Google’s Matt Cutts On Upcoming Penguin, Panda & Link Networks Updates

matt-cutts-panda-smx-1314101535Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, announced new updates with Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithms and new link network targets in 2013. Matt announced this during the SMX West panel, The Search Police.

Significant Penguin Update

Matt said that there will be a large Penguin update in 2013 that he thinks will be one of the more talked about Google algorithm updates this year. Google’s search quality team is working on a major update to the Penguin algorithm, which Cutts called very significant.

The last Penguin update we have on record was Penguin 3 in October 2012. Before that, we had Penguin 2 in May 2012 and the initial release in April.

So, expect a major Penguin release that may send ripples through the SEO industry this year.

A Panda Update Coming This Friday Or Monday

Matt also announced there will be a Panda algorithm update this coming Friday (March 15th) or Monday (March 18th). The last Panda update was version 24 on January 22nd, which is one of the longer spans of time between Panda refreshes we’ve seen in a long time.

Another Link Network Targeted

Matt Cutts confirmed that Google targeted a link network a couple weeks ago, and said Google will go after more in 2013. In fact, Matt said that they will release another update in the next week or two that specifically targets another large link network.

Postscript: See our important follow-up story, Google: Panda To Be Integrated Into The Search Algorithm (Panda Everflux).

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


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • Yakezie

    Exciting stuff! Leveling the playing field. Good luck all!

  • Durant Imboden

    Re Panda: Update or refresh? (You referred to an “algorithm update” but followed with a comment about “refreshes,” so the apples and oranges have left this easily-confused geezer wondering exactly what was said.)

  • Alan

    Happy days ahead. SER and WMW should be fun for a few weeks after that update.


    There looks to have been a pre-update on March 6th which also effected site preview in the Index. Is this a glitch ? Why would site preview be effected as well as rankings ?

  • Bradley Benner

    More updates means more pseudo SEO’s running for the hills! It’s fun to watch the faint of heart when G drops the ax!

  • John David

    I’m waiting for the update.. i want to see what to happen.

  • Raviraj Tak

    It looks like they are up to something fishy. Almost after 5 months there is a talk on Penguin. Lets wait and watch what HAVOC it will cause in SEO.

  • Jerry Low

    Leveling the playing filed? You can’t be serious!

  • Kaloyan Banev

    Definitely it was time for this update, however I am not quite sure how they will discover those networks – most link networks run under different IPs, servers and even domains are registered under different owners.

  • Funny Jokey

    Buckle up for the stormy SEO ride guys …. Time to call Mayday Mayday ;)

  • Stirring Trouble International

    Thanks Barry.

  • Lilacor

    Barry, you say Matt Cutts confirmed about Sape, but I think this info is not confirmed, but just a gossip. Please, provide a link to the confirmation, not to your unconfirmed article!

  • Pankaj Giri

    Yo! Matt… At least you are trying to Delete those Spammers from SEO world…… Great! But why your algorithms is not equal for all kind of sites… I have seen many websites that they are violating your terms, instead they are ranked well with your Google Adsense too.. huh!

  • Garg Ankit

    Matt says, “there will be more and more updates….”
    I say, “Bring it on!!!”

  • Shiv Kumar Gupta

    let’s see.. what Happening on sites that are spamming Google for ranking purposes.

  • Raj Mankotia

    oooohhh gosh… again Trouble
    …lets sea what happened

  • Moin Shaikh

    No doubt, it will push adword on even fore front.

  • Sức Khỏe 4u

    Good things come to an end.

  • navjot singh

    Alright Matt, ball us. We are ready to hit SIX. :P

  • Upendra Kumar Chansoria

    Please Save all from this panda

  • Alok Gangrade

    This is good to see now what Google has changed this year, waiting for changes and how it effects on SERP

  • Adam

    Meanwhile I’m seeing companies buying High PR links on content rich sites getting away with it as small businesses that do well from genuine blogger outreach and social engagement get spanked.

  • Arun Kumar

    Many SEO/s are going to lose their job.

  • Martin Dimitrov

    everything falls into place

  • Ashish Pandey

    it’s good news, sir my questions is “why It’s algorithms is not equal for all kind of sites?” I have seen many websites that they are Infringement your terms, but they got a good position in Google SERP…. how’s it is possible?? …..hamm

  • Pedro Matias

    I recommend at least 10 “ave maries”, for breakfast, lunch and dinner as if it were antibiotics.

  • Nick Ker

    The key phrase here is “self-proclaimed”. Or do you have an example of an actual site with no guideline violations that has been directly hurt by Panda or Penguin ?

  • Nick Ker

    No. SEOs will be just fine. It is the link spammers who claim to be SEOs who should be concerned.

  • Matteo De Angelis

    this is the end… by The Doors :D

  • Chenzo

    Wooohooo – bring the pain!
    your pal

  • Kamal Kumar

    Good Question asked by Ashish, i am also confused about the same issue..!!

    Please clarify that how we can come out from this situation?

  • AdamJoneson

    Agree with you. The SEO is not going to die in my opinion. Just the rules of the game are changing and those who manage to rank faster with spam tactics will have to understand that.

  • Andrew Miller

    i think google is going crazy and insane … it doesn’t want to rank any website in SERP… all it wants to rip webmaster and forcing them to use their adwords…google has become the solo champion it has monopoly and it does whatever it wants … there are no guidelines no standard and nothing at all, matt cuts and everyone in google’s team are just brining useless updates they have hit many decent sites without any reason and they never tell why you are hit..

  • Deepak HM

    Arun you got it totally wrong, instead it will push SEO’s to learn advanced search marketing techniques.

  • Ben Rush

    Probably just means we’ll see more TripAdvisor listings everywhere, including lots of duplicates from their many many local TLDs. Excellent!

  • Lilacor

    Here is the opinion of the Sape expert Nikolay Stoyanov on the topic:

  • Deepak HM

    January 22nd – 2013 at 3 PM IST, I have observed drastic change in SERP for most of the sites. Google pushed down maximum sites in search results for link spamming and hope to see even more accurate result this time Barry. This will push SEO’s to think only about natural and Google friendly optimization. A great chance to learn much more advanced SEO techniques.

  • Miklin SEO

    That’s a little scary for SEO. Matt Cutts and his army of small cats are coming!

  • Lilacor
  • Rauf Arshad

    no my not many ,, only those who used spammy ways to increase their traffica and search engine ranking

  • Rauf Arshad

    Its good to have Penguin Update and Panda Update in March , there is allot of spamming sites are on the top , i hope this time there is going to be a big change for the good quality content sites

  • Joseph Gourvenec

    The devaluation of targeted anchor backlinks and more weight toward social engagement with primary driver Google+, Contextual content and brand association. Thanks Interflora and Carat agency for your assistance!!! Haha!

  • Wendy Piersall

    My question exactly – BIG difference between the two!

  • Will Stevens

    A blog selling SAPE links says SAPE links are still worth buying? Seems legit…

  • Nick Ker

    Google DOES have guidelines:
    and they really have not changed much over time. Just like any other profession, if you don’t want to learn & follow the rules, don’t be surprised when there are consequences.

  • Yakezie

    I’m absolutely serious. There are plenty of sites who do no backlinking, no advanced SEO, with GREAT content not getting the love they deserve. Google helps folks who don’t have to rely on SEO to win.

  • Yakezie

    Out of curiosity, do SEOs get MORE busy or LESS busy after each Penguin or Panda update? From a top down perspective, you’d think the SEO industry would shrink as each subsequent update no longer necessitates SEO as Google’s aim is to eliminate the need for beyond basic SEO. On the short term, I have to imagine a major SEO scramble to try to fix what broke yes?

  • Kurtis Gilbreth

    Google is always going to change. Don’t we all this by now? Well, maybe some of us don’t want to know this because they are hiding skeletons in the closet. With change you adapt and move forward.

  • Adam Boulton

    Ditto. Paid or “sponsored” links on legitimate high authority sites (that don’t know paid links are bad) are still one of the best ways to get rankings. I’m not saying I do it, but I do see a lot of competitors doing it. What’s worse, is unless these websites flat out turn themselves in, there is absolutely no way for Google to know these are paid links. They will always work – up until the point that Google starts using better ranking factors than just links.

  • Durant Imboden

    Everyone won’t go bankrupt. There will be winners and losers (as with every other update).

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