Two Weeks In, Google Talks Penguin Update, Ways To Recover & Negative SEO

It’s been about two weeks since Google launched its Penguin Update. Google’s happy the new spam-fighting algorithm is improving things as intended. But some hurt by it are still wondering how to recover, and there remain concerns about “negative SEO” as a threat. I caught up with Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s web spam team, on these and some related questions.

Penguin: “A Success”

The goal of any algorithm update is to improve search results. So how’s Penguin been for Google?

“It’s been a success from our standpoint,” Cutts said.

What About Those Weird Results?

Of course, soon after Penguin was released, people quickly started citing examples of odd results. The official Viagra site wasn’t listed, while hacked sites were. An empty web site was listed for “make money online,” and there were reports of other empty sites ranking well. Scraper sites were reported outranking the sites they scraped.

How could Penguin be a success with these types of things happening?

Cutts said that many of these issues existed before Penguin launched and were not caused by the new spam-fighting algorithm.

Indeed, the Viagra issue, which has now been fixed, was a problem before Penguin hit. Penguin didn’t cause it.

False Positives? A Few Cases

How about false positives, people who feel they’ve been unfairly hit by Penguin when they weren’t doing any spam?

“We’ve seen a few cases where we might want to investigate more, but this change hasn’t had the same impact as Panda or Florida,” Cutts said.

The Panda Update was Google’s big update that targeted low-quality spam last year. The Florida Update was a major Google update in 2003 intended to improve its search quality.

I’d agree that both of those seemed to have impacted more sites than Penguin has, based on having watched reactions to all these updates. Not everyone will agree with me, of course. It’s also worth the regular reminder that for any site that “lost” in the rankings, someone gained. You rarely hear from those who gain.

Bottom line, Google seems pretty confident that the Penguin Update is indeed catching people who were spamming, as was intended.

Why Spam Still Gets Through

Certainly when I’ve looked into reports, I’ve often found spam at the core of why someone dropped. But if Penguin is working, why are some sites that are clearly spamming still getting through?

“No algorithm is perfect. While we’d like to achieve perfection, our litmus test is, ‘Do things get better than before?’,” Cutts said.

Cutts also explained that Penguin was designed to be quite precise, to act against pages when there was an extremely high-confidence of spam being involved. The downside is that some spam might get through, but the upside is that you have fewer false positives.

How Can You Recover?

One of the most difficult things with this update is telling people how to recover. Anyone hit by Penguin was deemed to be spamming Google.

In the past, if you spammed Google, you were told to file a reconsideration request. However, Google’s specifically said that reconsideration requests won’t help those hit by Penguin. They’ll recover naturally, Google says, if they clean the spam up.

However, one of the main reasons I’ve seen when looking at sites hit by Penguin seems to be bad linking practices. People have used sponsored WordPress themes, or poor quality reciprocal linking, have purchased links or participated in linking networks, such as those recently targeted by Google.

How do people pull themselves out of these link networks, if perhaps they don’t have control over those links now?

“It is possible to clean things up,” Cutts said, and he suggested people review two videos he’s done on this topic:

YouTube Preview Image

YouTube Preview Image

“The bottom line is, try to resolve what you can,” Cutts said.

Waiting On Penguin To Update Again

If you do clean things up, how will you know? Ideally, you’ll see your traffic from Google recover, the next time Penguin is updated.

That leads to another important point. Penguin, like Panda, is a filter that gets refreshed from time-to-time. Penguin is not constantly running but rather is used to tag things as spam above-and-beyond Google’s regular spam filtering on a periodic basis.

Is Penguin a site-wide penalty like Panda or page-specific? Cutts wouldn’t say. But given that Panda has site-wide impacts, I think it’s a fair assumption that Penguin works the same.

What that means is that if some of your site is deemed Penguin-like, all of it may suffer. Again, recovery means cleaning up the spam. If you’ve cleaned and still don’t recover, ultimately, you might need to start all over with a fresh site, Cutts said.

New Concerns Over Negative SEO

Before Penguin, talk of “negative SEO” had been ramping up. Since then, it seems to have gotten worse in some places. I’ve seen post-after-post making it sound as if anyone is now in serious danger that some competitor can harm them.

At the core of these fears seems to be a perfect storm of assumptions. Google recently targeted some linking schemes. That caused some people to lose traffic. Google also sent out warnings about sites with “artificial” or “unnatural” links. That generated further concerns in some quarters. Then the Penguin Update hit, which caused more people to lose traffic as they were either hit for link spam or no longer benefited from link spam that was wiped out.

These things made it ripe for people to assume that pointing bad links at a site can hurt it. But as I wrote before, negative SEO concerns aren’t new. They’ve been around for years. Despite this, we’ve not seen it become a major concern.

Google has said it’s difficult for others to harm a site, and that’s indeed seemed to be the case. In particular, pointing bad links at a good site with many other good signals seems to be like trying to infect it with a disease that it has antibodies to. The good stuff outweighs the bad.

Cutts stressed again that negative SEO is rare and hard. “We have done a huge amount of work to try to make sure one person can’t hurt another person,” he said.

Cutts also stressed again what Google said before. Most of the those 700,000 messages to publishers that Google sent out earlier this year were not about bad link networks. Nor were they all suddenly done on the same day. Rather, many sites have had both manual and algorithmic penalties attached to them over time but which were never revealed. Google recently decided to open up about these.

After Negative SEO Campaign, A Link Warning

Of course, new messages do go out, which leads to the case of Dan Thies. His site was targeted by some trying to show that negative SEO works. He received an unnatural link warning after this happened. He also lost some rankings. Is this the proof that negative SEO really works?

Thies told me that his lost rankings were likely due to changes he made himself, when he removed a link across all pages on his site that led back to his home page. After restoring that, he told me, he regained his rankings.

His overall traffic, he said, never got worse. That tends to go against the concerns that negative SEO is a lurking threat, because if it had worked enough to tag his site as part of the Penguin Update, he should have seen a huge drop.

Still, what about link warning? Thies did believe that came because of the negative SEO attempt. That’s scary stuff. He also said he filed three reconsideration requests, which each time returned messages saying that there were no spam actions found. Was he hit with a warning but not one that was also associated with a penalty?

I asked Cutts about the case, but he declined to comment on Thies’s particular situation. He did say that typically a link warning is a precursor to a ranking drop. If the site fixes the problem and does a reconsideration request quickly enough, that might prevent a drop.

Solving The Concerns

I expect we’ll continue to see discussions of negative SEO, with a strong belief by some that it’s a major concern for anyone. I was involved in one discussion over at SEO Book about this that’s well worth a read.

When it’s cheaper to buy links than ever, it’s easy to see why there are concerns. Stories like what happened to Thies or this person, who got a warning after 24,000 links appeared pointing at his site in one day, are worrisome.

Then again, the person’s warning came after he apparently dropped in rankings because of Penguin. So did these negative SEO links actually cause the drop, or was it something else? As is common, it’s hard to tell, because the actual site isn’t provided.

To further confuse matters, some who lost traffic because of Penguin might not be victims of a penalty at all. Rather, Google may have stopped allowing some links to pass credit, if they were deemed to be part of some attempt to just manipulate rankings. If sites were heavily dependent on these artificial links, they’d see a drop just because the link credit was pulled, not because they were hit with a penalty.

I’ve seen a number of people now publicly wishing for a way to “disvow” links pointing at them. Google had no comment about adding such a feature at this time, when I asked about this. I certainly wouldn’t wait around for it now, if you know you were hit by Penguin. I’d do what you can to clean things up.

One good suggestion out of the SEO Book discussion was that Google not penalize sites for bad links pointing at them. Ignore the links, don’t let the links pass credit, but don’t penalize the site. That’s an excellent suggestion for defusing negative SEO concerns, I’d say.

I’d also stress again that from what I’ve seen, negative SEO isn’t really what most hit by Penguin should probably be concerned about. It seems far more likely they were hit by spam they were somehow actively involved in, rather than something a competitor did.

Recovering From Penguin

Our Google Penguin Update Recovery Tips & Advice post from two weeks ago gave some initial advice about dealing with Penguin, and that still holds up. In summary, if you know that you were hit by Penguin (because your traffic dropped on April 24):

  • Clean up on-page spam you know you’ve done
  • Clean up bad links you know you’re been involved with, as best you can
  • Wait for news of a future Penguin Update and see if you recover after it happens
  • If it doesn’t, try further cleaning or consider starting over with a fresh site
  • If you really believe you were a false positive, file a report as explained here

Just in, by the way, a list of WordPress plug-ins that apparently insert hidden links. If you use some of these, and they have inserted hidden links, that could have caused a penalty.

I’d also say again, take a hard look at your own site. When I’ve looked at sites, it’s painfully easy to find bad link networks they’ve been part of. That doesn’t mean that there’s not spam that’s getting past Penguin. But complaining about what wasn’t caught isn’t a solution to improving your own situation, if you were hit.

Related Articles

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Features: Analysis | Google: Penguin Update | Google: SEO | SEO: Spamming | Top News


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • Danny Sullivan

    Please, Dave, document some cases of it happening. I’d love to look more.

  • Simon Mcardle

    From page 1 to page 8.  Page 1 BEFORE the links were added.  Page 8 after penguin.  If it’s these links alone then these links have damaged the rankings of this site rather than had the links ignored.

  • lotterylee

    If google are doing updates to sort the shi from the good how come after the update more of the shi moved up

  • lotterylee

    just have to look at the guy in the video to know his wife has issues with him – what chance do us peasants have. fuck all

  • QuattroAgency


    I have a 12 years old, PR5 website, that was affected by Penguin. The site is NATURALLY mentioned on magazines, communities, forums, as it was one of the first dating sites targeting vegetarians and eco/green people. Yet Penguin removed it from page 1 (where it had been for years) for terms such as “free dating site”. And after that happened, I found thousands of crappy links all pointing to it over the last 4 months, which I wouldn’t have the time to build and it wouldn’t have made sense to build anyway when you have real links coming in from Wikipedia, NYT, BBC and more??

  • stubster

    You are talking rubbish, has Matt Cutts actually done any searches using his search engine since this update?

    My site has been hit, now outranked by newspapers and sites that have been around since the Nineties – judging by their design and keyword stuffed meta tags they haven’t done any SEO Since then either.

    How are small sites meant to compete now?

    It looks to me like Google are now looking at nothing more than a sites link profile, not content or even social shares etc.

  • Danny Sullivan

    Actually, I switched my default search engine over to Bing last week as part of testing its new look. I found that it was consistently doing well for me.

  • Dave Fowler

    An update on my last comment, as promised. I’m pleased to report that even the linking pages we couldn’t previously get corrected now appear to have been removed or cleaned-up. 

    I did find one page which gives a flavour of the type of spam we found, although even this page now renders as source code rather than a stylised page - The original presented lists of keyword phrases interspersed with links to either other hacked pages or to genuine home pages, such as our own.

    Other pages we found are now AdSense holding pages - have been stripped of all their content - some cases the domain itself has been suspended -

    In all we found 281 link farm pages, all pretty identical in their technical set up and and content. There may of course have been many more we didn’t find, or that were not being reported by OSE. Point is, we experienced negative SEO 18 months ago, hence my refusal to dismiss the risk of future attacks, especially now that Penguin is here.

    However, at the same time, I do understand why Google have introduced Penguin. Their market share is not a given. Too much spam in the SERPs, and a resulting degradation in user experience, and Joe Public will simply try other search providers. So Google have become more aggressive, ramping up their efforts to tackle quality issues first through Panda, and now through Penguin. But in aggressively penalising spammy links, rather than simply devaluing them, they create an opportunity for negative SEO to work more effectively than previously. For commercial reasons, Google need to play down the threat. But we shouldn’t.

    Of course victims of Penguin are victims because they have engaged in, or are mistakenly believed to have engaged in, link building and content practices that breach Google’s terms of service. Not because of negative SEO. But I don’t think anyone is trying to imply an existing cause and effect, rather that negative SEO has now become a greater risk for the future. Having already experienced it I’ll not be complacent.

  • Benjy

     Hi Michael,Thank you VERY MUCH for looking over my website. No, I am not Jones Scott. Jones is the previous owner and I bought the website from him in February, 2012.

    For blog posts by Jones, I can acknowledge that we have noticed them and didn’t think they looked too terrible as it looks like it was never done on automated or mass scale. It was a few blog posts made while he was getting the website going a few years ago and the posts are mostly relevant, too.

    I have looked over quite a few articles pages through yellowpipe lynx viewer and I am not seeing anything wrong – or bad – about how a search engine sees the content. Was there something specific that you are referring to? It looks ‘kosher’ to me. I haven’t been able to find anything ‘wrong’ with the site at all that would warrant a penalty – and trust me, I WANT to find the reason. When I compare it to the other sites on the first page of Google search for ‘documentaries’ – such as ‘’ and ‘’ – I don’t see why my site would be severely penalized and the others not touched. Danny, do you have any insight into what happened to and how to fix it?Thanks, guys!Benjy

  • John Ward

    The best way to monopolize a market is to compete against yourself and drive actual competitors out.


    i have a site that was hit pretty bad but just for the inside pages. I dont consider the site spammy but not sure how to fix it. The main page wasnt hit so bad but dropped from the #1 spot to #10, i removed a few sitewaid links in the footer and it moved back to number #5 after a google revisit. Now i am trying to fix my inside pages.

    Any ideas?  www. nhsfortworth .com  <—-  just a marketting domain it will redirect you to a longer domain. It is over 6 years old and was at #1 for main term for 5 years.

  • Ali arshad

    Hello Dan!

    Thanks for sharing good Information. I have a question I was number one page on google but when google announced penguin I constantly lost my ranking I am much worried about it… I spent lot’s of money in SEO and still doing. Can you please tell me what exactly I need to do to get up ranking again of competitive keywords?. I will be very thank full to you..


  • Kyle Daniel

    @ everyone, check out the serps for payday loan and tell me Google is proactively fighting against the black hat spammers, they should be embarassed to allow this much manipulation, sites that harm computers, hacked voting sites make up almost all 10 results, 2+ weeks after the penguin rollout, seriously where are the engineers from google to remove this over the top garbage?

  • Vu Luu

    Dear my friends
    I’m having problems with website traffic and website ranking on google search.
    My website is
    This website is considered very good quality content and SEO compared to our competitors, and my site have been on top 1-5 with many keywords for many years.
    But on April 18th – 19th, our ranking on Google suddenly dropped and the traffic reduced about 50%.
    Anyway, I think out site is affected by following reasons:
    1. Google Panda update on April 18th.
    2. Google classified for parked domain issues around 18th – 19th.
    3. Google Penguin on April 24th.
    But I don’t think the reason is Google Penguin because our site ranking changed on 19th.

    Please, help me!

    Thanks in advance!

    I’m sorry for my English.

  • Codex Meridian

    Very risky advice! What if Google decided to count those links or those links are counted??? Don’t risk if you do not know what you are REALLY doing.

  • Codex Meridian

    @Danny Sullivan ” Since Google is the authority that actually can define what spam is for
    its own search engine, it makes a lot of sense to listen to it”

    With all due respect Danny, this is grossly inaccurate. I see dozens of great sites with great number of readers, followers and commenter yet slammed by Google Penguin (e.g., does it mean that the site is spam?

    If yes, then Google as an authority is still an IDI*T in classifying spam or whoever is responsible for launching this crappy algo. People hates spam, so are you, so as Matt Cutts.. Even I hates spam, but these affected sites are loved by people and yet classified as spam??

    It does not require a PH.D engineer super search engine scientist to understand these things. All does it require to understand is just little common sense of the things that matters.

    As a journalist Danny, this is how you should say..umm.. being neutral. Not that all times Google is right. You should  stand and defend what is wrong and write by examining facts around. And using common sense instead of defending Google on this update that they are always right just because they are an authority?

    What you are doing skewed a bit to being a biased journalist.

  • Codex Meridian

    @ newyorker_1 .I disagree. Search the dirtiest term viagra in Google and compare it Bing. The results in Bing is way more relevant and trusted to read. I am using Bing as my default search for a week now, for the first time in 10 years. I am happy with the results.

  • Gyana Ranjan

    can sombody give the links of google where mention about penguin update… like web masters blog or matcuts blog.. or any where… 

  • Dave Philley

    Hello Danny,
    My site started losing a lot of traffic since Panda, and even more when Penquin was released.  I believe this has happenned because my site is an affiliate site.  As stated on Google’s Webmaster Tools: 
    “Pure affiliate sites consisting of content that appears in many other places on the web is unlikely to perform well in Google search results and can cause your site to be negatively perceived by search engines.”
    I haven’t seen anything in your latest post about the loss of traffic to affiliate sites like mine due to Panda/Penquin, and was wondering if you have any comments pertaining to this.
    Thank you and I look forward to your reply.

  • Yosh Anown

    if off page optimization can hurt your own website,
    then it can definitely hurt your competitor’s website as well!

  • Sean Hennessy

    How can this update be a “Success” when sites that have a much higher quality and user experience now are out ranked by 100′s less quality sites?  Regardless of what kind of spam they had pointing to their sites, If Google truly wants good search results then this will be reversed to reflect a devaluation of spammy links and not a permanent penalty.  If this is not the case then Google has no intention of creating better search results and is only concerned about increasing adsense revenue.  Why has Matt Cutts not been pressured to makes sense of my point here?  

  • Xtremeno

    This pengin update has hit the black hat SEOs very hard. Very informative article about this update. Google is planing for a mega update like this soon. 

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  • Jim

    As the discussions go on, I’d like to bring up a very real side to this matter.  Whether or not you agree with Penguins intent, doing something that causes so much turmoil and ranking loss is going to be especially devastating, in the current US economy, for a LOT of small businesses.  There are countless businesses which absolutely cannot afford to wait while things settle out.  Our phones are ringing more from new prospects who are quite disturbed by their loss of visibility – good for our biz, but bad news for the business owners, employees and their families.

  • Danny Sullivan

    Jim, of course there are business that have gained new rankings, and some of these have gained because unlike many of those who lost, they weren’t spamming Google.

  • andrewlea14

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  • Loki God From Asgard

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  • Avinash Savit

    Hey Danny,


    First of all
    thank you for your views on Penguin. I was waiting eagerly to hear something
    about Penguin.


    Some of the
    websites hit by Penguin update and we notice rank drop.




    We never use
    any kind of spammy or nunatural link startergy for backlinking as you clearly
    mentioned in your video. Still we notice rank drops! So Idid some case study on
    the following website.

    is one of the sites that I’m working on noticed ranking drop after Penguin

    keyword ranking in Google (India) before penguin update.


    Luxury serviced
    apartments Mumbai:  1.


    Apartments in Mumbai: 2.


    Apartments Bandra: 2.




    Ranking after


    Luxury serviced
    apartments Mumbai:  16.


    Apartments in Mumbai: 11.


    Apartments Bandra: 8.


    I after my
    research I found that only one keyword I was using as a anchor text in all the
    back link.


    I really don’t
    know which way go?




    So, Danny! What
    do you think? Keyword is the only reason. My site got hit by Penguine.

  • James Crawlord

    Hi Danny,

    Thanks for the post – i do really think it’s useful. Moreover, you have summed up some
    things that happened to google for the last crazy months.

    I have some questions, and i would be extremely grateful if you could help me somehow.

    We run a trustworthy site, which has over 10 years, and had a lot of real traffic and really good backlinks (although it was involved in some shady tactics a few months ago). On April 25 – the traffic has fallen with about 75%, so i’m sure it’s because of the Penguin.

    We have already started to clean its profile, and are in process of removing the spammy links.
    Everyone knows that it’s impossible to remove ALL bad links because many webmasters are not willing to remove them. As far as we will not submit the reconsideration request, we cannot show google which links we wanted to remove, but failed to do so.

    Is there any chance that having a small amount of bad backlinks we will recover after the next Penguin update? (just because the site is trustworthy and because the quantity and quality of good links is greater than the quantity of bad links)

    Or, may it happen the way, that because of let’s say 10-100 spammy links (in a profile of 50k good links) we won’t recover? Just because it’s an algo and until all red flags are removed we won’t recover?

    And one more question about fresh site. (“try further cleaning or consider starting over with a fresh site”)

    What do you, and Matt mean by “fresh site”?
    1) a totally new site on a new domain name
    2) the site on the same domain but with the improved design, greater quality &
    content, helpful tools, improved backlink profile and so on
    3) the same site with a 301 redirect on a new domain

    Any advice answer would be much appreciated.

  • Iftekhar Ahmed

     I believe the fact that google penguin has taken out the trash out of the search results. Infact none of my sites got affected by the penguin update.

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  • bapkins

    All i can say is i employ around 40 people. We have been around for 10 years. We dont spam. We write our own descriptions. Our phones have gone quiet more or less overnight and now there are newspapers and sites we’ve never even seen before with poor content coming ahead of us.
    My god. Did anyone at google think hey whens the best time to screw a small business over ? In the middle of a recession and around the end of March just after a the end of the financial year end. We were worried before they did this and now we will have to make around 20 people redundant.
    Well done Google. Supporting small businesses all the way.

  • Paul Rone-Clarke

    Starting with a fresh site. You have to laugh, I have a client with a site almost 15 years old with over 4 million words in well over 2,500 articles and research papers published once and only once on the this site.

    All written by the clients (Ph.D.’s amd M.A’s for the most part) on a very serious science based topic. Although the site had virtually no commerciality per se (a “contact us” page was about it) Never even attempted to get a single link in all that time. (Used to get 90% of traffic through Alta Vista in 1998) But eventually, through no effort of their own raken number one for various phrases related to proteins, amino acids and related things. On pure scientific research merit and weight of research. They eventually came over reliant on the traffic from searches from other acedmic sites. Students would find them each Fall and bookmark and stay with them as they studies Bio Chem or similar. They had (have maybe still) a very stroong educational espect.

    2 weeks ago it went. Not in the top 1000 for most of the keywords it ranked for. Went from 22,000 UV’s a day to under 500.

    Not one link ever made, not one piece of content ever copied. A serious full and regularly updated site that has aspects of it’s research funded by the UK govt and various charities. Gone.

    “Start again with a new site” is biggest piece of bull I think I’ve ever read. How about us not allowing a monopoly with Google then allowing the company with the virtual monopoly to mess up so badly? This is our fault for giving the cretinous Google so much power. Power they clearly can’t handle and ill deserve.

  • Paul Rone-Clarke

     Andreas is right. Googles elgorithm changes daily. These fanciful names are just for the big updates, but sites move all the time. The basic algo can move your site from one hour to the next.

  • Terry

    Matt Cutts said ““It’s been a success from our standpoint.”
    He and his google kool-aid drinkers are pretending the Emperor is not stark naked! (And stark raving mad!)

    The FACT is – and I can’t believe they even have the audacity to pretend otherwise – the search results now SUCK. And all I can say is that I hope their arrogance and stupidity will be their downfall!

    Please check out this blog to see examples of why what I am saying is true:
    whatdoesgooglewant dotblogspot dotcom

    The fact is that the Penguin is rewarding really crappy sites with first page position and has punished many content-rich sites by banishing them to their back pages.

  • finalwebsites

     Hi Danny, I read that somewhere before… my blog got links from and Both sites having thousands of search results in the google index. I guess these 100K of links are responsible for my site’s punishment. If you say that these links doesn’t count anymore, I ask myself why they have counted before?

  • Danny S

     I agree.

    I have 3 sites, 1 site I made almost 2 years ago but stopped working on over a year ago. it naturally fell back to the 12th place for a competitive keyword. Now after Penguin it is suddenly on the fifth position. (I used a lot of paul (and that woman) link packets for it, so basically forum profiles)

    Another site that was a bit younger that was doing very well. Had number 1 positions for many keywords. That site basically disappeared from the rankings and no message from Google.

    My third site is my youngest site which I was starting to slowly rank for. After the penguin I suddenly shot up and got good positions on difficult keywords.

    All sites have original content but the first site is only 2 pages and not updated in a long time. The other 2 have original content updated once in a while. It just doesn’t make any sense. If Google wants to deliver the best results then the first site should not go up and the other 2 should have done better.

  • Alan Seletkovic

    Hi Danny,

    Thanks for the interesting article.

    Until a few days ago I thought that Negative SEO is almost as credible as Loch Nech Monster sightings.

    After reading article “Successful Negative SEO
    Case”, I am not so sure any more.

    It’s written in a fine detail by hired gunslinger, who was hired by a company to destroy their competitor.

    Quite disturbing really, but at least we better know how it is done and possibly be able to defend if somebody is after us or our clients.

    Also, while we are on the Negative SEO subject, could you give us your interpretation to Matt Cutts’ answer to:

    “How do you protect against sites being penalized for bad links that they have not built?”

  • vertical pharmacy

    Panda is bringing good quality content sites up and penguin is bringing bad linking sites down. sounds like we will get a much better quality result, but sadly penguin is a very big dissapointment

  • AJ Mihalic

    Well Gnet is right about one thing here. Clearly there has been an algorithm update that “penalizes” you for bad links. Obviously, a reference to 5 years ago is completely irrelevant to new discussions on negative SEO. I’m not sure why Danny keeps mentioning previous scares as evidence that new scares are irrelevant. 

  • AJ Mihalic

    “But complaining about what wasn’t caught isn’t a solution to improving your own situation, if you were hit.”

    Actually, pointing out inconsistencies in what was caught IS productive if it results in responses to clean up that spam too. SERPs are zero-sum, so of course Google would care about a spam algorithm change that resulted in worse spammed sites ranking better….Assuming Google actually cares about diverse, quality, competitive results. I’m also skeptical that an algorithm can determine “quality” or “accuracy” of information anyway, so finding out how they do that is an interesting and possibly important task. Due to their market share Google essentially controls billions of dollars of e-commerce AND access to information. A lot of people will take the first thing they read as true, particularly if it is published on a fairly reputable site like SEL. However, obviously opinions aren’t necessarily “correct” even if they come from “experts” (and even if 99% of the people hold them).

  • pars g

     Dear sir
    My name is Javid and I launched my site about 8 months ago. (
    We started with 30 articles in a day and we have 7thousands of them by now.
    Lately (about first of December) 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 December 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 December 25 and December 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 have find your blog from Google and looking forward for your answering.
    Here is some pictures from us in Google Webmaster Tools

    I added too our site name in all of titles of the articles.
    Our content were like this before:
    But I’ve changed it to:
    Article Title- Title of Site
    And 6-7thousands a more of these changes

    My traffic from Google fell to one third  or one Quarter and most of my visits are from Google images

    please help me
    Yours Sincerely


  • Tony Thornby

    I’m based in the High Wycombe, UK and my company delivers SEO so I’m interested in who is on page one of Google’s search results for ‘SEO company Wycombe’.  I just tried the search, when logged out, and the number one URL was

    No great surprise there since the site has the keyword in the URL.  But it seemed to be a very small website so I dug further.  What I found was over 500 pages on the site which were VERY similar in content except for the fact that each included a different town or London postcode in the URL and content.  Many of the pages are highly ranked for the relevant town / postcode.

    So Panda and Penguin have worked in delivering better search results?  How’s this for proof that  in thinking this Matt is being an Ostrich?

  • arislan

    I am not aggree that Penguin update is good update. It’s really messed up thing that looks like google programmers don’t know what they did. I’ts impossible my site to be with 1 000+ visits per day and in the next day to drop up to 10-20 visits per day! Impossible! Plus the fact that when I copy-paste in google exact name of a random post from my site, google shows like 20-30 links to my site on first page… but guess what these links have nothing connected to the random post name I’ve copy-pasted! As I said Penguin update is a big messed-up fail!

  • pars g

    Dear sir
    My name is Javid and I launched my site about 8 months ago. (
    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:
    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

    Is it helpful to change domain and let the Google know through Google web master tools?
    I mean transferring all of the data to a new domain.
    How can I recognize what caused the problem, Google panda or tags?
    Is it helpful to  re index tags or its better to do nothing about it?
    What is wrong with my article that the other sites which copied them have a better ranking from my own site?
    I want you to know I am very graceful about your guidance and help
    The problem is my ranking have fell and even my own articles which originally belongs to my site have a better ranking in sites which do copy them regularly. Some times I can’t even see the name of my site in the first page

    What have caused the problem with my site and its ranking fell, is it Penguin or removing so many tags from it?
    I want to know if changing the title of  6thousands article have made the problem accorded.
    When our ranking fell, we No index all of our tags and I was looking forward to gave my traffic back but it is about one months which I couldn’t see any changes.
    I have read in some articles and weblogs that removing tags and No index them will bring the traffic back, is that true?
    What do you think about chaging domain? Would it solve the problem or may not do an help.
    Do I have to begin from start in a new domain or it is possible to transfer all the data there. Which one do you recommended

    please help me
    Yours Sincerely

  • Kratom

    This article is a big help! Still now sure what I did exactly wrong yet to get dropped but this has given me a few ideas.. changing site wide links on my blogs & differentiate anchor. Thanks!

  • Corporate Gifts

    I think penguin update is just stupid. After this update the search result is of lower quality than what it use to be. A lot of those people that buy links are actually those that actually care for their website. Now what is see is that low quality website appear in top search result. If google do not do something about it, some other search engine will over take google, just like how google over take alta vista.

  • Olaf Lederer

    Exactly… this is about my latest article:

    Right now there the top two results which are just links to the original.
    So where is the search engine we like to use over 2-3 years?

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