Penguin 4 Update: Starts with a Bang Before Quick Recall

Posted on 12 Jan by Mark Davie.

Over the Christmas break we have been working away at our clients’ SEO campaigns and have noticed some very slow movements in rankings. This is due to a lack of volatility in Google’s search algorithm during this time.

The below chart is based on data taken from a wide range of samples in a wide range of industries and calculates the volatility index of the search rankings on any given day. On a day with very few positional changes, the index might be low, around 1. However, as you can see on January 10, the index shot up to 3.74! We haven’t seen a day with ranking positions this volatile in over 2 years. This update is suspected to be a new quality update that Google has named “Penguin 4”. The purpose of Penguin 4 is to display even higher quality content for users using Google and to penalise websites that use spammy SEO techniques to gain rankings. Thankfully, we only use industry leading techniques that have little to no risk of negative consequences with updates like this.


In fact, over the weekend we noticed a healthy increase in the ranking positions for all of our SEO clients, however, some of these gains were promptly undone and previous rankings restored. This is suspected to be the result of an error in the algorithm on Google’s part and it looks as though the Penguin 4 roll-out may have been recalled. However, we suspect to see this update implemented again in the near future. We will get a clearer insight into the effects when Penguin 4 is correctly and completely rolled out. The brief snapshot that we saw on Sunday gives us a lot of optimism in regards to what this update will bring our clients.

If you are concerned about how this update may affect your business, please contact us for a review of your website and SEO campaign. There may be a small window of opportunity to remedy your potentially hazardous backlinks and optimise your onsite SEO for maximum benefit from this update.