Google Penguin Update 2016: Penguin 4.0 September 2016

Google Penguin Update 4.0 rolled out in September 2016, which will impact search results in real-time at the page level


Google Penguin Update 2016 came into action on 23rd –September -2016, name Google Penguin 4. This rollover was made to punish the site owners who were constantly involved in buying backlinks to get a boost in their search results.

Present penguin update will impact real-time search results and it covers on page level rather than the entire site as it was as per the previous update. Penguin 4.0 calculates spam or low quality or bad backlinks from page-level and punishes those pages and demotes them in their search results.

For an eg: If any of your inner section or a particular page in your site is linked from relevant high-quality backlinks then that page will be ranked higher rather than the homepage whether it is ranked or not. It works the same proportionately for spammy or manipulated pages hence it denotes those pages.


Google Penguin Update 4.0 makes the internet stricter or allow only the websites that we’re working on to remove bad links to regain their ranking. This present update allows these changes to take effect immediately must faster than before. One good thing is that the present update will devalue only spam pages and not the entire site.

Penguin 4.0 update will devalue only spam pages and not the entire site.

Penguin 4.0 Update is real-time that is when a bad link is pointing to your site, immediately that pages will be devalued in search results, and as soon as when you remove the bad link the things will become normal. Webmasters who are using unethical tactics to boost their rank will be caught immediately.
The aim of Penguin 4.0 is to maintain well, zero spam backlinked sites at top of the results in real-time and to prevent ranking of low, poor quality sites.

It becomes compulsory for every webmaster to frequently audit their backlink profile and take cleanup actions immediately and whenever necessary to maintain their ranking position.

Read this article about How to recover from Google Panda? As this deals with website content. Google Panda will penalize sites with low quality or thin contents rolled out since 2011.



Started in 2012 April, Google launches Penguin 1.0 on 24-APR-2012 which came like a tsunami and changed the entire web marketing system in a shorter period of time. The first update punishes the websites involved in keyword stuffing, cloaking, link schemes, duplicate contents.

Later, on 26-MAY-2016 Penguin 1.1 was rolled out because of compensating the severe impact caused by 1.0Update almost 60% of the market was changed upside down. It is just a data refresh process that is, providing a web form that allows the webmaster to appeal if their site was mistakenly penalized.

In the same year, 05-OCT-2012 Google released another update Penguin 1.2 to rectify errors in their previous updates.
Penguin 2.0 rolled out on 22-MAY-2013, with some advanced features to penalize the sites involved in activities of buying backlinks or creating spammy backlinks.

Later, Penguin 2.1 was released on 04-OCT-2013, with improvement in their filtering process and with minor changes. Slowly good sites were given back their rankings.

Penguin 3.0 was released on 17-OCT-2014, a year later with more improvements from their previous updates. It punishes the site that violates Google Webmasters Guidelines. Sites that were mistakenly ranked were taken down in this update, and other sites that appealed were reinstated in the search results. This penguin update was on the entire site level penalization of the sites involved in the action of buying backlinks, generating spammy backlinks, etc.

This is the time where Google announced that they are working on the algorithm that makes the changes in real-time faster. And as per their word the long wait was over after two years and in 23-SEP-2016 they launched Google Penguin Update 4.0 which works in real-time and much faster than previous updates.

If a spammy link points to your web page that page will be devalued and if you immediate action to remove the link, your page will be reinstated immediately. Moreover, this update was on the page level, and hence webmasters can sit relax and get their free breaths.


What are Bad Links?

Any link that is intended to manipulate Page Rank or Site rank in Google site results or any practice of link building schemes such as Buying backlinks, creating spammy links of large quantity from low-quality sites, etc or violating Google webmasters guidelines will all included in Penguin penalty.

All these are to produce the exact search results for the user queries and to make the internet more user-friendly.


Activities that show signs of bad links?

Links from low-quality Domains: Today anyone can start a domain. Many webmasters are involved in the activity of creating several domains with different identities under different locations and creating a backlink pointing to their prime domain. This causes a search engine ranking manipulation and thus Google catches this action and punishes the site for this activity.

Irrelevant sources of Content, are considered to be spam. For example, if you own a website about a Pizza delivery and you certainly share more information and advertisements about the lottery is considered to be spam.

Anything too much is not good and it fits for your content also. Your content should be focusing on and engaging about a particular topic but not too repetitive.

Asking for reciprocal links is also been a part of Penguin penalty action. Modern Google bots are clever enough to catch this kind of activities and we cannot escape from Google Spy.


How to Audit Backlinks and Remove Bad Links?

Bad links have always been a part of a headache to webmasters and a lot of ways are available to create such links in purpose to demote the site ranking. Some people were involved in this process just for money from their competitor sites.

It is, therefore, every webmaster’s duty to review their website more frequently to ensure that no such bad links are pointing.
Perform a frequent backlink audit to sort of these unnatural spammy links pointing to your site and remove those links.

There are some tools I suggest here was Semrush, Ahrefs, Smallseotools, Dmoz, etc. You can use this software and I better suggest you is to do a manual audit that gives maximum efficiency.

Continue reading: Find the ways to build high-quality backlinks

The process involves:

  • Collecting a list of Bad backlinks
  • Creating an Email Campaign and sending email to webmasters
  • Creating a Disavow file and uploading it to Google Search Console


Collect the list of bad backlinks. Now, you need to run a campaign of sending Emails to all the webmasters from whom the backlink came from. Create an Email template and do send a mail asking them to remove the link pointing to your Site or web page.

Wait for some time, and do an audit again to check whether those links were removed. If your links weren’t removed, then you need to create a disavow file with the list of bad links and need to upload it to Google Webmasters.


How to Upload Disavow file

Go to Google Search Console to start your Disavow process. Click this link to upload your Disavow file. You can read this forum about the process involved in uploading the Disavow file to Google Webmasters.

Once uploaded to the disavow file you can see the changes in your site ranking. As this new Google Penguin Update was coded for real-time analysis you can see the changes immediately. However, as a webmaster, you need to monitor those backlinks as long as your website were Live.



Google says this is a never-ending process and we will continue our rollout process and will launch new updates in the future. However, this new update was a somehow headache to all Webmasters over their SEO and Linking practices. Google Penguin Update will now be chugging all along and track everything in real-time.

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