Will Google’s Penguin 4.0 update affect your business?

Published on Business stage: Scaling, Starting

miriam sauter - digital strategy directorMiriam Sauter, Digital Strategy Director of Hit Search Ltd  

The news is out. Penguin 4.0 is officially running in real-time and in all languages as part of Google’s core algorithm update.

What is Penguin?

Since 2012 Penguin has been a major signal in Google’s core ranking algorithm which consists of more than 200 signals. Penguin 4.0 is its fourth major release. 

What you need to know about Penguin 4.0

Here are the key changes Google has released with Penguin 4.0:

  • “Penguin is now real-time. Historically, the list of sites affected by Penguin was periodically refreshed at the same time. Once a webmaster considerably improved their site and its presence on the internet, many of Google's algorithms would take that into consideration very fast, but others, like Penguin, needed to be refreshed. With this change, Penguin's data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we re-crawl and re-index a page. It also means we're not going to comment on future refreshes.
  • Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting the ranking of the whole site.” (Source:
  • Apart from the fact of Penguin 4.0 now being real-time, the above statement by Google makes us assume that it will also operate page-specific, rather than site-wide, which is a big change from previous releases.

Will Penguin 4.0 affect your business?

According to the software provider,, only 5% to 6% of all websites may have been affected by Penguin 4.0’s initial rollout. However, Google mentioned that the update is yet to be fully rolled out. Therefore, we can’t assess the full impact of it on SERP rankings, conversion and traffic figures just yet. 

“If Google regularly revisits your pages, then you should likely see the change quickly. If Google comes to your site more infrequently, it may take longer”, states 

How do I know if I have been affected by Penguin 4.0?

Here are few things you can do in order to monitor and assess if you’re website has been affected by Penguin 4.0.

  1. Visit Search Console’s search analytics section and check your impressions, clicks, CTR and average position. Have you noticed any large drops since Friday, 23rd September 2016?  
  2. Check your organic traffic stats in Google Analytics. Take a look at the overall traffic as well as key landing pages via the organic traffic segment. Do you see significant fluctuations when comparing the time period post-Penguin 4.0 versus the previous week? 
  3. Run a link audit and take stock of your current backlink profile. Have any spammy links cropped up which you weren’t aware of previously? 
  4. Update your disavow file with any spammy backlinks and domains.   
  5. Make sure that all your outreach practises adhere to Google’s link scheme guidelines.

Would you like a link audit of your website post-Penguin 4.0? Why not contact us online today or call 0845 643 9289. The Hit Search tech SEO team will run a comprehensive link audit of your website and help you assess if you’ve been affected by Penguin 4.0.

For more help about your website use our Advice Finder search


Speak to us

If you’re not sure what sort of help you need, get in touch and we’ll help you work things out.

Leaf Leaf