Penguin Update Peck Your Site By Mistake? Google’s Got A Form For That

Was your site hit by Google’s new Penguin Update that targets spam? Are you not guilty as charged? Google’s got a new feedback form for that, as well as a method to report spam that should have been caught.

I’m Innocent!

The head of Google’s web spam team, Matt Cutts, shared the information on Twitter today. The first form is for those who believe they were targeted by mistake. It says:

If your site was affected by the “Penguin” webspam algorithm update on April 24th, 2012, and you don’t think it should have been affected, please give us more details below.

It then asks for the URL of your page, an example of a search that you’d expect it to show up for but which instead lists “non-ideal results” and any additional comments.

They’re Guilty!

The second form is Google’s standard spam reporting page. If you’re seeing spam that you think the Penguin Update should have caught, Google says to use that form, bypass options like reporting paid links and use the “Report webspam” button.

Selecting that brings up a form where you can enter the URL of the spammy page, the exact query it shows up for and any additional details. It’s important to use the word “penguin” as part of the details field.

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Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: Penguin Update

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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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  • http://www.shoutmeloud.com/ Harsh Agrawal

    Well.. As I mentioned in my recent article…
    http://www.shoutmeloud.com/google-penguin-update-recovery-tips.htmlGoogle will be rolling out Penguin 1.1 soon as 24th april update is far from perfection and we have seen lots of issues. Hopefully this update will be rolled out soon and we will see better result…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=738199271 Joseph Sanchez

    I put in my request. Hopefully they get a chance to give my local company another shot.

    Thank you SEL! and you especially Danny!

  • http://www.shoutmeloud.com/ Harsh Agrawal

    @facebook-738199271:disqus  Have you made any changes before filling this form? Why your site is penalized? 

  • TheTruth66

    This shows good effort on Google to try and get feedback and correct mistakes.  I as a webmaster appreciate this.

    Danny, do you have any insight on what a site that was affected on hundreds of keywords should do?  The form provided by Google only asks for one keyword and URL, our site was affected on almost every single page.

  • netmeg

    Penguins don’t peck!

  • http://gizhack.com/ Madhav Tripathi

    Panda was not listening anyone but Penguin is listening. It is good.

  • http://twitter.com/Blogger_Navin Navin Kunwar

    Well, most of the bloggers are confused will these types of algo. i found lots of genuine bloggers are victim of penguin  algo. hope consideration will work. 

  • Royal_Martin

    They would not be asking for these if there was not a problem… Get a couple hundred thousand complaints and they will realize this one did not work the way they wanted it to.

  • http://www.bijutoha.wordpress.com/ Md.Bakhtiar Uddin

    Thanks Penguin and Matt Cutts ! And do you have any information to find out spamming for my site . 

  • Peter Watson

    I am assuming that there will be many forms completed and many sites for Google to re-evaluate. I did mine earlier today. I’m not holding my breath!

  • mahendra1270

    Every thing is going good for my blog and the traffic has increased by 20% by this new Penguin update

  • Shahbaz Ahmed

    I doubt my site got hit by Penguin bigntallapparel.com, Not a right time :/

  • http://www.tricksmachine.com/ Vishal Gaikar

    They need to provide the same kind of form for the Panda update as too many sites has been affected with Panda.

  • Shane Hunter

    Does nobody else see this form as a bad thing? Negative SEO is already starting to run rampant, and now we have a form to nuke competition? There’s no way, logistically speaking they’d be able to handle as many complaints that are going to come in…

    Google screwed up, again. They just need to ‘man-up’ and roll back the update imho.

    Great post though! Thanks! :)

  • http://www.cutey.co.uk/ cutey

    Problem with this update is, it’s targeted spammy links but left paid alone, making results unbalanced.

  • Andy Kinsey

    and look a huge cue of likely spammers submitting to that form… pretty sure you’ve been caught now and manual check will confirm …enjoy

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GH5J354EXLZTJQOKJWG6UANH5I John

    Calling all Webmasters!!! 

    A petition to Google has begun on Change.org to reverse it’s recent Penguin update.  This change has forced out independent publishers and limited access to information. Additionally, it has destroyed the livelihood of several small-mid-sized publishers, and boosted the rankings of multi-million dollar publishing platforms like eHow, Amazon, WikiHow and Yahoo Answers. 

    Please protect independent publishers ability to be found in search. Do your part and sign this petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/google-please-kill-your-penguin-update-l

  • http://cdo-realestate.com/ CDO Real Estate

    Thanks Danny for your very good coverage of the new update, your articles are very helpful.

  • weirdisland

    Ah – but complaints from site owners aren’t going to bother Google that much. The thing they’ll be watching will really be user metrics (bounce rates from the SERPs etc). A bunch of guys bleating about how their site has been canned won’t mean much to Google – the end result is about the users of Google.
    That being said, I can’t say the quality ‘improvements’ in the SERPs is anything to write home about.

  • http://cdo-realestate.com/ Mathias

    I’m affraid not… Like most of the forms of Google, you fill them and it does nothing but at least it gives the impression something happened, it’s magic!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=738199271 Joseph Sanchez

     I changed the title of the main landing page to not have the keyword in it twice. Other than that, nope nothing.

  • http://twitter.com/DawnKYS Dawn

    What people need to call for is the ability to discount bad links.  People simply cannot undo bad off-site work, so Google have poisoned many sites with good on-site but bad off-site work and made them worthless.

    At least with previous updates, correcting your mistakes was possible.

    As it is, businesses are being penalised for 1) Copying their competition – if everyone above them was doing well for directory and article marketing, why would they not copy in order to get in the game.  2) Google’s previous failings – people only gamed the system because it was possible to game.  Google should just close down these holes, not kill sites who exploit them.  3) Often businesses will have hired third parties to do SEO, so why should they be punished?

    As for the negative SEO businesses which are already springing up… scary.

  • http://twitter.com/jamesprattIII James Pratt

    The spam reporting form has been there for a long time, nothing new. Also it’s not like it triggers an immediate penalty for the site you report – it puts them in line for a manual review, which is probably a very long line.  If you are worried about someone reporting you, make sure your backlinks are squeaky clean.

  • SEOMaestro

    What a bloody joke Google is at the moment. As the owner of one of the top SEO agencies here in Australia I am absolutely furious to hear these a**clowns in Google lead by the ever incompetent Matt Cutts are driving thousands of business owners into bankruptcy. Blackhat, whitehat, or no hat a lot of websites have been affected and these guys will not own up to their mistakes.

  • Sam B

    My site was hit by mistake so I have a lot of time to surf
    the web and look what I found, a funny video about Google updates, this will put
    a smile on some faces

    Hitler’s Reaction to the recent Google update (04-24-2012)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0St9B1kmJ2g

  • escortmanchesteruk

    good updation, i also affected google new updation

  • http://www.usbtips.com/ USBtips

    Whatever happened to the schoolyard law of “don’t snitch”. How about instead of reporting every competitor in SERPs, people just work harder on their own websites? Crazy, I know.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PFDODI2UWICAF7A6JNQIMICYXI Rob Lance

    If you search “bad credit personal loans” you see a site about fungus ranking #5 using invisible links in the footer.  LOL  Good work Google!  Nevermind the website with fake reviews.  

  • Darius Connors

    This guy Matt Cutts acts like an idiot, first the penguin then panda 3.5.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Nice catch, thanks, Rob.

  • http://www.seoweave.com/ Greg Fowler

    Right now the bottom line is to build links that have the name of your company only, if you look at the companies that are ranking well, most of them are using the name only and very little anchor text keywords.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GH5J354EXLZTJQOKJWG6UANH5I John

    Petition the new update on Change.org.  It’s only 50 strong. Do your part in helping it grow: http://www.change.org/petitions/google-please-kill-your-penguin-update-l

  • http://www.bestseotips.com/ seo tips

    Nice to see those shitty sites vanish from the SERP.. but feeling bad about the good ones.. Shouldn’t Big G do some proper testing before rolling out those hasty patch ups?

  • seoservicescanada

    Google has gone crazy right now!
     They are just trying to promote paid search by hook or crook. All these updates are just meant to force small business owner to go for paid search (means more money in google’s pocket). If you observe closely latest search result ranking you can easily see that google is favoring the big brands and news portals (which are not really rely on google for traffic and revenue) and worst hit section is small scale business websites (which partially or fully rely on google for revenue and traffic)

  • Ryan Friedrich

    I’m sorry but this is sheer stupidity. Since when is it the user’s responsibility to report problems in a massive rollout like this? Did anyone bother to test this update? This is irresponsible on Google’s part. Period. 

    Honestly, if someone reading has any large media connections such as a well read news paper, some negative PR needs to be shown to Google. If you want them to fix this crap, they need to be staring down the barrel of a site like the New York Times. If the NYT shows that G’s been entirely irresponsible with their results and suggests Bing or say.. Yandex for a better search experience, Google will listen.

    Hit them where it hurts. The wallet. 

    If someone does have a friend journalist at a large newspaper there is already plenty of data. If they need more then I will more than happily provide TONS of queries that return results that are beyond uninformative. One search looking for prepaid Visa cards that offers me Viagra instead comes to mind. 

  • MyFatPenguin

    SEO Maestro: either they will not own up to their mistakes or it is part of a strategy to increase CTR on adwords. 

    Sam B: I think it just about sums it up. I wish you luck in spreading this wide and far until they man up and say they did wrong and they did bad. 

    In my markets most pages at least contain 10% garbage. What make my blood boil is they will not say specifically what I have done wrong. I don’t want guesses or generalities. 

  • MyFatPenguin

    Done. This will come to a head if someone decides to take a third-party to court for spamming their site causing a loss in livelihood. Google may just be forced to give evidence as to whether it was indeed the cause of the loss in their livelihood. 

  • MyFatPenguin

    I have a rather interesting idea which may also interest you. Contact me – I prefer to post a malinator address as this is in public - M8R-j50exr@mailinator.com butwill reply normally.

  • http://www.glocalseo.com/ SeanPaul

    Google Paypal france in google.com results 7, 8 and 9 are viagra sites . Google failed .

  • MyFatPenguin

    Very interesting to see how long those results which I confirm from France stay there before Paypal write to Google about misrepresentation and association with their business. I am sure Google will throw in an adword voucher or two as compensation. 

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Google didn’t ask users to report problems. If users, in the sense of searchers, report problems, presumably they get that through pre-existing feedback forms at the bottom of searches, as well as in their feedback forms and in looking at stats. This was to give an outlet to site owners and publishers who feel they were hit by mistake. Plenty do, though repeatedly when I look at specific examples, I can see reasons why they were. That doesn’t explain, of course, the weird results that still come up.

    As for the mainstream press, plenty of them follow Search Engine Land plus my personal feed. So far, no one’s been interested versus say the Panda Update last year. My guess is they’re not hearing complaints from a broader base of publishers (as was the case with Panda) and also because they likely were pretty distracted by other news last week (Apple earnings, Google Drive….).

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Google’s already been sued over this in the SearchKing case about ten years ago. The court found Google had a First Amendment right to list sites however it liked.

  • MyFatPenguin

    I think the media will follow if they a sniff of the FCC looking closely at them and petitions start hitting their desks accusing them of bait’ and ‘switch’. You have to remember that Google are a near monopoly. Also they are very exposed to the stock markets who are very fickle.  That makes them fair game. As having worked in a corporation at a senior level, I am stunned by their lack of quality control – you just don’t put Paypal on the same page as Viagra. And the millions of other mistakes which are becoming apparent. You also don’t make a point of upsetting what is clearly millions of content providers. The stories we are beginning to see coming out make headlines. When the first suicides happen and things like that it is going to be a PR nightmare for them. I do however say they have brought a lot of this on themselves. They have been very ambiguous and they have not been very transparent. The days of a free search engine must be nearly over. 

  • radarseller

    yes Danny, however, there is not just one court system in this world
    google is actually more dominant in europe than in the US (90% vs 66) so they can be sued anywhere.
    10years ago , google was not the major player it is now either

  • http://www.wordpresssites.net/wordpress/ BradleyDalton.com

    My traffic started falling on the 12th April not the 24th and now is down 85%. I’ve never done any work on links but someone is spamming my url’s. Google hasn’t worked out how to distinguish this yet but they are getting better at not indexing the same images

  • http://twitter.com/meganshare Megan

    Hi Danny  my questions for you.

    Is there any strong future in SEO?
    Do SEO’s have to move completely towards SOCIAL?
    What about Social bookmark sites like folkd.com should we avoid submitting to social sites as google says they won’t prefer database generated sites.
    Is blog commenting & Forum dead ?
    What are the best methods for link building?
    Can you share some tips about how to come out of this update ? 

  • Joe Walker

    I was looking to buy some labels for my business and I needed them printed very fast so I typed in the phrase “labels overnight” . It turned up twitter, linkedin, facebook, yelp. all for the the one company that has that keyword domain name. I was hoping for several different companies that offered fast service. The Penguin update really sucks for good search results

  • http://philadelphiaseohop.com/ seohop

    very comprehensive analysis of this i have been blogging about it as well. There is alot of confusion and misconception about the over optimization. I am looking forward to the next update to see the outcome. My most recent blog is New SEO Strategies Guard Against Google Updates Panda & Penguin

  • http://www.facebook.com/cynthia.vanbibber Cynthia VanBibber

    Our site, http://www.themed-party-ideas.com was unfairly hit by the algorithm update. We have high quality content. We do do some “optimization,” that is, our images are named the same as our pages (this helps with our organization). Our titles and page names are the same (problem?) We do include our target keyword a number of times on the page to ensure we’ll be found, but I don’t think overmuch. We do have a lot of people linking to us that we’ve never asked to link to us; many of these sites are spammy sites. The numbers are in the 1,000s. Being a small business, we don’t have the resources to sue anyone to remove our links. We’ve never done any nefarious link building or paid a company to link-build for us. The only links we ever elicit are from sites we write for. These are always reputable sites (or we wouldn’t waste our time). We are concerned we may be subject to someone else’s black-hat SEO and taken down for this reason. We are convinced we have some of the best content in the arena and have confidence that even posting here wouldn’t hurt us. I hope you’ll have a look at our site and see why it somehow triggered your flags.

  • afunguy24

    A lot of affiliate links in the footer.

    Titles seem to be overoptimized. Check out this great post about over optimization http://www.seomoz.org/blog/6-changes-every-seo-should-make-before-the-over-optimization-penalty-hits-whiteboard-friday

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