Certainly, Google has started the new season on fire. In the last days, the Mountain View company has been hitting the headlines again with fresh news in interconnected areas that might give us a glimpse of our digital future. One of this big news was the announcement of the long-awaited update of the Penguin algorithm that, for sure, has filled SEOs with more than joy. But why is the Penguin update so important?
Penguin, like Panda, is one of the more than 200 unique signals that make up Google’s algorithms. As Google mentioned in its announcement post, these signals are responsible, for example, for “the specific words that appear on websites or the freshness of content”.
Penguin was born in 2012 and its latest update, reported last week, makes Penguin become core, real-time, and granular. But how can SEOs benefit from these new specs?
In which way will Penguin 4.0 affect SEO?
As a comprehensive update, the new Penguin 4.0 will reward SEO’s work as never before. Although, it is still early to draw any conclusion concerning the impact this new update will have on SEOs work some reputable experts, such as Eric Enge, have indicated that impact will only be felt as Google completes a recrawl of the web:
— Eric Enge (@stonetemple) 23. September 2016 «
In any case, the new specs of Penguin are powerful enough both to confirm that SEOs good practices will be honoured even more and to indicate which new opportunities webmasters should take advantage of and which new threatens webmasters must keep an eye on.
Our SEO expert Emanuele Pasin is categorical with regard to the opportunities webmasters can take up:
» Fortunately, webmasters, who have been penalised from Penguin, don’t need to wait for the next Penguin update to recover. In the pre “real-time Penguin era” it could have taken months or a year before they could see any ranking improvements, even if they cleaned up their backlinks as soon as they noticed they have been penalized”. «
On the contrary, the granularity improvement, through which Google Penguin can not only penalise the whole domain like before but also a sub-directory or even a single page of a website, presents also some shadows. Emanuele indicates that it is more difficult to understand now what to do in case a certain website is not performing well in the SERPs: Why is a page on a certain website not ranking? Is there any technical problem? Are there wrong keywords targeted? Are the websites linking the site of poor quality?
» Either way, in the “real-time Penguin era” it will become more and more important to monitor continuously technical content and offpage SEO aspects, in order to decide which action must be taken to improve rankings, Emanuele predicts. «
Facial search in the horizon
But Google is also looking at the consumer and thinking how they can answer to the questions consumers address in their search engine more accurately.
They are aware of the popularisation of virtual assistants and voice search, which performs differently from typing search, as we have already explained. Following this line, it seems like Google is interested in developing facial searches as well, since it was reported that they patented a technology that would modify rankings of search via “biometric indicators of user satisfaction”.
How will these indicators be captured? The smartphone is the key. The facial indicators will be measured and captured through the camera of the user’s phone. For example: Let’s say a user searches for “Bakery in Barcelona” and the first result is one bakery the user had a bad experience with. The biometric indicator powered by the search engine notes the user’s initial negative reaction and pushes that bakery down in the search list. On the contrary, if the user loves that place the search engine will count that positive reaction and subsequently rank the result higher.
The question is: Is Google crossing their line of creep with this technology? Don’t forget, even Mark Zuckerberg taped his notebook-camera.
For now we have to say that user’s smartphones can also be used to measure body temperature and heart rates, which can also indicate reactions or emotions as a sort of polygraph or “wish detector”.
The smartphone as a catalyst of innovation
In this sense, the direction the future is taking is exciting but spookily uncertain. What is sure is that the smartphone will play an indispensable role at all levels. This is proven by the launch of the AI messaging app “Allo” to compete not only with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger but also with the Asian giant WeChat as well as by the development of a new operating system called “Andromeda”, that will presumably be able to canalise all these advancements.