by Penguin they would have to wait until the next Penguin update to recover. Any sites hit by Penguin 3.0 in October 2014 have had to wait nearly 2 years to recover. These long delays are now over thanks to Penguin happening in real-time. As Google re-crawls and re-indexes pages they will be assessed by the Penguin filter. Webpages will be hit and/or freed by Penguin as part of this continuous process.

Penguin Recoveries

Previously to working with us, one of our client’s websites was hit by a manual link penalty in May 2014 and their organic traffic decreased dramatically overnight. Their manual link penalty was revoked in September 2014, and their traffic improved but not at the level it once was. We began working with them in December 2014, and since then we have manually reviewed the website’s link profile periodically and updated and uploaded several disavow files.

Penguin 4.0 was released 23rd September and we saw an initial increase in search visibility by 14% after one week. By 13th October, Penguin 4.0 had fully rolled out and we saw a further increase in search visibility by 60%. Organic traffic in October has increased by nearly 60% MoM, and over 100% YoY. Organic traffic is now reaching and surpassing levels of traffic that we witnessed pre-link penalty.

What if you haven’t recovered?

Penguin 4.0 is now fully rolled out, and website’s that have taken the necessary steps to clean up their link profile will have seen a boost in rankings. If you have previously been penalised by Penguin and you still haven’t seen any recoveries, you may still need to clean up your links.