What is Penguin?
In a nutshell, Penguin is a specific signal of Google’s algorithms for their search engine that looks over backlinks that are linking to your page. Penguin was initially launched in 2012 while making various updates throughout the years. Penguin was essentially created to promote or demote a web page in Google’s search results based on the quality of the links that are pointing to that page or site (backlinks). This check was put into place when spammy sites would link out to more credible ones to increase their authority, all while providing no substance for or relevance to the site they are linking to.
What is new in Penguin 4.0?
The largest part of the update in Penguin 4.0 is that the crawl will now be updated in real time. Previously, the backlink scan would update or refresh sites at the same time periodically. Now with 4.0, sites will be crawled and updated in real time allowing for a much faster change in rankings.
The other change to Penguin is that it has become more granular. This means that the rankings affected from spam are only issued to single pages themselves, rather than the overall site authority. So if a spam site is linking to a particular blog on your page, the penalty will only be in the form of that blog web page ranking lower as opposed to the entire site decreasing in authority.
What does it mean for you?
Pretty much what you should keep in mind as a site owner, marketer, or SEO specialist is to do backlink checks for your site regularly. As soon as you detect any poor quality backlinks, be sure to immediately disavow or remove them. Aim to stay up-to-date on this screening as often as possible.
Lastly, keep in mind that the Penguin crawler is just one of many (about 200) signals used to determine the ranking factor from Google. While it is important to stay current on your backlink analysis, it is not the only, or even most crucial aspect of where your site will rank in search engines.