Google update: Penguin 4.0 is here!

After months of teasing us, Google finally rolled out the Penguin 4.0 update this past week! It’s affecting sites in different ways, but one of the best bits of news is that if you’ve been hit by Penguin, your site can recover a lot more quickly. This update works in real time, unlike previous versions, so if you’ve done your disavows and cleaned up your site like you should have, recovery should start right away.

It hasn’t made the huge splash we might have expected, at least not yet. The temperature checkers at MozCast and other spots haven’t shown much of anything since Google announced the update. There were some changes earlier in the month, but they’ve reversed, leaving things back the way they were.

So, what does this update mean? We’ve found that it’s begun punishing spammy sites, just like we’d predicted earlier this year. The example ‘skip bin site’ I’ve been referring to isn’t anywhere to be found any more. They had 53 different domains linking to them, which I thought was ridiculous for that type of company.

Google must have agreed, because they’re no longer in the top 20 results for skip bins. I can still find some other sites in the top 20 with spammy backlinks, but that’s Google. They may be moving on those sites later, it’s hard to tell.

Another thing Google has announced about this update, which should be a benefit, is that it affects specific pages, not entire websites. Penguin would have hit entire domains in past versions, but today it only bothers with pages with lots of backlinks. This can still affect your pages, but it should be easier to recover if you’ve been hit.

If you’ve been affected by Penguin 4.0, let us know. I’d love to track the changes your site makes as it recovers.

For more information, visit the StewArt website.

Jim Stewart is a leading expert in search engine optimisation. His business StewArt Media has worked with clients including Mars, M2 and the City of Melbourne.


Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
5 years ago
5 years ago

Ha ha ha! You’re so early. Google launched it on 23 September, 2016 but you wrote about this pich today.

SmartCompany Plus

Sign in

To connect a sign in method the email must match the one on your SmartCompany Plus account.
Or use your email
Forgot your password?

Want some assistance?

Contact us on: or call the hotline: +61 (03) 8623 9900.