Google Penguin Update: 12 Tips Directly From Google

By: Chris Crum - April 30, 2012

In case you haven’t heard the news, the official name for the Webspam update Google launched this week, is reportedly the Penguin update. Google’s Matt Cutts even tweeted a picture of a stuffed Panda hanging out with a stuffed Penguin. How cute.

Now, we don’t know exactly what all Google takes into account with this Penguin update. But Google made it pretty clear that it’s about targeting those violating its quality guidelines. Here’s an exact quote from the announcement:

In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines.

There wasn’t this much apparent clarity with the Panda update. There was (and frankly, still is) a lot of speculation about how to survive Panda. Google did release a list of questions that webmasters should ask themselves related to how Google assesses quality, but it wasn’t completely black and white.

Luckily, Google lists exactly what the quality guidelines are. In other words, Google tells you exactly what not to do.

There are 8 “specific guidelines”. They are (verbatim):

1. Avoid hidden text or hidden links.

2. Don’t use cloaking or sneaky redirects.

3. Don’t send automated queries to Google.

4. Don’t load pages with irrelevant keywords.

5. Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.

6. Don’t create pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware.

7. Avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines, or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.

8. If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.

Some of them are more black and white than others. For example, avoiding hidden text or hidden links seems like a pretty obvious thing. Just don’t do it. The duplicate content one is a little different. What does Google consider “substantially duplicate content”? How much is too much?

Beyond the specific guidelines, Google also lists 4 “basic principles”. These are:

1. Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don’t deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as “cloaking.”

2. Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”

3. Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or “bad neighborhoods” on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.

4. Don’t use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. Such programs consume computing resources and violate our Terms of Service. Google does not recommend the use of products such as WebPosition Gold™ that send automatic or programmatic queries to Google.

Google provides plenty more guidelines and elaboration on the quality guidelines in its help center.

Of course, none of this is new. It’s just that now Google has a better way to enforce them (or at least, it hopes it does).

More on Penguin/Webspam Update:

Google Penguin Update: The New Name For The WebSpam Update
Webspam And Panda Updates: Does SEO Still Matter? 
Google Webspam Algorithm Update Draws Mixed Reviews From Users 
Google Webspam Update: Where’s The Viagra? [Updated] 
Google Webspam Update: “Make Money Online” Query Yields Less Than Quality Result 
Google Webspam Update: Losers & Winners, According To Searchmetrics [Updated] 
How Much Of Google’s Webspam Efforts Come From These Patents? 
Google Panda Update: Data Refresh Hit Last Week

Image: Batman Returns from Warner Bros.

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

View all posts by Chris Crum
  • Matthew Anderson

    I got stuffed by it. I have a 7 year old website with SEO work done on it several years ago. No real SEO done in the past 3 years. So I have been penalised for SEO work done 3 years ago is all I can think.

    My website “was” top of its niche, with several hundred multi million pound clients. In the past day we have had a 90% drop in traffic and all but a bare few keywords left with rankings. Over 250 rankings we did have that we monitor each day have gone. These were top 3 rankings, now not even in the top 200.

    We have never done any bad SEO, we need to compete, but we have never done black hat. Saying that, what we did do was borderline, but then so does everyone else so we were left with little choice.

    Overnight my business which supports my 5 children, 3 employees, pays for my mortgage and debts etc has been wiped out.

    Thanks Google. At a time where almost every country in the world is suffering, way to go with applying a little more hardship to people whom have just tried to play the game as does everyone.


    • Samba R

      Looks like google’s business model and ecosystem they created is collapsing.

    • Anders

      Same here Matthew.

      Our website followed the guidelines and met all the 12 tips mentioned above. We’ve not needed to do much SEO as we’re the niche leader.

      Problem is we got hit and vanished. Now instead of our site which had so much educational content (the type that actually teaches!), there is one site that is spammy and another site that has a picture of a guy’s house with his address.

      Talk about adding value google…

      Good to hear that the FTC are looking into Google… It’s getting to that time where someone needs to remind them to play fair (especially when they get it wrong and just sit by in some instances).

      And No Mr. Cutts, this hasnt encouraged our company to stick with Google. We’re planning on cancelling our Adwords campaign (we won’t be held by terrorists) and focusing on other platforms (which are still accepting real value!).

      • Bradley Collins

        Do we have alternatives??? Go by Google. World’s economy lives in Google eco system for better results and an extra amount of oil to be burnt by seo specialists.

      •!/q3technologies Q3 Technologies

        I don’t know Matthew. My site isn’t very old and has been implementing clean SEO for the past 3 years. I am happily in the top 5 for my top 3 keywords. Its was surprising to me that my site has performed even better after the update. Clearly Google is focusing on quality and not quantity.

    • ron

      may I suggest instead of griping that you get your site with” several hundred multi million pound clients” checked and updated by a seo expert with a proven track record on recommendation ( not somebody that advertises they are expert) from one of your multi million pound clients, preferably somebody that has worked for Google (knows people on the inside to guide him) to get things on track again.

    • srisaas web design

      Relying too much on Google’s whims and fancies and building a business based on making the grand G happy is seriously flawed business model.

    • James Nelson

      All I can say is, “Serves you right!”. I didn’t use scumbag SEO outfits to build up my page rank. I just add content and think of my users rather than Google. My traffic has gone up by around 30%. Woohoo!

  • Sean

    Excellent article Chris. It’s all pretty logical straightforward stuff really isn’t it. Basically they’re saying…cut out all the rubbish and you’ll be fine.

    • Mark

      That’s what they are saying but not how its working! They can’t see the forest from the trees and don’t listen to those who can.

  • mahipal singh

    ok so after Panda its a Penguin… ha ha Google is really caring for on the edge to extincts spices…
    well but it will gonna do heart beaks to many people

  • Matt

    The damage is done

    so better be leavin

  • gamal

    Thank you for this valuable information has Consult them as much as it is frequently useful Moukahy

  • Harsh Agrawal

    Another major update and another worse update….Whole webmaster forum is filled with shittiest result which could come up ….Google needs to fix the issues ASAP and give the quality result..Wondering why Bing or any other search engine company tries to make it big this time…

  • Pokemon

    Well definitely the latest algos are decreasing google SE quality. You know why ? Because google keep pushing authority sites crappy pages up instead of full focused on that topic sites.

    So an area experts blogs sites etc get penalized, while authority big sites crappy pages getting up. This will cause mass scrape sites rank a lot better.

    • Daniel

      I have a site that’s been hit. I have a Ph.D. in the field, and have been cited in an academic journal and have a link from the World Medical Association. Aside from 10 Ezine articles (now deleted) and 4 paid press releases from a reputable company, I haven’t backlinked the site. I’m now being ranked below social media (from other people) that have linked to my site.

      It’s time to move away from Google at all. I’ve been building up my Facebook page, and I’m starting to get lots of traffic from that in just the last few days. I’m going to take the advice of pretending the search engines don’t exist, because they don’t. They’re an unstable business model, and it’s time to start getting traffic from professional contacts, related sites and social media. Goodbye, Google.

  • Adrian

    “Google did release a list of questions that webmasters should ask themselves related to how Google assesses quality, but it wasn’t completely black and white.” Ha ha did you realize you threw a nice panda pun in there :)

    • Chris Crum

      Ha. No, I didn’t realize that.

      • Ed

        Does anyone see a pattern? panda, penguin… What’s next? Orca? Maybe a skunk?

        • Dan

          LoL! Yeah, and actually, this latest one should have been named “skunk” because it sure stinks!

  • Bill

    The new algorithm essentially punishes those who were overly aggressive in attempting to get noticed on Google. By whatever means necessary, including being listed in directories or creating link circles, aggressive minded individuals worked overtime to get noticed.

    Meanwhile, many entrenched sites who have held the top pages for many search terms for many years, have made little or no improvements. I’m sure you are all familiar with some of these sites. The owners of these sites have had to do little to nothing except reap the rewards of having entered the web world earlier than the rest. Now, as they make hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, they turn exactly none of their profits back into the development or enhancement of their websites.

    The latest algorithm, by rewarding older, natural links, has only further entrenched these larger, older sites. There will be even less room for the newer, aggressive people who believe they can do a better job then the older sites are doing. This is counter-productive to the capitalist mindset that drives innovation, creativity and competition.

    While I understand that deception is not in the best interests of anybody, and certainly no one wants deceitful sites in the top search results – there is a huge grey area where ambitious people who want a chance to get noticed are being punished when in reality they wouldn’t need to use these questionable techniques if the playing field were at all fair. We often only get the reply that if we build a good site that doesn’t attempt to optimize, then we will get ranked well. If this were true, then my site along with many others would considerably further ahead of some of the entrenched, established sites. I know that the product I’m delivering is superior to those that hold the top spots. Far superior. Unfortunately I have not been published for the past 15 years, which is my greatest downfall. I hope Google will consider this as they move forward with their algorithm changes.

    • Alex

      Well said.

      • Thomas Brewer

        I truly believe this comment to be spot on. Google looked at the overall link profile of websites and removed authority of those sites that were practicing more aggressive SEO white hat tactics. My site is in a real estate market that allowed older sites that never update and have no content to move up based on the age of the sites. I hope there is some tweaking to this as I am not aware of any black hat methods that I employ.

    • Steve G

      I don’t see how you can complain about your rankings if you go on to say you haven’t been published in 15 years.

      • Bill

        Published in the last 15 years and published for the last 15 years are two different things.

        The stagnant websites that continue to occupy the top rankings and have been around since 1996 haven’t changed since almost the same time. Fresh faces are nowhere to be seen. I unfortunately did not have a website in 1996, therefore I struggle mightily against those that have a stranglehold in Google’s Search Results.

    • Reg-NBS-SEO

      Of course it does. And it should.
      These same aggressive minded individuals are the ones placing non-relevant spam links.
      They are the ones trying to trick Google (and the public), into thinking their site is better than it really is.

      Because one has a large or aggressive marketing budget does not make it better than high relevance content.

      It does NOT punish those that use the new rules to get to the top.

      There is also some question about negative SEO.
      Theoretically, with the changes in anchor text factoring, that it should not be possible.

      • Anne

        What exactly are the “new rules” you talk about? I mean, no one really knows. How does a brand new site get noticed if it doesn’t promote itself a little bit? We get noticed by backlinks, period. Doesn’t matter how great our content is if significant search terms turn up crap sites ahead of us because no one but our spouses, friends and siblings “like” us.

        Not everyone who got swept away was an “aggressive minded individual” placing non-relevant spam links. My site was only 6 months old, but in the last 2 months it went from ranking in the 90’s to the 40’s, and then to the 20’s for a competitive search term. I went from getting trickles of traffic to actually making a little bit of money ($50 – $75 per month to start recouping all the costs & countless hours developing content and blogging). Now I am no where to be found, except for a few less relevant keywords, where I am still in the top spots. My traffic has trickled down to nothing.

        Clearly I am still ranking for long tail and less relevant search terms, but not for search terms that matter to keep me afloat.

        I did get punished by playing the rules. I did not purchase any links. I did not spam directories, blogs, or anyone else. I don’t have a marketing budget! I am literally working for pennies an hour right now. But I focused mainly on my content, blogged twice a day (good, meaty articles) added a few static pages a week, and did a little bit of blog commenting and guest posting. So . . . my content is over-optimized because it’s a new site with few relevant backlinks, but people were visiting it, and I was converting the last 2 months.

        Interestingly, return visitors are trying to find me now by searching for what they guess is part of my URL. So I added value to someone if they are frantically trying to get back to me because they didn’t bookmark the site.

      • Bill

        Trying to trick what public? Hard to trick any public when you get virtually 0 traffic. There is a huge difference between trying to “trick” the public and trying to get noticed because the entrenched sites won’t budge. They simply sit and do nothing, enjoying thousands upon thousands of dollars, while the innovators and people who want to improve the web cannot make headway.

    • Robert

      Exactly. I’ve been rebuilding my computer and having compatibility issues. Most searches return results from 2009 and 2010????

  • Kim Tyrone Agapito

    Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?

    – Did just told us to ignore SEARCH ENGINES in Search Engine Optimization? :))

  • Pieter

    I have noticed, that a lot of insurance sites had a shake-up.
    Some times i not am sure if all the Google up-dates, are hitting and infecting the right sites.

    I think Google is launching too many algo updates, and is not taking care of the “good ones”.
    I still see a lot of spammers ranking after these updates ranking number one…

    • Dan

      I concur. Seeing low quality, 1-3 page sites (with little more on their home pages than their PPC links) now dominating page 1 for major insurance terms. Most of them are obviously cookie cutter “sister sites” – in fact, 2 of the sites are *exact* duplicates except for the domain! So whichever webmaster out there took an hour one day to throw these sites up is making a killing now, virtually owning G’s page 1 results for such little effort and no added value while the rest of us are now off the radar completely.

  • Rajesh

    Google Penguin update 2012 is not come with quality search results. It down graded quality websites.

  • Bollym

    i don’t know mucha bout seo and other stuffs,,,
    i just submitted my site in google and started posting.. written by myself.. frm 2-3 days my site goes more than 200-300% hits by google
    thnks to google for this stuffs… even i was wondering how i am getting hits but now all thing clear… thnks google team :)

  • Jay Baratilla

    After the cute “Bouncing” Panda, there’s the “Cold-Blooded” Penguin coming to every webmaster’s horror story. The names make them “look” harmless actually.

  • Türk

    Merhaba, sitenizi bir webmaster forum sayesinde ziyaret ettim. türkiye de google ile ilgili bir çok yazı ve haber ver gerek google adsense gerekse bir çok politikası hakkında oldukça sıkıntılıyız. google site sahiplerine gereken ilgi ve alakayı göstermiyor diye düşünüyorum. biz site sahipleri her geçen gün google arama motoruna ayak uydurmakta zorluk çekiyoruz. site sahipleri içerik çalarak, spam kullanarak siteleri PR değerini yükseltiyor. Özgün olan sitelerimiz sıralamalarda çok geride çıkıyor. Umarım google bu sistemle tüm dünya üzerinde ki site sahiplerini mutlu ve memnun etmeye yeter. teşekkür ederim kendinize iyi bakın. iyi günler.

  • John Dorpish

    Calling all Webmasters!!!

    A petition to Google has begun on 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:

  • Makale Yazari

    Benim anlamadığım şey bu ne böyle panda, penguen, ayı… nereye gidiyor bu Google kardeşim. Adsense ne kadar etkilendi bu algoritmadan?

  • John

    anti se0 is soooooooo easy right now. goog messed up BIGTIME

    • Steve G

      I agree John, not only did Google give the spammers a way to hit good sites and drop their rankings, but Google failed to see how they could exploit the algorithm to negatively impact sites so that their sites wouldn’t climb on it’s own merits, but that their sites would climb simply because other sites were falling in rankings.

  • Derek Blandford

    What bugs me is when I search for something like “heartburn remedies” and see a site like sitting at the #8 position.

    This is EXACTLY the type of site Matt Cutts gave as one of his examples when the update was announced that penguin was supposed to target and take out…sites that throw random keywords/links into totally unrelated articles.

    And, yet, there it sits on the first page while so many great sites have been knocked to never never land…

  • mbwani

    i can’t understand what’s going on. is google going to punish for those who have massive backlinks or is not prefer backlinks at all for ranking . and why from past month i.e by panda 3.4 traffic gets decreased by some percent. is their any chances for traffic going to recover again.

    i have a movie website can anybody give me some suggestion regarding some changes which i have to make(if any) for my website as from past 3-4 weeks my website has lost much traffic.

    • Robbie

      Get rid of the big flashing penis add for one, and all of the other crap adds that eat up bandwidth and take up 50% of your screenspace, post something that shows you have the appropriate licenses to show those movies (i am sure you don’t have a legit license) or just quit complaining and accept the fact that others have made better more legitimate sites. Or how about come up with a decent idea for a site that hasn’t been done a thousand times over. Your site is exactly what google is trying to save its users from.

  • Mohsin Ali

    My blog is badly hit by Pengiun update and the keywords against which my blog was ranked first now showing one page blogspot blog with full of copyright material.

  • Tania Shipman

    My website got blasted. I don’t do any of the things that they say shouldn’t be done.

    I think I was penalised because my website is called countertopconvectionovensonline because my site is all about my countertop convection oven.

    I provide original content and original photos of recipes and good advice about using a convection oven. I went from top 10 to not even in the top 100 rankings after the penguin update.

    Yes there are google adsense ads and a link to amazon on it, but frankly I’ve made little money from it because I write about this site because it’s my passion and I was telling everyone I knew in real life how great it was, so decided to start blogging about it.

    I submit the site to Facebook, Twitter and Google + when I post, and that’s about it for my Seo techniques.

  • Mike

    I am thinking it is time to jump into the writing/content creation business. Leave all this SEO stuff with people who a bit less risk averse.

    • Graeme

      Yes! I’m a freelance writer and I love it every time one of these updates comes along. More work for me doing high-quality well-paid articles, and less for the keyword stuffing, article spinning, spamming SEO blackhat scumbags.

  • Charles

    Thanks for the info… never heard of the google penguin before.

  • Abhishek

    this update sucks ! I have lost my organic traffic by 50 % and so my advertisement revenue.
    I have quality content on my website optimized with minor seo strategies.

    highly disappointed with Google !

  • Gouri

    Panda, Penguin… When will we see the Facebook update?

  • Dylan McKay

    The crazy thing is that right now the top listings in google are full of spam sites… Everything they said they are going after is now at the top of the rankings LOL!!!

    All kinds of redirects, doorway pages, thin affiliate sites, .info sites, all that garbage…

    What google didn’t realize in that the sites that build backlinks, and the sites that are trying to “game google” are the same sites that are trying to be awesome, help people and make a lot of money. People who care about their sites build links, duh!

    I can’t see how they coulod leave the serps like this, they are too messed up right now!

  • Fredrik

    Same old advice, but this is what we have to “work with”. It’s a strange update in many ways nonetheless.

    Regards Fredrik from Sweden

    • LiberV

      Yea. Good thing am 100% white hat. Same old advice for nearly a decade now. I am all for a safer and cleaner web. Heck, my own profit is on the rise with this new update. Lost a few positions here but gained many there.

      But, all in all, I can’t believe what a bunch of Hypocrites Google are. I never liked bullies, and Google is a typical example of one. They just weeded out a huge chunk of relevant and irrelevant websites using overly drastic measures with a poor and broken algorithm update. My websites have actually gained a position or two but sitting below and above are extremely poor quality websites with 1 blogspot with only 1 post in 2008?! Really Google!? You removed a 30+ pages competitor and you replace it with your own 1 page property that has the most erroneous/outdated information on my niche? Am getting a sore eye with the crap results after this update.

      I just can’t believe the SEO world lack so much gut and true JOURNALISM to actually expose this silly little game Google has been playing as of late.

      • Russell Baer

        Good observation LiberV – Google’s own Blogspot blogs are getting PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT in the Penguin webspam update that’s for sure. In fact, that’s one of the few confident assessment I can make about ‘What Changed’ in this update as I assess the damage.

        The other thing I notice is an EVER INCREASING lean towards high-aged domains. Google used to leave a coupla ‘slots open for young’uns to get sampled in, but now there only seems to be 1 or 2 where a site can (usually temporarily) rank while it’s site metrics are tested.

        I don’t know that everyone scrambling to set up a NEW Blogspot blog on your area of expertise is going to ‘save’ you from this update. Everything’s under such scrutiny these days.

  • Battery Center

    It killed so many related sites. damn it!

  • Small business owner

    My website is actually to push my own family owned business. I have no advertisements on my site, no amazon links, no adwords and it’s a 140 page website full of amazing information. I got screwed… There’s absolutely no reason why my site got nuked, but it did – way to go Google so now I have to rely on the yellow pages for my phone to ring – there goes 50% of my business. I’ll make sure to say a special prayer for Google while we sit down to dinner tonight…

    • Russell Baer

      That’s probably the saddest thing about this Penguin webspam update: The ECONOMIC consequences to so many small businesses and boot-strapping entrepreneurs who succeeded at making money online. Decimating the traffic and earnings of Affiliate Marketers is going to have a multi-BILLION dollar impact on the bottom-lines of many businesses – all the way to the top of the Fortune 500!

      • Bill

        Losing your business to a poorly managed change and having to explain it to your wife and kids is tough…the icing on the cake is when the individual cheerleading the effort posts a slap in the face photo of a couple of stuffed animals in their nice, cushy office where they get a healthy salary.

  • personal protection

    Looks to me Google is loosing it. The only way to get on the first page is by paying for it.
    More and more people turning away from Google. I have deleted my sites from adsence, web masters and analytics.
    No need to give them more information than they have already.
    I was ranking no 6 for a keyword that only had about 60 searches/month.
    An e-commerce site with 85 pages, all filled with products an information about the product.
    Went to page 6 overnight. Bing and yahoo are still on page 1.
    I understand that Google try to clean house once in a while, but now they start to look like the internet police.
    We just have to wait and see what happens.
    I do not rely anymore on Google and try to find different ways of getting traffic to my site.
    Great article.

  • Bing Now

    Our small business dissapeared from Google overnight. We sell dog products specially dog waste bags and only had 2 returns in 2011. We were in good standing with Paypal because of the good sales we had. Now all we see is Amazon double listing products with less quality. I think we should all use our networks, blogs, websites to inform people that small business were hit hard and that big corporations were moved up. There is no way we can compete with companies like ULINw or Ebay or Amazon who have the money to put adwords all day long and bid not 1 or 2 dollars but 5 dollars per keyword. Together we can achieve something big like that video for Kony that went viral we can all think of something to make our voices heard. Bing and Yahoo have our business and they dont charge too much for ads but the traffic is not there we need to make that happen.

  • GoGi Rana

    The Penguin Update seems to be working but Google, it seems, is not reading the data in the right way!

  • Umar

    It is a very informative article. Thank You for informing us. Looking forward of your new articles.



  • tom g

    I am thinking of blocking g form crawling my site altogether. If everyone hit by update did this then half the searches wpuld turn up blank results pages. We create the content that they make money from.
    I hate that people with$ can pay to figure out new ways to truick their way back to #1 so G will NEVER acomplish what these so called updates are supposed to do. They just get free R&D from us trying to scramble to fix our rank. Try to find a customer support # to call, …good luck!

  • ketan raval

    industry is now changing and it is now content based seo.. and it was always content based seo but there were many manipulative ways of building links.. slowly but progressively spamming is going out of the business.

  • Annoyed

    The Penguin update has clearly gone wrong. Garbage .info sites and blogger blogs consisting of copied content have creamed to the top and are ranking high whilst useful sites with original content have been punished.

    It’s absurd that we spend good money on high quality articles, the sort of thing which Google wants, yet those that just copy and paste from elsewhere get high rankings.

    I haven’t got a clue what Google deem as “over optimization”. None of my sites use hidden text, keyword stuffing, etc.. and I haven’t bought any backlinks, but about 90% of my sites have been badly effected.

    A few of my sites haven’t been effected though, but i’ve got no idea why because i’ve used the same on-page SEO, etc.. on those site as I did the other sites.

    I just hope that either this update is still being rolled out or Google release a new Penguin update to sort out this mess.

  • Johar

    Thank that good news, but maybe next google will need participation human for audit some site 😀

  • MikeB

    Matt Cutts should get sacked for this. The results are hopeless for users, push low grade pages of big sites ahead of useful pages on niche sites, and in some of my niches is pushing blank domain holding pages ahead of quality portals. Out of many sites nuked, one of mine still ranks for a minor term – yet it is a login page that ranks! – a blank page. You sure hit a blinder there matt, you sure.cant accuse a blank page of being over SEOd…

    He has a whole new word for “tightly focussed” – it is “over optimized”

    Before he collects his pay cheque this month, I hope he thinks of the million people he put out of business this week, just trying to earn an honest crust.

    In the time of every company , when they are still on the ascendant you see the complacency that leads to the ultimate decline. With microsoft it was the failure to tackle the internet soon enough, with google it is killing a million small businesses.

    Nobody will ever trust them again.
    The 12 points matt makes are cloud cuckoo land, idealistic BS he cannot measure. He has deluded himself he can measure site quality, link quality and so on, and he has trashed the world of small business on his ego writing a cheque his intellect cant cash.

  • MikeB

    Regardless of anything else, he must go back to the fundamental principle of “if google do not like links, they simply disregard them” “if google sees similar pages, it reduces the value of them NOT penalises”. One of my sites main oages disappeared at the same time as a competitor posted some of my content on their sites …. I do not think that is a coincidence. They still have no way to determine orginator of content, yet they delude themselevs they can.

  • immobilier marrakech

    I don’t understand google philosophy about ranking website, is all about backlinks no content evaluation as they say, most of website that rank up of our website are poor in content and not well optimized. where is the google panda and now pinguin who should know what???????

  • Foxcrawl

    it looks like Google’s algorithm for ranking websites become more and more drastic

    • Robert

      “..more and more drastic..” how about more and more Helter Skelter !

  • Roger Poultney

    Unfortunately it seems that many site owners have “all their eggs in one basket” – and are effectively forced to rely on Google organic listings for traffic. If other search engines were more widely used this would be much less of a problem..

  • Robert

    ?!?!? So after being told affiliate links are considered “Paid” links and a nofollow should be applied to those links …NOW “8. If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.”….it’s ok !

    So all that stress and redoing pages and links was for naught, really?

  • Vikram

    So, this is the reason for the drop in my website traffic!

  • michael

    Google sucks

  • Steve

    I’m going to wait for a few days and let things settle down Maybe we’ll know more facts and figure out how to proceed.

  • Richard

    So far everything Google’s Penguin update has proved farcical. I am frequently finding blank apache screens ranking No1 for high volume search terms and all they have is an Exact Match Domain and a few backlinks and they are outranking sites with useful information for the users. I own a bed and breakfast in England and I constantly update my blog with information about what is happening in my local area. I was ranking No1 for “area + bed and breakfast”, I have NEVER done any forced backlinking to my site, I have stacks of quality unique content getting updated every couple of days. I write articles about my local area and things to do and put links to my site in the resource box of my article and that is it.
    I have been dropped to page 4 for my main search term (which is not actually hat competitive) and the sites ranking No1, 3 and 5 and blank apache screens or empty blogspot blogs.
    This update is absolutely farcical. Google has ruined peoples livelihoods in one foul swoop. What is even more of a Joke is that those who have followed Google to the letter have been punished just because they decided they want things done differently now.
    The sooner Bing takes over as the predominant power the better. Sadly I don’t think that day will ever come!

  • Property in Delhi

    The next update name is slithering Cobra!

  • Suzanne

    For anyone who is finding blogspots on page one of Google with ripped off content from your site, you can fill in a DMCA request that gets sent to Google here:

    I’ve used this a few times and they are pretty good about taking the sites down.

    If it’s a site you can use:

    and for any other hosted sites you can generate a DMCA with this form and submit it to the web host:

    Spent a little time doing this after all these ripoff sites appeared after the Penguin update and most of the DMCA requests have been successful so far.

  • Adam

    Interesting reading………. very interesting.

  • SEO Expert India

    Okay, it’s about white hat techniques, where are anything new updated name Penguin :) ??

  • paul

    Hate spammers. The amount of repeditive blog spam I need to deleat daily drives me insane!! So thank you for creating an update that will have a negative effect on sites that function on those irritating principles. Its finally feels like the flies can now get swatted.

  • Sabina

    I’ve been doing SEO for some time now and I’ve been dissapointed in Google so many times I can not even explain. Not because Google didn’t put my site on No. 1 position. Because they were “preaching” that the formula (if you wish that word) is unique, relavent, useful content. That’s so far from truth like East from the West. I’ve seen my “competition” sites being with so pure content, stuffed with keywords, no usefull stuff but still ranked high. I personaly think Google is a Global Police which scares me to death by owning so much information. Hey, that’s just me…

  • Barry Scott

    I followed google’s advice from the last update concerning keywords,
    backlinks and other seo’s, began to gain traffic and am now gone. No pagerank at all now. Looks like it’s time to forget about google, let them dry up and wither, see how they like it.

  • Colin Crawford

    With the update as of yesterday I gained a spot on page one (for three keywords) and moved to position 2, but today I have been moved back down to position 4. Although a website called Freeindex took my 2nd spot with my advert so really I have gained with being mentioned twice so near the top of page one.

    And to be honest some of this SEO stuff gets me confused in what you are supposed to do. I have used these software programs and they say my web pages need to be improved and need at least 95% to get to position 1 on Google. The person at No. 1 only had 65% when I checked their website, mine was just below that on 64% and what gets me is the third spot had 79%. Sometimes I just think it is all just a con.

    I stick with the basics and try to refine it so to make sure I stay where I am at. It would be nice though to be found with 2 or maybe 1 keyword but at the moment that is beyond me.

    Maybe I’m confused with what you are supposed to do and what other people advise you to do.

  • mukesh

    i had seen many results after google update now Wikipedia results are on the top. Google is very selfish, always thinking for google adword , he want to shut down seo and link building business. there is a fear of unemployment all over the globe might be economy goes down again after this update…. i am very afraid.

  • Azanshah

    Damage is done and i don’t think google is ready to recover the individuals, as the given the penguin feedback doc. Now the question is how to recover from this sh*t? And even I made changes to my blog as per google guidelines, when will next Peng.. come up to take my traffic back to normal?

    Also what if next update gonna love my previous SEO stuff i changed from? So better way would be to keep different blogs with different approaches.

  • Charlie M

    It seems to me that google is working so much to show relevant sites, that those results are becoming less useful. Yahoo and Bing gives more relevant results then google lately (after “Penguin” and “Panda” release).

  • PC Enthusiast

    Oh no, another update. Last year was Panda, now Penguin, what next? Panther?
    I hope my site will not get hit by Penguin. Last year my blog was hit by Panda. Visitors significantly went down in just less than a day.
    I hope penguin will have a good effect on my site since I have made major changes to my blog.

  • SEO Marketing Sempris

    Matt Cutt’s team likes to tweek and twist at the algorithm to use their valuable time wisely. That’s why SEO will never be boring.

  • Koundeenya

    Google Penguin is also wild. It punishes nice blogs and encourages poor ones. We all know about the recent update. But anyways, we must keep it at a distance. Agree with your tips

  • Vrdnik apartmani

    Anyone knows what new Google penguin algorithm respects in SEO? Does links have value as it once had? What should be done to restore the position of sites on the results?

  • Jenni Ray

    I released a free WordPress theme that everyone need to linkback to me when they use it, and will it hurt my website too? Something like “unnatural link scheme”?

  • Brian

    I have a links page on my website (French Holidays Aude) where I have quite a number of links to other sites. The page itself is actually PR2 and holds the afore mentioned links plus a few articles that will be of use to visitors.
    But it is clearly a resource page. I don’t really do reciprocal links on the page as such, although there may be some, but I do try and make most if not all the links relevant to travel. Today I received a request from one of the sites I was linked to asking me to remove the link to his site, which I did. He was concerned that as the link was on a links page that he would be being penalised due to Penguin.
    Surely though if the page is carrying PR2, and it has been higher, that shouldn’t really be a concern should it, or have I got it wrong?

  • Pete

    Has anyone tried starting from scratch with a brand new site, after the hit?
    Should I use redirect 301 from the old website to new one or not?

  • UnPoo

    penguins, pandas, cats, unpoo ): , pigeons and I wonder what will happen the end of this business?

    • Webmaster

      lol :)) very good

  • All Hotels in Thailand

    It amazing for search engine. Thanks you for good stuff.

  • Ellys Directory

    aw…meybe with this website directory is no more have value..T.T

  • Keroro

    can i have a full copy or list of google’s panda and penguin on email ? id like to read more about these guidelines.

  • Baloon

    Matt Cutt’s team likes to tweek and twist at the algorithm to use their valuable time wisely. That’s why SEO will never be boring.

  • Michael Ehline

    It seems to be a page only phenom. It also looks like Panda can really drag you down if you simply overuse just one KW. Anyone agree?

  • Jeshal

    cool tips, very useful article to novice like me.
    thanks to you and to Matt Cutt’s team also.

  • joss

    yeah i just recently read article from google official blog that next upcoming update will be BIGGGGGGG so consider this as a warning and only follow guidelines of google itself :( but lets hope ALL LZZ WELL 😀

  • sujeet

    according to me penguin update is good for those who are not spammers like me i really appreciate this work of google. It will drive more clearity in search result.

  • Jim

    I will try to recover from Google Penguin update soon this year. It was very hard update by Google search engine.

  • Neha

    Thanks for the new update for SEO..its really informative…Wonderfull…great..Thanx

  • Angelina

    Really great guidelines for us..thanks for awesum guideline and tips for seo job…wonderfull ..Informative..!!!!

  • Neha

    awesum article…cut all the useless thing and you will be done .it will surely help many… thanks for the article…!!

  • Angelina

    really informative article..great …!!keep rocking with good work…!!

  • sharma

    Thanks for the new update for SEO..its really informative…Wonderfull…great..Thanks…!!!

  • sharma

    If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.”….it’s ok !

  • sharma

    I don’t really do reciprocal links on the page as such, although there may be some, but I do try and make most if not all the links relevant to travel. Today I received a request from one of the sites I was linked to asking me to remove the link to his site, which I did. He was concerned that as the link was on a links page that he would be being penalised due to Penguin.

  • rupesh oyasis

    Thanks for sharing this information, really it is very useful to my SEO business.