First rolled out on the 25th of May 2012 and last updated on the 17th of October 2014 the SEO community has been waiting a long time for this latest Penguin update (Penguin 4) announced by Google on Friday.

Over the years there have been a number of Google updates from the official ones such as Panda, Hummingbird, and RankBrain to the less official terms such as Pigeon and Possum but Penguin has always managed to remain a constant thorn in the side of many website owners.

As a quick reminder the Penguin algorithm was designed to prevent links that were either obviously paid for or very low quality from helping websites rank. However it seemed to go further than that by actually penalising sites that had used these techniques in the past, even the distant past. When it was first introduced it caused real problems for a lot of real companies, even pushing some out of business.

One of the main problems was that your site could only escape the effects of Penguin when it updated which was fine until Google stopped updating it. This left many businesses unable to improve the website positions. However Google have finally announced a new Penguin. So what is it?

This new Penguin (dubbed 4.0) is different from its predecessors in two key elements. First Google have confirmed that it is now real-time. This means that we no longer have to wait months or years between updates, it now reviews a site every time it is crawled.

The second element is that it is more granular. Google claim that rather than impacting the whole site they will now only penalise pages and keywords.

This news will be very welcome for those site owners that have invested in cleaning up their sites and can now hope to see an improvement in traffic but is also a reminder that Google is still trying to get rid of spam and bad links from the internet so serves as a useful reminder to focus on quality when link building.