For over two years now, business owners and content strategists alike have waited with bated breath for Penguin 4.0 to take effect. On Friday, Google confirmed this much anticipated update had finally landed.

We're celebrating Penguin real-time and granular
Penguin has landed – it’s time to celebrate!

Now that audience-first content is more important than ever, we explore what the Google Penguin update means for your business.

Laying keyword stuffing and unnatural links to rest

While Google’s search quality guidelines emphasise the importance of quality content, their algorithms haven’t always worked that way in practice.

Previously, many business owners have been frustrated to see competitor sites with objectively poorer, keyword-stuffed content, ranking higher than them in search results.

Penguin was set to change things. This Google algorithm update was heralded as the nail in the coffin for spammy sites which fail to put the user first.

Hooray! Keyword stuffing won't work anymore!
Hooray! Keyword stuffing and unnatural links won’t work anymore!

Putting user experience and informational needs first

When Google originally announced Penguin in 2012, they explained it aimed to “help searchers find sites that provide a great user experience and fulfil their information needs”.

As such, Penguin was designed to decrease rankings for sites that violate Google’s existing search quality guidelines. Pages meeting a user’s informational needs – with expert, authoritative and trustworthy content – should be favoured in search results.

But, because the update was rolled out in phases, sites had yet to feel it’s true effect.

Content for everyone
The wait is over – the final phase of Penguin is here!

So those of us creating quality, audience-led content have been very excited about this final phase of Penguin’s roll-out.

Penguin is now real-time and granular

As announced on Friday, the Penguin update is now part of Google’s core algorithm – and it’s both real-time and granular. It looks like the update came into effect around the 2nd of September.

But what does this mean?

The real-time nature of the update means changes in visibility will be more immediate. The quality of your content will be assessed on a continual basis, so everything you publish counts.

And granular? Well, Google now looks at specific pages or sections of a site. This makes it more important than ever to ensure each and every page of your site serves your user’s needs well.

Will your site be affected by Penguin?

If your site’s content is written for your audience-first and is based on a sound content strategy – then you shouldn’t have anything to fear from this update.

Audience led sites win
Audience-first content wins!

In fact, you may well see your visibility start to increase as other poor-quality sites fall down the rankings.

If you’re unsure how your site will fair, consider investing in a content audit. This is an assessment of how well your site’s content currently meets your audience’s needs and the needs of search engines.

What should you do if your site’s visibility drops?

If you do see your organic visibility reduce over the coming weeks, it could be that your site is being penalised by Penguin.

Don’t panic.

You should start seeing your visibility improve once you invest in improving your content.

And your site won’t be kept under a penalty for an age while the algorithm refreshes, because Penguin now assesses content in real-time.

Celebrating audience-led sites

Here at Unramble, we’re super excited about what this update represents.

Penguin 4.0 promises to usher in an era of outstanding, audience-led content being much more visible online. (Cue us envisioning a hazy content utopia where every user comes away from a site feeling amazing).

User-led content utopia
You’re welcome at our user-first content utopia anytime.

We’d be interested to hear how your site’s visibility is affected – so please do share any insights with the Unramble community. You can tweet us or leave a comment below.

If you need help improving your site’s content in light of the Penguin update – don’t hesitate to get in touch. Quality content is our favourite thing.

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26th September 2016

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