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Google’s Newest Updates: Penguin 4.0 and Google My Business Features

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As we’re fond of saying here on the WSOL blog, wherever Google goes, so goes the web. As the primary portal people use to find information online, Google is a massively important part of any organization’s digital strategy, so it’s essential to pay attention to any updates they make and how those changes affect how people can find you online.

So what’s the latest news from Google? Today, we’re looking at the “final” release of Google’s Penguin algorithm and some new features that are available in the Google My Business API.

Penguin 4.0

It was almost a year ago that Google announced that they would be releasing version 4.0 of their Penguin algorithm, and that change finally went into effect on September 23, 2016. The purpose of the Penguin algorithm is to target “black hat” linking techniques that people have historically used to artificially increase their sites’ search rankings. With this new release, Penguin operates in real time, and it is now part of Google’s core algorithm, meaning that it will not be receiving new updates separate from the rest of Google’s algorithms.

So what does this mean for you? Previously, sites which had been targeted as spam by the Penguin algorithm would have to wait until the next Penguin refresh before seeing any positive changes to their rankings once they had removed any bad links. Now, with the algorithm operating in real time, these changes should occur much more quickly.

In addition, Penguin now operates on a more granular level, devaluing individual links rather than decreasing search rankings for an entire site. This will provide site owners with more confidence as they build links, since even if Penguin determines that a link is spammy, it will only devalue that individual link rather than penalizing the entire site. This also reduces the potential impact of negative SEO, in which someone tries to hurt their competitors’ SEO by pointing bad links at their site.

Google My Business API

Google My Business is a great tool for any company, allowing businesses to manage their company profile on Google, ensuring that people who search for them are able to find their location, contact information, reviews, and any other information they want to share. In September 2016, Google released version 3.1 of the Google My Business API, which includes new features that provide business owners with even more power.

With the Google My Business API, website owners can connect their website or app to their Google My Business profile, providing them with a number of great tools, including specifying which important details will display in search results (e.g. menu options for restaurants or highlighted products for retail stores). With the new features that have been added, business owners can now subscribe to push notifications whenever someone leaves a review of their organization, and they can update their location data in real time.

Making the Most of Google’s Updates

It can be difficult to keep up with all of the updates that Google makes, especially when you’re concerned with your own company’s day to day operations. That’s where a partner like WSOL can help. If you’re looking to implement the features provided by the Google My Business API or ensure that your site isn’t negatively affected by the Penguin algorithm, please contact us, and we’ll work with you to get the most out of the tools that Google provides. Do you have any other questions about Google updates? Please feel free to let us know in the comments below!

About the Author

Matt Brady
Matt Brady
When working at WSOL Matt was our Content Specialist and was responsible for managing our blogging and social media efforts. He compiled, edited, published, and shared WSOL's content, bringing his expertise in writing, spelling, and grammar to keep our content creation efforts on a consistent schedule. He also worked with Google Analytics, Google Adwords, and HubSpot to provide our clients with the marketing data that they needed to reach their audience online. Matt enjoys watching movies and TV, reading comics and science fiction, and playing with his children. He maintains a sporadically-updated blog, where he posts reviews of comics and movies.
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