• http://twitter.com/dan_shure Dan Shure

    Just took a quick look at your site. You may want to change some on-page factors, such as what appears to be overuse of the term “commercial” (title, headers, content) and all the exact match links in the footer. I’d tone that down a bit.

  • robthespy

    No problem, mate.

    I’ve been at this since 1997 and I guess I just don’t get all-worked up over stuff like this. Your outrage is understandable.

    The Google shakeups are part of the game. A game you CANNOT CONTROL 100%!

  • contact

     wow , I just saw this now..indeed incredible…but we don’t hear much fuss by the most reknown bloggers out there so google is unlikely to really care

  • newyorker_1

    Million dollar question is which percentage of relevant search results are delivered for every search query. If we judge by the examples here it’s shows that less than 50% of search results are relevant for any search. In “viagra” case it’s about 30%. So if you search for something and 50% of results are junk right away, what can we say about that search engine? Is it broken, does it sucks or something else. The real problem here is that G doesn’t have competition. I can’t believe people are counting on Bing because it delivers even worse results than Google. The only real competitor could be Facebook with it’s own search engine, but it seems to me that it’s not going to happen anytime soon.

  • Graeme Olsen

    What I’d like to know is whether the massive ranking drops experienced by many people is only the result of the algorithm change, or has there been some kind of penalty involved too? That is, has Google applied a temporary/permanent penalty (on top of the algorithm change) to sites they think are guilty of webspam?

  • contact

     google dit it on purpose
    one: the false update of the 17th
    then the panda 3.5 update
    then the penguin update

    all of that in 10 days so webmasters can’t react
    just perfect…..for google!

  • http://www.autopten.com/ John Mc

    Since Pinguen update I remembered that Bing exists and I’ve started to use it more frequently. I’m amazed with its search results, they are really good.

  • radarseller

    search for viagra
    9th position: Sports Car Market Magazine – Car Reviews, Buyers Guides …
    this site has been compromised….

  • http://www.facebook.com/sam2san Sameer Ahamed Mulla

    Danny..

    In this case when there are so many people complaining that their sites are tanked; I don’t probably see any reason why Google should be giving any explanation. From their stand point, any suggestion over corrective measure could be very well adopted by spammers too. I simply wonder a company which can build a social network within months could let this type of blunder happen. I understand search is much more complex than the way we comprehend it; I still feel this is much more than eradicating webspam. Google had done that long long ago.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    I think that the vast majority of people searching Google aren’t having problems, so it’s hard to see what blunder they’re going to be worried about. There are indeed some very odd results mixed in among very good results that people are pointing out. For some searches, there aren’t any odd results at all. But yes, it is a blunder in that for these weird examples, you do thing — what, didn’t you look at the results for something like viagra in testing and think hmm, should we release this?

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    But you can’t judge that way. Viagra is a heavily spammed query. I’ve done some searches for things that really aren’t prone to spam and come away just fine.

  • radarseller

    google is taking notice, look at cutts last tweet
    they must know something is really wrong with this update but they are unlikely to roll it back leaving us in the dust

  • radarseller

    so overall would you say that this update is a success indeed/
    with better results shown than before the update?

  • Peter Kern

    It is not ONLY about odd results! Even if the result is related to the search it is very often poor and much worse than it was before. There is a lot of not quality websites in top searches now. How this in your opinion is an improvement??

  • robthespy

    He does that quite a bit, radar. 

    Two examples:

    From Matt Cutts in August 2011-
    “Scrapers getting you down? Tell us about blog scrapers you see… We need datapoints for testing,”

    From Matt in March 2010-
    Google has been working on some new algorithms and tools to tackle linkspam
    and we’d like to ask for linkspam reports from you. If you’d like to
    tell us about web sites that appear to be using spammy links (e.g. paid
    links that pass PageRank, blog spammers, guestbook spammers, etc.),
    here’s how to send us more info.

    Go to
    https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/spamreport

    and tell us about the site that appears to be employing link spam. Be
    sure to include the word “linkspam” (all one word, all lower-case) in
    the textarea (the last field in the form).

  • newyorker_1

    Penguin’s purpose was to reduce spam not to increase it. If results for heavily spammed query are the same or worse after Penguin update, then the update is a failure. Or does Google avoid heavily spammed queries (and they should actually attack those first, not less spammed queries). Looking at queries not so prone to spam doesn’t make sense because those queries already have minimum spam (unless we expect that spam increases after Google update, and thus say “it didn’t increase spam, it’s success”). 

    In Viagra case I would expect that out of 10 results, at least 8 are relevant (manufacturer’s site, Wikipedia, NCBI, Mayo clinic etc) not see 6 shady pharmacies with hacked sites. That’s reduction of spam, everything else is yada yada talk about general reduction of spam, quality content, blah, blah…

    If we only could compare results before and after the update, we could discuss about relevancy. Comparing it to another broken engine like Bing, which copies ton of results from Google, is worthless. Generally, my opinion is that results are much worse than before, even on less spammed queries. On many queries, scrapers are getting first positions comparing to original authors (there was example here somewhere for that SEO article).

  • newyorker_1

    don’t forget that this update affected only 3% of queries and created such mess. People are not having problems probably with other 97% of queries. Imagine if it affected 20% or more it would cause havoc. Also we must not forget that our search habits are difficult to break. Even if Google showed 100% irrelevant results on first page, more people would continue searching through page 2,3,4… than change search engine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Natasha-Talbot/100000913781775 Natasha Talbot

    Two of my sites have dropped from over 80 keywords in page one to under 20 – I have spent so much time and money to get my sites where they were, I feel defeated and it seems to me Google just keeps dishing out these hits to many of us hard working people.  I personally believe its all one huge ploy to force website owners to end up having to pay for their adwords campaigns – total rip off merchants!

  • MyFatPenguin

    http://searchengineland.com/penguin-update-peck-your-site-by-mistake-googles-got-a-form-for-that-119698

    Read the post and confirmation of Viagra being listed 4 times on page 1 of Google.com in France for the search term “paypal france”.I have the screenshots and can confirm the original poster who found it. We will see how long Google stand by their algorithmic change and refuse to make exceptions. Watch the double standards apply when Ebay’s president finds out. We will soon see the standards which are being applied and rules for some but not for others. 

    ” Google has no plans to make manual exceptions. Webmasters cannot ask for reconsideration of their site, but we’re happy to hear feedback about the change on our webmaster forum.”

  • radarseller

    i have a hard time believing it only hit 3/4% of search..seems more widespread

  • http://www.facebook.com/sammyjayjayjay Sammy JayJay

    I have a relatively new site (a couple months old) that in terms of back links, all I have done are bookmarking, RSS feeds and many directories.. the main url and most pages have actually gone up…. so I don’t know what fuss on directories is all about?

    Also.. I have other older sites that were hit badly from the penguin.. and after Danny and Dawns advice, I have started to remove bad backlinks… so far I have removed about 10,000 for one site and one of its pages has today reappeared on page 2.. so that’s encouraging.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=688510025 Jesse Skeens

    How did you remove 10k links?

  • http://www.autopten.com/ John Mc

    I wonder the same

  • Don Marks

    Not sure if I am jumping the gun here, but thinking they have tweaked the penguin algo, all 4 sites I noticed of mine that were impacted are now back to pre-penguin rankings

  • http://www.manual-submissions.com/ Michiel Van Kets

    I didn’t actually read the post; I just scanned it to see if there’s somewhere factual information, but I couldn’t find anything; it’s just blah, blah, there’s no actual useful factual information here

    while what happened is really simple; google is frustrated with the fact that most people think that seo is about cheating, which is why services like mine are being passed by the cheating competition, so that’s why google has done the panda update and now the penguin update, so that honest services like mine can remain and all the cheaters are eliminated, that’s all there is to it.

    as long you just do an honest job of building a quality web site and you then go out there to market yourself in a respectable way; google will rank you

    but if you’re a cheater and whatever you’ve been producing is just crap; then you’re only getting what you deserve; no rankings!

    that’s all google is doing here; eliminating the cheaters, very good, thank you google!

  • http://www.manual-submissions.com/ Michiel Van Kets

    by the way; there are no surprises here, except maybe that it took google so long to finally come up with these, if you ask me; they’re at least 2 yeasr behind, they better hurry because they still have a lot more crap to filter out!

  • http://www.manual-submissions.com/ Michiel Van Kets

    what a BS – of course google can do whatever they want and no there are no reasons why they should do what pleases you 

    and for the plumbers under us; well, don’t order from him; order from me, it’s simply; unless you’re in a big city, as in; as long you’re somewhere in a smaller area, community, people will look in google for plumbers including their location, which means you hardly have any competition, so just a decent web site and some basic link building might very well be enough for you to be found

    Dawn is just trying to come up with excuse for being a cheater but failing miserably … 

  • newyorker_1

    it’s all about luck, honesty has nothing to do with it. Untouched sites got lucky this time and wait for the lottery next time. If honesty did matter, we woudn’t have 6 cheaters on first page for viagra no matter how spammed query is. There are honest, quality sites for viagra, but they are buried in the back of Google space. Cheating is one problem with this update and relevancy is another. There are some relevant cheaters still ranking high like scraper sites outranking original authors, although this problem was widespread even before the update.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/sam2san Sameer Ahamed Mulla

    For a layman; its as usual as searching any other day.. If he doesn’t find something useful; he simply goes back and clicks the next result. But think of it from the other point of view; its necessary for a search engine to provide 10 closest match to the searcher than providing 2 best match and 8 totally irrelevant? Today morning I was casually searching for “SEO Book” in Google.com and on 3rd spot I see seobook.net which is a rip-off of SeoBook and doesn’t contain a dime!. Considering the kind of $$ transactions happening on these keywords; I can’t imagine the magnitude of loss the guy who was supposed to be in that place might be facing with?

    I simply feel that Google does not have the same generosity towards webmasters that WMs have towards the company. I was in 8th grade when Google first arrived; and I personally spread the word to more than 100s of my friends to take a look at it. Ever since Facebook arrived; Google’s agenda has changed; and this very changed nature is indirectly pushing people against Google.

  • MyFatPenguin

    It is becoming amusing to see how many of the sites which have been spam indexing are now either issuing 404s or bringing their sites down.Tracking these bastards down is hard but when I do I make sure I telephone them at unearthly hours. I make it clear I will simply continue to aggravate them and pursue them. I would like to see a feature where the site owner can tell google he accepts no incoming links from certain countries or can even reference specific IP addresses (i.e. web sites). If Google is counting links from China, India, etc against a web site it is ridiculous. If the link comes from a site where they cannot even establish the owner of that site it is also ridiculous. 

  • http://twitter.com/DawnKYS Dawn

    “some basic link building might very well be enough for you to be found” – that’s black hat, my friend.

    Not trying to come up with an excuse for cheating – I’m just saying black/white hat is a false dichothemy (all SEO that doesn’t fall also under accessibility or usability is trying to cheat the system) and that the slaps have been too heavy.

    If click your link – I see that you are an “SEO” company who sell nothing but black hat techniques.

    It was a “Directory Submission
    Service” like yours which got me slapped. 

    “First we collect a list of related blogs for your site and we have native
    English staff who will make meaningful posts” – how is that not still spam you sell? You sell spam with a mask on it.

    “of course google can do whatever they want and no there are no reasons why they should do what pleases you ”

    When did I say they couldn’t? I’m questioning why they would want to push relevent results so far down that they appear above the sort of directories you are spamming them into.

  • http://twitter.com/DawnKYS Dawn

    Read his “honest services” – directory entries, posting in blogs, article marketing,  No cheating there, m’lord.

  • http://twitter.com/DawnKYS Dawn

    Yes, they should check your backlinks and make sure they are penalising all those directories and article sites in their crap pile.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fionn.downhill Fionn Downhill

    Ha Ha Dawn funny

  • http://www.facebook.com/fionn.downhill Fionn Downhill

    Yes it was but its much worse now with the original sites gone because they have links pointing to them.

  • http://najamstanova.com/ Najam Stanova

    crazy results are happening everywhere. on local google.hr, there are 6/10 to 8/10 crazy results for every query :O

  • http://twitter.com/DawnKYS Dawn

    Wikipedia links are nofollow, and I’d be very surprised if this update has hit any nofollow backlinks as they have no effect anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/DawnKYS Dawn

    It seems to me like directories are being hit as much as anything, and your site is in quite a few.

    If the penalty continues, then I’m hoping that the people who run the free directories may take them down since people are no longer going to want to use them and they shall no doubt be inundated with removal requests.

    The pay-for-link ones may be more of a problem since they have entered into a contract with people to host their links for a given time.

  • http://twitter.com/DawnKYS Dawn

    Well, you have clean backlinks – so no harm in you submitting your site to their error form. 

    It seems self defeating as they are Google ads, but I wonder if the amount of adwords on your site might be effecting it… often non-sites will be built simply to get click-through / views for the adverts on them.

    Too many adverts would certainly be a common feature of many such poor quality sites, and so it may have been triggered on that.

    And what Dan says. Make the content read clearly to a human – focus on accessibility rather than getting your keywords in.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    It’s a lot of changes in a short amount of time. I’d give it a few more days to let the dust settle before you start making dramatic changes to your website. If things haven’t calmed down, then start looking for the problem.

  • http://www.sabrinasabino.com/ Sabrina Sabino

    Very informative post, it answers a lot of my questions regarding the Penguin update.  Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/asadwahab Asad Wahab

    @twitter-17004344:disqus Being an internet user for more than a decade I dont think I ever felt a need to search for “Search Engine” in Google… if I am already in Google and I am searching for “Search engine”, the common sense says that I am looking for those, other than Google…

    Btw Very nice catch @dannysullivan:disqus ! ;)

  • http://twitter.com/DawnKYS Dawn

    It will probably only really have hit business sites which have had any off-site SEO done.

    3/4% of all searches is likely, but most of it will be in this concentrated area - ie where SEOs are working and so it is likely to seem bigger to them.

  • http://twitter.com/asadwahab Asad Wahab

    Would anyone mind searching for “SEO Individualism” in Google and check the first result from SEOchat which is a keyword stuffing test(launched after the 24th update), and then tell us what sort of Algorithmic change is this Penguin if it cannot catch a simple and open Keyword stuffed page? 

    Is this Penguin update, just like a panda refresh or is it a permanent change to the algorithm? 

    Its been few days, I ve been roaming around in SEO communities trying to find someone with  small scale website, who has actually benefited from this update… If there is anyone who benefited from this update, do let me know.(Please dont mention your site if you are a multi-million $ company :))

  • http://www.autopten.com/ John Mc

    What a good example that this Penguin update sucks. Google failed.

  • http://twitter.com/DawnKYS Dawn

    I’m pretty certain that they haven’t done much about things like keyword stuffing this update.  After all, keyword stuffing hasn’t worked for years (I imagine it will be working for that term because seochat.com is seen as a quality established site, so it is a balance between trusty site and untrusty content – trusty site wins).  Ultimately, keyword stuffing was what killed Altavista, so Google fixed that cheat a long time ago.

    To me, the update seems to have been almost entirely been about links.

    Google’s official announcement was about things like keyword stuffing as they don’t want to alarm people about how easy it has made negative SEO.  It’s good PR to say “we’ll be removing these sort of sites” and show some keyword stuffed ones, rather than to say “we’ll be removing the sites of anyone who has hired an SEO who has done any link building… ie any who charge a monthly fee, I’d imagine”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ruud.vanderveen Ruud van der Veen

    Danny, as you wrote “What If Google’s Wrong!” , for years they never admit such a possibility.
    Why should a webmaster always be the bad guy/girl, any respons from Google is “read the webmaster guidelines”, nothing more.
    As you wrote “correct anything that Google has flagged as spam with your site”, should a webmaster always know ??? If there is something ‘Google has flagged as spam’, why can’t they just tell.
    If both, the webmaster and Google, are good guys , not bad guys, the problem is solved within seconds. Without it can take very long, is that fair play? Google always stated not to be ‘evil’, just prove it imho.
    Or am I missing something?

  • ebooksulit

    How about forming a coalition to ban Google and start patronizing other search engines such as Yahoo and Bing? As far as I see it, Google has become so powerful because there is a HUGE difference between the use of Search Engines. Internet marketers should also need to educate people that there’s not just one credible search engine, but there are others too like Yahoo and Bing. The thing is, marketers have put too much weight on Google which in turn become unchallenged. I think in the name of competition, we also need to use Yahoo and Bing. 

  • ebooksulit

    Yup!!! That really sucks!!! Small businesses now are almost out of business… but these spammers are still there.