Google has officially launched the real-time Penguin

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We knew Real-Time Panda was coming.  We just didn’t know when.

2016-09-23_12-09-24Just a short time ago Gary Illyes, part of the Google Search Ranking Team, as well as a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, announced the Penguin update on the Google Webmaster Blog.

Here is what we know.

Penguin is now a core function of the ranking algorithm

As a core function, Penguin now one of the 200 signals that comprise Google’s basic search algorithm.

In the past, Penguin was a filter that was applied against Google’s existing database. That meant that when a web site got hit with a Penguin penalty, they’d have to wait months – years – until the filter was updated for their penalty to be removed.  But now, site owners will no longer need to wait for a Penguin update or refresh to happen in order to recover from Penguin.

Since Penguin’s data is refreshed in real time, changes will be visible much faster, typically after Google recrawls and reindexes a page.

As reported on The SEM Post, according to Google, “We look at the webmaster’s page and devalue incoming spam as we recrawl and reindex the particular page. So it’s the webmaster’s page that we’re taking about, not the spammy site.”

That means a page’s rankings will be reevaluated every time Google recrawls the page, and the impact of any incoming links – and spam – will be adjusted immediately.

Now, this still means that Google needs to crawl those pages where the spam links are, so that a disavow will be processed or for Googlebot to see that the link is no longer on the page.  But now those rankings can be adjusted in real-time, rather than waiting for a push.

Penguin becomes more targeted

In the past, Google has assessed Penguin penalties on a site-wide basis, but according to Google that won’t be the case going forward.  According to what Google told The SEM Post, “No, it means it affects finer granularity than sites. It does not mean it only affects pages.”

No more sitting around and waiting for Penguin updates

Real-time means that we won’t have to wait for updates to be made.  They’ll be happening on an ongoing basis.  But it also means that as was the case with Panda when it went real-time, Google won’t be making any public comments about Penguin related updates – current or planned.

If you’ve been hit with a Panda penalty, how quickly can you recover?

The short answer is immediately.  At least in theory.  Once Google has recrawled your page(s), you should see some changes if you’ve removed enough of the bad links.  If you want to push the process along, you can always do fetch and render on your important pages from Google Search Console.  That will trigger a recrawl.

Real-time Penguin won’t solve all your SEO problems

It is important to remember that Google’s core ranking algorithm has the ability to read as many as 200 signals.  While backlinks represent an important part of that algorithm, they’re not the only signal that matters.

Still, having too many poor quality or spammy links coming into your web site was never good idea. And now that Google has made Penguin real-time, it’s even less of a good idea.

Actively managing your link profile and disavowing those bad links is more important going forward than it ever was in the past.

We’ll add more to this post as details become available.

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