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


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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  • Peter Kern

    Negative SEO war! haha

  • Mushegh Hakobjanyan

     Sarcasm is of course right here :) but this is getting annoying already.

    However couple more observations.

    Keyword Domain matters but keyword domain + lots of links with the same keyword domain name anchor keeps the site down still.

    Still much illogical to me, as obviously if i have a great domain name I’d like to “brand” it under that name and naturally people will link me with that name!!!.

    However that’ll bring me to a lot of Penguins – and good bye my rankings.. So still I’m uncomfortable with keyword domains and 50/50 is the chance they’ll survive.

  • Keith James Designs

    I totally agree, I was thinking the same thing. Is Google trying to to get more PPC dollars at the expense of accurate search results?
    As far as the background shade on ads, look at mobile results. Almost impossible to tell search results from “ads”. On mobile the use the term “Ad” instead of “Why this ad”.

  • Len Ward

    This is the nature of the game and it always will be. You either play the game or get off the field.

  • Sam Merry

     my site: has lost near enough all rankings!!!! Google Penguin? someone shoot it!

  • TWTHWTech

    1 of my 3 blogs were hit. I got my game blog hit and got almost 50% traffic drop… It’s been like this almost every update, makes me think what I’m doing wrong that doesn’t seem to happen on  my other two blogs…

  • Petar Traychev

    I don’t think Google is trying to make money out of this. If you look from their perspective it si really difficult to filter out the good results because of the immense amount of spammy sites, link farms, etc. Although they keep trying new algos, there will always be both happy and disappointed web-masters. By the way, I believe that Google applies similar algorithms related to relevancy in their Adwords Quality Score. I don’t know if that is correct. 

  • Surinder Rajpal

    Google will be google…
    Google never thinks about the time i.e. its day or night Google just want to launch their products

    For latest tech news visit

  • Armand47

    Correct Keith, unfortunately we still have naive people thinking otherwise. Their mission is to get people to click their Ads and push the organic listings even further down the chain as we are seeing already.

  • Sabre

    The best way I can sum up the algo changes is I have stopped using Google.
    Bing and Yahoo are much more accurate now.

  • Alan

    I am also starting to get sick of Google’s algorithm. I had a client  call me up and abuse me for a drop in ranks only to ring me a day later and congratulate me for getting them back into position. The worst bit is that this site has only got white hat links (although who knows that they are anymore) and I had not got them a link in week anyway. So the movement in serps is just Google playing around with numbers. Trying to explain to clients that Google is playing silly buggers is starting to tire me out. I don’t know how many more times I can take saying just sit and wait everything will be fine no blackhat,greyhat,greenhat or even pinkhat links have been built to your site so once Google stops throwing it’s hissy fit you should recover your serps.

  • Car Title Loans

    My website has also get punished by this but now it is on right track.. i dint know what wrong with it. But i am happy with that.

  • Garavi Gujarat

    This updates lots of effect on my site, how to get recover my site’s ranking fast? 

  • Anjar Sulistiyo

    Is next mont will pe penguin 1.2?

    so what must we do to keep our website in a good position?

    and how long google really fixed the algorithm and we will us it in a several years or months?

  • Peter Kern

    If your website was hit by Penguin… forget about it. Build a new website and start fresh. 

  • Peter Kern

    You can’t. Your website has been penalised by Google. The best way to get some new traffic is by building a new website.

  • Peter Kern

    That’s true. Google is so obsess in fighting with SEO they forgot about the main mission they had… relevant and quality results.

  • Garavi Gujarat

    new website takes time to get ranking and more traffic, didn’t agree with you, I’ll try and get my ranking back, thanks for your response.

  • Garavi Gujarat

     stop giving same reply to everyone, this is spamming dude.stop it.

  • Peter Kern

    You are wrong. There are now a lot of new fresh rubbish websites all over the places. I tried it myself too and new website rank better than penalised old one (which was much better than the new one). Also it is a good idea to add some pages on yelp,qype and all of this kind of directories. They rank better now. Aged good quality websites about specific products or services will struggle now.

  • Peter Kern

    How is that a spam? I’m replying another person. 

  • Sheldon Campbell

    @google-3a3ea3451682666ad03b2ab618eea4de:disqus – IMO, your “forget about it – build a new website” comment(s) is misguided, and worse – misguiding. Certainly, there are instances where that might be the easiest approach, but they’re few and far between.
    I think it’s important to remember that there are many SEL readers that don’t take into consideration that comments reflect personal opinions, which aren’t necessarily well-founded, and in some instances, are patently incorrect. Giving bad advice based upon insufficient information could lead someone to take action that will just do them more harm..

  • ThePinguino

    So install an adblocker if you’re tired of Adwords. ;-)

    This is the same kind of tinfoil hat paranoia that comes out every time there’s a Google update… and every time they are just trying to improve search results.  Compare the current ones to one year ago, three years, five years, etc, and definitely there’s an improvement since Panda and now Penguin.

    People need to worry less and just keep moving forwards.  I’ve seen sites bounce back after Penguin with simple changes, I’ve also seen people who bounced back and then slid again because they again tried shortcuts for better rankings.

    Google (nd search engines in general are not the only sources of traffic.  People need to remember – make a site for people, do things that will make people want to go to your site.

  • ThePinguino

    Your first mistake was trying to get rid of “bad links”.  Don’t even waste your time, unless a manual penalty has been placed.  Removing these links won’t help and it won’t harm.  If it’s all down to algorithm (i.e. not manual) then just move forward and ensure the focus is on quality, not quantity.

    I write “bad links” because you need to look at them in a numerical way, with a lowest possible value of zero.  If a link loses value (due to the source site or link type being viewed as less), it’s not a penalty on your site, but will impact your rank.  It’s really just error correction: a value was placed on the link (source) before that shouldn’t have been.

    Just keep working on quality content, gaining some organic backlinks, etc.  Move forwards, not backwards.  Your site will move forwards, but only if you do.

  • ThePinguino

    Nice.  One of my sites wasn’t even in the top 100, outranked by lots of garbage and then bang – top ten after Penguin!  The traffic is inconsistent, but I think that’s because the main search terms are mainly for USA and particular days in the week (especially Sunday).

  • Peter Kern

    How making a new website can do more harm? What is your advice? Making changes and believe google is fair and will reconsider the ranking? This is the past. Google doesnt care at all and once the website is penalised is buried for long time if not forever.

  • Sheldon Campbell

    It has nothing to do with Google being “fair”, @google-3a3ea3451682666ad03b2ab618eea4de:disqus . It’s simply a matter of whether the site is reparable and if the equity it has is worth the effort. A lot of things go into that analysis. Like I said, sometimes it might be warranted. Often, it would be the wrong approach.
    My advice would be to perform a careful forensic analysis before making any decision… or any recommendation… on a case by case basis.
    And we’ve seen a number of sites recover… they’re not necessarily “buried”, even for a long time… it depends on a lot of factors.

  • SilvaSharlene

    These were, notice how I said “Were”, my roomate’s step-sister makes $70 an hour on the laptop. She has been fired for five months but last month her pay check was $13250 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this site CashLazy.&#99om  

  • Sheldon Campbell

    I think one aspect that’s worth noting is that on some sites that were hit, it was observed that the offending links had been in existence for quite a while, which raises the possibility that the thresholds may have changed, making a previously acceptable link sudden fall on the wrong side of the line. Correlation, not causation, but worth exploring.
    Also, we saw some sites get hit, that were alerted to “bad” links that used to exist, but hadn’t for a few months prior to the slap. That makes one wonder how far back are they looking, to find activities they don’t like?

  • PrHike Directory

    Its All about quality links at the Directory.

  • Kent Chow

    My niche site got hit by Penguin 1.1 update. The traffic went from 150-200 daily to 30-50 a day. I’m working on a case study how to recover from it. Also will build a new site in the same niche and see if I could rank.

  • AgentsOfValue

    Everyone should be thankful of Google Penguin. The Penguin protects the Internet from those spammers who don’t know how to play fair and square. 

  • AgentsOfValue

     Things will be good for sure, Rob.

  • AgentsOfValue

    Perhaps, you need to remap your SEO Plan and stick to white-hat tchniques. Or, you may contact Google Help Desk. 

  • AgentsOfValue

     The Penguin only wants a fair game. It wants to see quality contents and quality links. Should you have a blog, update it regularly. Every post of your blog must be circulated around the web using the ff. off-page optimization:

    1) Regular participation in Q&A, forums and social networking sites.
    2) Giving comments in niche-related blogs.

  • John

    One of my website get hit by Penguin on 25 May,
    Around 35 top keywords going to down.

    Now what can i do now?
    Please suggest me guys.

    I have remaining 20 keywords to optimized, shall i create backlinks for remaining 2o?

  • Rajat Grover

    My site is getting very good  traffic after May 26, Is this is because of this update.Thanks for your suggestions in Advance…

  • Julie Austin

    Some of my sites seem to be affected and some don’t, even though they all contain quality content. It’s hard to tell. Guess it’s just a lot of trial and error.

  • Greg Fowler

     There is always going to be sites that slip through the cracks and the reason you see such sites is the target spam sites to be lowered by Penguin and the others raised up.  Case in point, Google themselves wasn’t even ranked one for Search Engine, but Dogpile was number 1 (one), and Google was number 9 in the results for 24 hours.  As we all know Google would take care of that, but the update, Penguin, is more about making a point to webspam, and keeping within their guidelines.  Many of the sites at the top of the searches that spammed were hit, and some of the lower quality sites stepped up.  It is Google’s search engine, and you can either complain about it or do something about. 

  • Brad Dalton

    I lost half my links according to SEOMoz toolbar. Not sure why because i have NEVER ever done any work on link building. Now, according to Webmaster tools, all my urls have been taken. Before it was just 85% of my traffic. 

    According to Google Webmaster tools my links are down around 10% which is totally different to what SEOMOz toolbar tells me.

    One of the guys at SEOmoz has taken a look at my SEO and can’t figure it out.

    I never got hit with any of Algorithm update and my traffic went up every time after Panda changes.

    What have i done wrong? 

    This all started for me on the 14th April when my change of address expired 6 months after changing domains.

  • Andrew Buckle

    Site traffic to my site vanishes off into 0 – keep updating the content and adding new information as well as better quality images etc – sites with little information about a certain subject are top of the search (for those keywords). Doesn’t seem to make a single difference how many tutorials or articles I add to the site about Photoshop etc – all very frustrating. Still top of the listings on bing etc but on google, nowhere to be seen.

  • DickD

    I think that, after the Penguin algorithm update, the search results are of lower quality than before. And, as you can see on I’m not the only one who thinks like that.

  • Dan

    Any more news on the updates? 

  • Monotropolis

     Yes all directories have been removed from search results for everything but their domain name if not that also.  As one of the millions of website owners that is being negatively affected by these Penguin and Panda algorithm updates that at present time look like they are geared to eliminate search competition by punishing directories that also list sites.  Even worse punish people that have a listing in a directory which (like a good liar might even start even believing their own lies) a giant corporation might tell us and actually believe that it is the best thing for them and the rest of us. Which for millions of advertisers, website owners, and business owners it is not, and may actually bring and end to their business and Internet efforts. I don’t think we need to Repel Obama care What needs to be repealed is Penguin and Panda and if it’s not done in full in a hurry, then the giant corporation can and should be willing to accept any negative legal consequences it brings upon it self for destroying it’s competition.

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