Google has been long known for their continual algorithm updates. In fact, Moz reports that “Google changes its search algorithm around 500–600 times each year.” One of the latest updates was Penguin 4.0, which took place in late September 2016. This is yet another update following the original Penguin back in 2012, which primarily penalized sites with questionable/spammy links point to them.
Although it’s unlikely that Penguin 4.0 will have any major, earth shattering implications, it’s a good idea for your law firm to understand the basics so you’ll know how to approach SEO more effectively moving forward. Here are the details.
Penguin is Now Part of Google’s “Core Algorithm”
Information from the Google Webmaster Central Blog reports “after a period of development and testing, we are now rolling out an update to the Penguin algorithm in all languages.” This basically means that Penguin is now part of the focal point of Google’s overall algorithm and heavily impacts where content winds up in SERPs.
It’s in Real-Time
Google also reports “with this change, Penguin’s data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we recrawl and reindex a page.” So instead of having Googlebot and other crawlers index new content after a period of time, they will do so instantaneously.
Let’s say that your law firm’s website received a few links from highly credible, authoritative publications. Rather than seeing your link profile and ranking improve after a period of days, weeks or even months, they should improve much quicker.
On the other hand, if your website receives links from spammy, low-quality or irrelevant sites, your rankings are going to diminish much quicker. The bottom line here is that you’ll want to be diligent about achieving and maintaining a good link profile. If you need some guidance in this area, this post from Quick Sprout can help.
Penalties Will Be on a Page-By-Page Basis
According to Google, “Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.” In other words, Penguin 4.0 is much more granular nowadays. This differs from Penguin in the past because it used to be that one problem area of a website could adversely impact the entire domain as a whole.
But now, Google will examine your law firm’s site on a page-by-page basis, which should be a good thing because you’re less likely to suffer from stiff penalties. But regardless, you’ll still want to be diligent about your link profile and be careful about which sites are pointing to you. If you know for a fact that there are questionable links leading to your law firm’s site, you’ll want to disavow them, which you can learn about here.
If you hope to climb the search engine rankings, it’s essential that you stay on Google’s good side. One of the ways that you do that is to stay up-to-date on algorithm updates and other SEO trends. By understanding the implications of Penguin 4.0, you should be in pretty good shape as we transition into 2017.