Pre-Penguin 4.0 Real Time Update SEO Strategy for 2016


While the Penguin 4.0 real time update was expected to happen in 2015, it seems like Google officials are granting a grace period for marketers and webmasters to adjust their SEO strategy. Although there’s no exact timeframe, a tweet by Google’s Gary Illyes in January 2016 suggests that we should be expecting this update within weeks but most probably this quarter.

What to expect from Penguin 4.0b real time update?

When there’s an update in Google’s algorithm, the organic search rankings get affected for millions of websites. So what exactly should we expect from this upcoming update? Let’s take a look:

  • It’s expected to be much larger than the Penguin 3.0 update, which means that more websites will be affected with a dramatic rise or fall in their traffic.
  • Sites that have been penalized by the December 2014 update will have a chance to recover. However, this is only in case they have properly cleaned out the backlinks profile because this new update is likely to focus on low-quality backlinks.
  • The new algorithm is expected to roll out in real time according to another tweet by Gary Illyes. This means that once Google detect spammy links on a website, the site will experience an immediate impact. At the same time, this gives websites a chance to recover sooner.


How to avoid a Google Penguin 4.0 penalty

When you get penalized by Google, it’s likely that your site will not only be buried in search engine results but be taken off the map entirely. While it’s not impossible to remove the penalty, the process is long and complicated. This is why you should follow the best SEO practices from the start in order to avoid the penalty.

The upcoming Penguin 4.0 update makes it crucial that you review the links related to your site whether it’s external or internal and especially the anchor text cloud. Here are a few ways you can improve your SEO strategy for 2016 to avoid a penguin penalty from Google:

  • Disavow spammy or low-quality backlinksBacklinks are highly important for your search rankings. While quality backlinks can improve your ranking to a certain degree, spammy or low-quality backlinks will do the exact opposite. What you can do is perform a backlink audit to ensure that only trusted and quality websites are linking to yours. You can use the Monitor Backlinks SEO tool for this, as a manual audit may be too time-consuming.Backlinks-for-your-website
  • While you can contact site owners to manually remove their links to your website, it may be difficult to reach them at times. In such cases, you can contact Google to disavow the links. This means that you’re telling Google you don’t want to be associated with those sites yet are unable to remove the links.
  • Analyze anchor text distributionAnchor text distribution is another important factor that will determine whether or not you will get a penalty from Google. For instance, most of your backlinks should use anchor texts containing your website’s name. With external links, you need to ensure that they use your brand, long tail keywords, and URL instead of exact match keywords. I’ve noticed that exact match keywords really get the bad and drops in real time. Even couple of days back this page > showed big drop of it’s ranks for terms like “SEO consultant London“, “SEO Expert London” which it was on the 11th and 10th spots as some direct anchors were pointed at it by Kasun two days back. So the links were removed and things should rolls back soon with the social love and massive on page interactivity.


  • When you’re trying to rank using a certain keyword, Google may find it spammy if other sites link to your site with that exact keyword phrase. The anchor text or link text which leads users to your site should look organic and diverse. If you find that a website is using one of your keywords to link to yours, reach out to them and request them to mix up the anchor text.
  • Analyze quality of internal links – The Penguin 4.0 update will also focus on your internal links as well, meaning you need to review them before the update happens. You need to ensure that links from one page of your site to another aren’t too frequent and aren’t using exact match keywords. For instance, having one internal link in every paragraph is clearly overdoing it.
  • Web crawlers will follow every hyperlink on your web pages, so having too many links will confuse them and prevent them from ranking your site properly. You can use tools like Screaming Frog to crawl your site and analyze the quality of your internal links.


  • Look out for unusual increase in backlinksAlthough everyone wants to increase the number of linkbacks to their site, an unusual spike should not be overlooked. To prepare for the Penguin 4.0 update, you need to take a look at date from the past several months and monitor the total referring domains and the total referring pages. A drastic increase in these numbers over a short period of time may look suspicious in Google’s eyes.
  • What you can do about it in case this occurs is to follow the link disavowal or removal process as mentioned earlier. You can make use of the Ahrefs tool to monitor your backlink profile and determine



So you can see that there are a number of things you need to take care while planning the SEO strategy for 2016 in order to avoid getting penalized by Google. Make sure you prioritize on the quality of your backlinks and work to improve it. Maybe you’ve received a penalty before or you just want to prevent getting a penalty, you can use the tips mentioned above to update your SEO practices and prepare for the Penguin 4.0 update.

Author Profile

Fernando BiZ
The Founder & CEO of ClickDo Ltd. Writes about digital marketing and SEO for local businesses in International corporation. You can read more on OM HQ blog for more of my writings.
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