Whatever its faults, Google has good intentions in promoting positive experiences for web users. Rewards in terms of higher page ranking are given for websites that offer benefits such as:

  • High quality informative content
  • Mobile friendly and responsive website design
  • Fast page load times
  • Authentic and relevant links
  • Evidence of user engagement


By the same token, it has consistently penalised spammy and black hat SEO techniques, primarily because these denigrate user experience of the internet, although a certain amount of irritation at those trying to cheat against Google rules must also come into it!

Penalties and disavowal

Google’s Penguin algorithm was introduced in order to identify websites thought to be spamming its search results. This dubious way of trying to boost search rankings was sometimes carried out by buying links or acquiring them through link networks. If sites then removed these links via Google’s disavowal tool or other methods, they might sooner or later regain their former ranking position - later being the more likely outcome!

While some website owners might be guilty of using spurious slinks to cheat search engines into boosting their rankings, others could be genuinely unaware that links to their sites were regarded as spammy. This could be true, for instance, if they had been established for some time and the website owners were unaware that their status had changed to be potentially regarded as spam. In any case, Google’s interpretation of what should be regarded as a relevant link could frequently be the subject of dispute.

Unfortunately, for websites that are willing to make the changes that Google requires, reinstatement of their page rankings can take a considerable time, which can directly impact on their business.

Quick recovery coming soon

Penguin real time

In a post of June 2015, Barry Schwarz in Search Engine Land explained: “Google’s Gary Illyes announced that Google is working toward a continuously running Penguin update. He admitted that Penguin currently runs slowly, but said Google is working to make it update in real time. If that happens, the algorithm will get data that is refreshed all the time. Currently, the data has to be manually refreshed to see any ranking changes for sites impacted by Penguin.”

Fast forward to 1st October 2015, and Barry Schwarz reported: “Google’s Gary Illyes said today at SMX East that next Penguin update will be in the “foreseeable” future, adding “I hope” by the end of the year and will be the real-time version of the algorithm…“

That means that as soon as Google discovers that a link is removed or disavowed, that the Penguin algorithm will process it in real time and you would be able to recovery from a Penguin penalty incredibly quickly. At the same time, you can end up with a Penguin penalty just as quickly.”

Well, that really has to be very good news indeed! Rules are rules, whether you agree with them or not, and Google’s extraordinarily powerful position in determining search page rankings means that you disobey theirs at your peril.

However, websites can fall foul of them unwittingly and not through any desire to cheat the system. So it is reassuring that soon they will be released from penalty directly after they have cleaned up their links. Roll on Real-Time Penguin, let’s be having you!

BBI Brandboost ranks SEO among its principal services and SEO strategies are hard wired into the content we produce to populate client websites. Contact us on 01494 452600 or by email to let us help you build your credibility and prominence with Google and other major search engines.