The Penguin update from Google has been in business since 2012, and after a waiting of about two years, they are updating the algorithm to version 4.0. This is the last release of the type, as Penguin has become a real time signal processed algorithm.
In simple terms, Penguin is a filter that is used to capture websites spamming the SERP in ways that are not detected by Google’s regular anti spam filters. With the latest update to the algorithm, it would run and capture links that are deemed spammy, and websites will be penalized accordingly. Even if you have disavowed spammy links, it could take months to show up the results until Penguin re-crawls the page again.
The last update for the Penguin algorithm happened in October 17, 2014, making it Penguin 3.0. You should note that the websites that were hit by this algorithm had to wait for about two years to be free. However, as per Google, these long delays in updates are a thing of the past, and with the latest release, Penguin has become real time. As the Google search engine re-indexes and re-crawls the pages, the pages will be assessed by Penguin, and pages will be captured or freed by the Penguin filter pretty fast.
Google said about the update in their post that, “With this change, Penguin’s data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we recrawl and reindex a page.” However, they further added that, “Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.”
Penguin was a sitewide penalty before the update. When asked about being granular, Google said, “It means it affects finer granularity than sites. It does not mean it only affects pages.” The update to Penguin algorithm will obviously lead to many changes in SEO. Obviously, most of the changes would relate to spammy link checking and disavowing, and the best SEO services have already implemented that strategy.