Google Releases Penguin Update 2

No matter that it’s late Friday night on the start of a three-day holiday weekend in the U.S., Google has just pushed out the first update to its recent webspam-fighting Penguin algorithm. Let’s call it Penguin 2.

Google’s Matt Cutts announced the news a short time ago on Twitter, calling it a “data refresh” that impacts less than one-tenth of a percent of English-language searches.

Although webmasters and SEOs have been speculating consistently in recent weeks that Google had already pushed out a Penguin update (or several), Cutts specifically says this is the first update since Penguin launched back on April 24th.

Google has described Penguin as an algorithm change that’s aimed at webspam and, more specifically, “sites that we believe are violating Google’s quality guidelines.”

Penguin led to immediate outcries from across the SEO industry, with many questioning if it made search results better or worse. Because it’s an algorithmic change, Google said it wouldn’t consider reconsideration requests made via Webmaster Central, but it did setup a form for webmasters to use if they believe Penguin had hit their sites by mistake.

Even though tonight’s update affects a small percentage of English searches, that form is still online.

For more about the Penguin update, see the articles listed below.

Postscript From Danny Sullivan: In the comments below, you’ll see some people wondering if they haven’t recovered from this update, does that means they’ll never recover and should start over. I’d wait a bit longer before that.

After Penguin 1 came out, Google said that anyone hit by that had been penalized. But soon after, there were examples of sites that didn’t appear to be spamming Google but which yet had traffic drops.

A few of these might have been false positives, but it’s far more reasonable to assume that when Google wiped out wide swathes of links, some sites that used to benefit from those links lost credit. In other words, they weren’t penalized — they just didn’t get as much credit as before.

I’m still trying to get Google to confirm this or not, if everyone hit by Penguin 1.0 was really penalized or if there were some who just don’t get as much credit as before, because others were penalized. Stay tuned.

Postscript 2: See also First Report Of Google Penguin Recovery.

Postscript 3 (Oct. 5, 2012): Originally, we’d called this story “Google Releases Penguin Update 1.1,” but it’s since been changed to be Penguin 2.

We’ve begun numbering Panda updates sequentially (Panda 1, 2, 3….) rather than as “versions” with “point numbers” (Panda 2.2, Panda 3.5….) because it’s too difficult to tell what’s a “major” update from a “minor” one.

We’ve adopted that for Penguin, as well, which is why we’ve renamed this Penguin 2. And Penguin 3 is live.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: Penguin Update | Google: SEO | Top News

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • http://ultimatemarketingstrategies.net Peter Sundstrom

    My main site which has had very steady rankings and was unaffected by the Penguin rollout has just had one of it’s main keywords hit with it dropping from #2 to #46.

    I was wondering why that was, and it would appear likely to be a result of the Penguin 1.1 update.

  • http://twitter.com/napnipnop Berita Blogger

    Thank you Google, my site is now completely gone from your search result. RIP for http://www.napnipnop.web.id
    and good bye blogger. I don’t want to write and share anything again on
    the net. This current regular update will make all small business and
    newbie blogger who use TLD drop. Now those rubbish blogspots with my copied contents inside got No. 1 position.

    My advice is use free blogspot
    to create blog or business even if you put duplicate content on it you will get high
    rank since its part of google. Then for TLD user, google insist you to
    use adword for traffic, and don’t depend to search result. This is how
    the king rule the world now. Thank you and good bye.

  • Rk Rkinfo

    why come penquin to making changes our search results page http://www.rkinfo.in

  • http://twitter.com/napnipnop Berita Blogger

    This is International dooms day. Thank you Google. Don’t trust cute little black and white animals like panda and penguin. Next Google take Zebra to their office.

  • http://twitter.com/napnipnop Berita Blogger

    Agree. Yahoo and Bing, now this is your move to rule the world.

  • Sheldon Campbell

    OMG! I haven’t seen such “The sky is falling, the sky is falling” since – well… Panda 1.0.

    Some of you sound like you should be put on suicide watch!

    Seriously, this too shall pass, folks. If you’ve been around more than a few months, this shouldn’t be a big deal. Yeah, I know… if MY sites didn’t get hit, that’s easy for me to say. But it’s nothing new to see this sort of confusion and angst following every update of any import. Things will calm down – life WILL go on. Everyone just needs to a) decide what should/shouldn’t be done, and b) do/don’t put it in motion.

    Meanwhile, as the dust settles, things should become clearer.

  • pars g

     Dear sir
    My name is Javid and I launched my site about 8 months ago. (www.apam.ir)
    We started with 30 articles in a day and we have 7thousands of them by now.
    Lately (about first of April) I have read in some websites and weblogs that if you make the tags No index you will obtain much better traffic from Google, so with Robot and No index tags I removed our tags.
    It was about April 20 that there were no tags from our site in Google anymore.
    Then about 2 days later our visit and ranking fell down suddenly.
    I also took a few photos that show our decline in visiting in April 25 and April 26.
    And there were no change in this situation for about one month, for instance we publish an article for the first time and after some hours the other websites which copied our article get a better ranking than us and apparently all of our input is from Google images.
    We faced a great fell in word searching either.
    Now here is the question, what can I do with this?
    Is it happened because of making No index all of the tags in my site?
    Is it happen because of Google Penguin?
    We had about 10 thousands tags that were removed from Google even though it is normal to have so many tags in Persian websites.
    I have sent a revised form but it is not answered yet.
    Some weblogs says Matt cutts recommended to launch a new site
    How if I set up a new domain and take a back up from my site there?
    What is your suggestion for me?
    If you need any more information please just let me know
    -
    I added our site name in all of titles of the articles.
    Our content were like this before:
    Title
    But I’ve changed it to:
    Article Title- Title of Site
    And 6-7thousandsa more of these changes
    My traffic from Google fell to one third and most of my visits are from Google images
    Here is some pictures from us in Google Webmaster Tools
    http://www.apam.ir/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/1.png
    http://www.apam.ir/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/2.png
    http://www.apam.ir/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/3.png
    http://www.apam.ir/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/4.png
    please help me
    Yours Sincerely
    Javid
    http://www.apam.ir

  • robthespy

    Sounds like you’re really on top of your game. Cant believe a Google web spam crackdown would affect your “business.”

    It must be a mistake!!!

  • Matt McGee

    Don’t really care about ranking for “penguin 1.1″, Paul, because I doubt anyone would ever search for such a phrase.

    Do you really think we should ignore it when Google announces an update to an algo change that has affected our readers all over the world? This article has about five dozen comments now, and some of our previous Penguin articles have had 100+ comments. That’s a pretty sure sign that our readers care about this news. If you don’t, feel free to skip the article. No harm, no foul.

  • Peter Kern

    It is true. The best method now is to create a new website/page on free site like blogspot or facebok, copy content and here we go you will get ranking. Don’t bother with your own domain name and website which you may had few years. It doesn’t matter anymore. It is so strange that G penalised aged good websites which provided business for many ears to their clients.

  • http://twitter.com/napnipnop Berita Blogger

    Because I use Bahasa Indonesia language for my blog, some of Google experts from Google webmaster forum called my blog is junk. I use local TLD and put banners + links for my others blog (no link market) and this way got me Penguin punishment.

  • robthespy

    You just need to display more ads!

  • Armand47

    The fact is Micheal, forgetting who got penalized or not, some of the search results are quite disappointing after the “Penguin Update”. What we are finding are the Big Branded names and Wikipedia links in the 3 top placings. Truthfully, if we are looking for a Brand name we just type their name. However, the majority of people searching online want diversity when making choices on services or products online. A lot of prominent sites that people were completely satisfied with, whether it be a service or product, were obliterated with the Penguin update.

    Do these people really think we are all stupid? They are forcing all these small businesses which were flourishing on Googles #1 page, all but now destroyed, into buying Adwords advertising. These were, notice how I said “Were”, websites completely relevant to search results people online were looking for. How can you call that progress? Clearly it is not, but do you think they are going to admit to their mistake? Never in a million years.

    But, what we all know that what “Goes Around, Comes Around”…

  • http://twitter.com/DavidJo45324615 David Johnstone

    When you say guest writing, I assume you mean that any links back to your site will be nofollowed, right? Otherwise, all you’re doing is buying links with content instead of cash.  What’s the difference? If you reply “well, content is adding value, cash isn’t” – to me that’s a moot point – you are still gaming search engines because the site you get a link from wouldn’t have linked to you if you hadn’t offered them the quid-pro-quo of content-for-link – in other words, it’s unnatural, and the intention is to influence your ranking (otherwise you wouldn’t guest write). This very obviously breaks the Google guidelines, and what’s more is very easy to spot (just look for lack of nofollow in guest post links).

    Now, if you say guest writing meaning that it’s a way to get your company name out there and win organic click-throughs from a nofollowed link, then I agree with you – this DOESN’T break the Google guidelines since there’s nothing unnatural going on – your link doesn’t influence the SERPs, and you guest-wrote to win some organic click-through traffic. 

    I’d be interested to hear if anyone supports the former method of promotion (gaming SERPs via do-followed guest posts).

  • AndroidVesti

    It is an interesting thing Google is doing I must say. Some of my sites in English got hit, but I must say that my sites in foreign language such as 
    http://android-telefoni.com/ had made a huge success!

  • http://twitter.com/ArsenRabinovich Arsen Rabinovich

    SMH I’m going back to placing flyers on windshields, can’t get hurt for over optimizing that ;)

  • Klark

     I can see why you’d be disappointed.  Looks like 90% of your backlink profile, goes to 5 targeted keyword terms.   Your brand terms are way down at the bottom of the list, according to OSE.  Sites like yours are what Penguin is designed to take out.

    People need to stop complaining and threatening and look at themselves.  All I gotta say.

  • http://www.eplatformmarketing.com Jim

    Fortunately our clients enjoyed whatI’m calling “Penguin Passover”.  If your site(s) met the grade in the previous launch, I can’t imagine that this is anything about which we should get worked up.  Google is very innovative, sometimes makes what may appear to be a blunder, but they tweak it to polish the rough edges.  The world will continue to spin, lol.

  • http://www.vincentabry.com/ Vincent Abry

    @Michael_Martinez: is right. We’ll have to wait after holiday weekend.
    I had a 30% drop in trafic for my french site but it’s also a holiday weekend in France…
    I hope because it doesn’t look good.

  • http://twitter.com/StoreCoach Store Coach

    Guest writing is a good thing to do regardless of whether the backlink to your site is dofollow or nofollow. I don’t see why Google would consider that unnatural? You are writing “on topic” content that the other website’s readers would find interesting & referring them to your website if they want to read more. It would only be unnatural if you guest wrote a piece about exercise on an exercise website and then linked to your real estate website in the author bio.

    Also, if Google isn’t able to decipher the “quality” of content, they are certainly getting close. They can detect poorly spun content and that to me is the first step in identifying poor content.

    Bottom line is quality guest writing on topically related websites adds value to the web, regardless of whether it looks like an “exchange” of value or not. In the “real world” when does a company do something for another company without some sort of benefit for themselves?

  • http://twitter.com/DavidJo45324615 David Johnstone

     @Store Coach

  • http://twitter.com/TheNathanBailey Nathaniel Bailey

    All good here, no changes for any of our clients sites nor my personal sites so I guess we are still well within the google guidelines and not spamming to many people lol

    Then again, all the sites we seo are within this http://insidesearch.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/another-step-to-reward-high-quality.html which is what Matt Cutts linked to in the above tweet so as long as people are running quality sites and not gaining spam links, they shouldn’t be affected by the update.

    But I think this update is quite likely to be most aimed at getting those sites back to ranking that google mistakenly hit and fixing the reasons behind google mistakenly hitting them? Maybe a good question to ask Matt Cutts if your still emailing him about this Danny or Matt?

  • http://twitter.com/TheNathanBailey Nathaniel Bailey

    If all your doing is directories and press releases, maybe google has noticed the patern to your link building and devalued your links because they can tell non of them are natural?

    My advice to you would be to mix it up some what. For example, I still use some directories but I also do guest posting, gain links on resource pages, information sites and other authority sites etc. All this helps to keep my link profile looking more natural and give our clients sites a better chance of lasting longer because of the wide range of different types of links we are gaining from different places.

  • John Maximus

    Angry Penguins (1.0 & 1.1)

  • Lyndon NA

    There is a fair bit of confusion out there.

    Google rolled out both;
    Panda
    Penguin

    And made a bunch of general algo changes as well.
    That means there are likely a % of folk out there thinking they have been hit by Panda and/or Penguin and not filing Reconsideration Requests after making changes,
    instead sat there waiting for a fresh roll-out.

    People NEED to check how they have been hit and ensure that you have been hit by P or P.
    If not – make corrects based on the standard guidelines, and fire off an RR.
    Do NOT sit there waiting weeks on end.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000127296206 Mike Vandepeer

     one great web search i used to show my clients as to why local places were important for small business was hairdresser new york ..apart from places pages there was 5 pages of nothing but directories… web spam crap.. not a hairdressing site in focus..

    after penguin there is relief .. hairdressing salons on the first page.. wow.
    but what is really funny is doing a phrase match search “hairdresser new york” delivers up the old type results.. endless directories web spam..
     
    ?? why  well who does phrase matched searches.. only seo freaks and web spammers .. they get what they desire LOL

    as for sites dropping off the search results.. haven’t seen one that didn’t have links that could be deemed seo manipulation….
    sad day when you come to a point where you can’t perform your magic and get your site to the top of google by some simple manipulation..LOL

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000127296206 Mike Vandepeer

     Links …get some more links.. but what sort of links….why cant google be measuring,.. looking at the activity that takes place; both on the linked to site and on the linking site.. and if the activity doesn’t add up, then just discount the value of the new link…. so activity..on both sites is likely to be important.. as it should be.. 
    vale …..sites built for niche targeting with no real.. non manipulated backlinks…

    and the algo is jjust that an algo but.. if its self learning and self correcting then sites will bounce around.. each time it rolls over them
    and all the time google is looking at activities and running some sort of “edge rank” filter (maybe)
    so the visitors could be the determining factor of what happens to a site on the top few slots of google..  as they should be..

     

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000127296206 Mike Vandepeer

     this pretty much sums it up : when this happens on a real world (non seo) site then that site will rise to the top.. for those people who think the results are worthwhile.. so 4 or 40 or 4000 backlinks with high bounce rates and no interaction activity… forgedaboutit..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000127296206 Mike Vandepeer

     rob are you channeling me… cause you’re spot on..

  • http://twitter.com/bizwaremagic bizwaremagic

    I agree with your view on Press Releases… they don’t hold much weight anymore. But I do a lot of Press Releases, mainly for marketing and leads, rather for link building but those releases which get pick up and displayed by half-decent sites – seems like my rankings take a jump. Could Google be judging/considering these releases IF they get picked up by high-profile keyword related sites… could this be a vote for your content. When it’s all said and done, Google still needs a way to evaluate sites and links on the web.

  • http://twitter.com/DavidJo45324615 David Johnstone

     How would anyone know what particular Google update hit their site?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jill-Line/100002331862759 Jill Line

    Noticed a couple of things –

    rich snippet information is back – had it on several sites and it wasn’t showing in results.

    Also, notice that a lot of backlinks are either going to site whose domain name wasn’t renewed or who are deindexed.

    I assume that’s considered a “bad neighborhood” – is time the only healer as I build more relevant links to my site?

  • Kerry Dye

    Hey, nice to see someone is happy as a result of these changes. It’s much harder to tell if there is a positive effect from these algorithm updates.

  • http://www.fulltraffic.net/ Fede Einhorn

     I am not completely happy as my traffic dropped a little, however, at least I see some positive effect. I had 2 backdoor pages outranking me after the first penguin update; they are now gone. So I prefer a little traffic drop than 2 backdoor pages… I would like to know the reason of the traffic drop though, I was not penalized and my rankings seems to improve.

  • http://twitter.com/seosathyam Sathya Narayana

    Yes, William , your are exactly right ! Only, the index part in the search results is effected.

  • http://twitter.com/StoreCoach Store Coach

     (I’m replying here to David Johnstone’s reply below because there’s no “reply” link next to the comment below for me).

    I certainly understand your standpoint & I respect it, but I guess I just don’t agree with you. Writing guest pieces would be a good idea whether search engines existed or not & that’s why it’s not a “trick intended to improve search engine rankings”.

  • Lyndon NA

    Well, hopefully, this one will ‘work’…

    Google not only released Penguin alongside a fresh rollout of Panda…
    … they also did some tweaks and altered some Thresholds of standard algos and flags.

    Some of those looking and thinking they may have been hit by Panda, Penguin or Pan-guin (Both together :D)  may not have been.
    Instead, there are some out there that may have simply been bitten by G moving the goal posts on their normal stuff.

    People need to double check the symptoms they have, and whether it matches the effects of either/both Panda and/or Penguin.
    If not, go look at Googles Guidelines, check your site, make the fixes …
    … and file a Reconsideration Request like you would normally.
    Do Not sit there wasting time.

    For those hit by Panda, Penguin or Pan-guin,
    fix your issues, then wait for the next role out of the relevant Algo(s).

  • http://twitter.com/DavidJo45324615 David Johnstone

    You wrote :-

    “Writing guest pieces would be a good idea whether search engines existed
    or not & that’s why it’s not a “trick intended to improve search
    engine rankings”

    So why do you insist on dofollow links, if not to improve your search engine rankings? If you really believed what you said, you’d be happy with nofollow links.  In fact, to meet Google’s guidelines, you’d HAVE to nofollow the link.  You have to ask yourself – would I be doing this if search engines didn’t exist? In your case, NO you wouldn’t. You do it explicitly BECAUSE search engines exist.  You are attempting to manipulate your rankings through dofollow links. By the way, guest writing IS a great way to win click-through traffic and get your name known – and a lot of people do use guest writing to improve their repute in certain industries – it’s not all about dofollow links.

    “In the examples Matt Cutts has shared over the past several weeks of
    ‘unnatural backlinks’ none of them have been guest writing pieces.”

    He might highlight areas of the guidelines, but just because he doesn’t mention something specific doesn’t mean it’s OK.  As you mentioned before, two parties have to exchange something – quid pro quo.  But the only problem is – that goes against Google’s guidelines if you’re buying a dofollow link to better your rankings.

  • Lucas Conti

    Es rrealmente
    tranquilizante saber q hay gente dispuesta a compartir estos conocimientos, es traboajo de todos
    dar a conocer la información para percatar un poco a la sociedad de esta reslidad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003845732470 Aaron Roach

    The comment’s valid, but it’s called ‘search engine optimisation’ for a reason…if search engine companies make changes, we optimise for those changes. It’s frustrating, that’s for sure, but we have to adapt to their updates, not the other way round.

  • http://twitter.com/StoreCoach Store Coach

    As I said above, I don’t insist on them being dofollow. Also as I said previously; guest writing is a great thing to do regardless of whether the links “count” or not & would be a good idea whether the search engines existed or not.

    Again, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. In a way I can understand where you’re coming from, but I disagree that it going against the guidelines. You are adding value to the web AND it is something you would do regardless of whether search engines existed or not. Therefore it IS natural and shouldn’t be frowned upon by Google.

    The fact of the matter is Google doesn’t want you worrying about whether the link is dofollow or nofollow. They just want you to promote your business in a natural way. Being a guest expert on a related website and linking to your own project in your bio IS natural. It’s the same as a TV show having a guest expert on for an interview and plugging their book at the end of the show..

  • http://www.facebook.com/bappyhussain007 Bappy Hussain

    @peter Kern, I think you are right mate, at least google should consider for relevency. Those who have beeb submitting quality links and worked for link building strategy shouldnt be affetcted

  • Mahendra Singh

    I think Google want to increase its revenue. google droped good ranking site’s ranking. if they need business, used only google adwords PPC.

  • Praveen Kumar

       Whats Next?

  • http://twitter.com/DavidJo45324615 David Johnstone

     ”You are adding value to the web AND it is something you would do regardless of whether search engines existed or not.”

    Adding value to the web is a very subjective point – anyone can claim they are adding value to the web even with the lowest quality of articles – especially when the judge is blind (algorithm) and the content ITSELF is unlikely to win many inbound links (links whisper into the blind judge’s ear and describe the scene). 

    Also I disagree that you would guest write if search engines existed or not, because it greatly depends on the venue your post is published on, doesn’t it? If you got a spot on techcrunch.com, you’re going to win a ton of natural traffic and gain exposure.  If you guest write on some obscure web design company’s site that has next to zero traffic but gives you a nice PR2 dofollow link, then you’re doing it to manipulate search engine rankings.  Your statement is rather sweeping to suggest guest writing is always going to give you click-through traffic – 99% of the time it doesn’t, and for that 99%, it’s all about the dofollow link.  Trust me, I surf the web, and I see a lot of utter drex posted on sites that is supposedly “adding value to the web”, and they all happen to have little “bio boxes” at the bottom with their raison d’etre dofollow links there.

    “The fact of the matter is Google doesn’t want you worrying about whether
    the link is dofollow or nofollow. They just want you to promote your
    business in a natural way. Being a guest expert on a related website and
    linking to your own project in your bio IS natural. It’s the same as a
    TV show having a guest expert on for an interview and plugging their
    book at the end of the show..”

    Well, that sounds more like an advertorial, not an article.  I’ve worked in ad sales in the print industry for years, and we had to label advertorials as such, so as not to mislead our readership.  The guest expert is ONLY on the TV show to promote his book, and wouldn’t be on the show otherwise.

  • http://www.seopackages.net/ Harry Watson

    This will definitely cause a drastic downfall for those website which are having the bad links and duplicate content.

  • Kamal Bansal

    Thanks Google for the fantastic update. it really helpful for quality sites.

  • http://twitter.com/GULLIVERARM Mushegh Hakobjanyan

    One thing that’s obvious of this 1.1 update is that Google significantly lifted back the value of www . keywordreachdomain. com  . I see that across 4 niches I’m into right now. April 24-25 brought all this sites down to mostly second page but now they are back and with even better results.

  • Peter Kern

    Yes I noticed that too but actually after the first change. google has to count something now as it doesnt care about age and quality of the sites. 

  • Peter Kern

    When it is gonna happen?

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