Google Penguin Update: Don’t Forget About Duplicate Content

By: Chris Crum - May 26, 2012

There has been a ton of speculation regarding Google’s Penguin update. Few know exactly what the update specifically does, and how it works with Google’s other signals exactly. Google always plays its hand close to its chest.

“While we can’t divulge specific signals because we don’t want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users, our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics,” Google’s Matt Cutts said in the announcement of the update.

He also said, “The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines.”

“We see all sorts of webspam techniques every day, from keyword stuffing to link schemes that attempt to propel sites higher in rankings,” he said. To me, that indicates that this is about all webspam techniques – not just keyword stuffing and link schemes, but also everything in between.

So it’s about quality guidelines. Cutts was pretty clear about that, and that’s why we’ve been discussing some of the various things Google mentions specifically in those guidelines. So far, we’ve talked about:

Cloaking
Links
Hidden text and links
Keyword stuffing

Another thing on the quality guidelines list is: “Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.”

Of course, like the rest of the guidelines, this is nothing new, but in light of the Penguin update, it seems worth examining the guidelines again, if for no other reason than to provide reminders or educate those who are unfamiliar. Duplicate content seems like one of those that could get sites into trouble, even when they aren’t intentionally trying to spam Google. Even Google says in its help center article on the topic, “Mostly, this is not deceptive in origin.”

“However, in some cases, content is deliberately duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic,” Google says. “Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience, when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results.”

Google lists the following as steps you can take to address any duplicate content issues you may have:

  • Use 301s: If you’ve restructured your site, use 301 redirects (“RedirectPermanent”) in your .htaccess file to smartly redirect users, Googlebot, and other spiders. (In Apache, you can do this with an .htaccess file; in IIS, you can do this through the administrative console.)
  • Be consistent: Try to keep your internal linking consistent. For example, don’t link to http://www.example.com/page/ and http://www.example.com/page and http://www.example.com/page/index.htm.
  • Use top-level domains: To help us serve the most appropriate version of a document, use top-level domains whenever possible to handle country-specific content. We’re more likely to know that http://www.example.de contains Germany-focused content, for instance, than http://www.example.com/de or http://de.example.com.
  • Syndicate carefully: If you syndicate your content on other sites, Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer. However, it is helpful to ensure that each site on which your content is syndicated includes a link back to your original article. You can also ask those who use your syndicated material to use the noindex meta tag to prevent search engines from indexing their version of the content.
  • Use Webmaster Tools to tell us how you prefer your site to be indexed: You can tell Google your preferred domain (for example, http://www.example.com or http://example.com).
  • Minimize boilerplate repetition: For instance, instead of including lengthy copyright text on the bottom of every page, include a very brief summary and then link to a page with more details. In addition, you can use the Parameter Handling tool to specify how you would like Google to treat URL parameters.
  • Avoid publishing stubs: Users don’t like seeing “empty” pages, so avoid placeholders where possible. For example, don’t publish pages for which you don’t yet have real content. If you do create placeholder pages, use the noindex meta tag to block these pages from being indexed.
  • Understand your content management system: Make sure you’re familiar with how content is displayed on your web site. Blogs, forums, and related systems often show the same content in multiple formats. For example, a blog entry may appear on the home page of a blog, in an archive page, and in a page of other entries with the same label.
  • Minimize similar content: If you have many pages that are similar, consider expanding each page or consolidating the pages into one. For instance, if you have a travel site with separate pages for two cities, but the same information on both pages, you could either merge the pages into one page about both cities or you could expand each page to contain unique content about each city.

Don’t block Google from duplicate content. Google advises against this, because it won’t be able to detect when URLs point to the same content, and will have to treat them as separate pages. Use the canonical link element (rel=”canonical”).

Note: there are reasons why Google might skip your Canonical link elements.

It’s important to note that Google doesn’t consider duplicate content to be grounds for penalty, unless it appears that it was used in a deceptive way or to manipulate search results. However, that seems like one of those areas, where an algorithm might leave room for error.

Here are some videos with Matt Cutts (including a couple of WebProNews interviews) talking about duplicate content. You should watch them, if you are concerned that this might be affecting you:

This one comes from Google’s Greg Grothaus rather than Cutts. Also worth watching:

If you think you’ve been wrongfully hit by the Penguin update, Google has a form you can fill out to let them know.

More Penguin update coverage here.

Tell us about duplicate content issues you’ve run into in the comments.

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
  • don

    what about service oriented business that serve multiple cities, they lack consistency on enforcing this if this is really a “Penguin” update

  • http://blogsnewsreviews.com/2011/the-great-swiss-army-knife-debate-best-swiss-army-knife-tinker-swiss-army-knife-which-swiss-army-knife-is-best-biggest-swiss-army-knife Astro Gremlin

    Nice penguin photo. I think I know the one in the 14th row, 45th from the left. Seriously, can a search engine jump the shark? Going from panda to penguin . . . . Epic content, Chris, you worked hard to put this together.

  • http://www.vertexplus.com/ Custom Software Development India

    It is definite good update of Google. I really appreciate from penguin updates and I think keywords stuffing, duplicate content, Hidden text and links, Cloaking will be closed quickly and It was necessity for natural linking and quality linking…. Please keep it up excellent updates.

  • Batman OfGotham

    This update is bull_sh*t. I look upon the data closely as well as the site. Yet I cannot find any issues those mentioned above. The site gets a 45% traffic loss because of this stupid update. Time to get armed vs. Google!

    Much worse I could a lot of error pages ranking above truthful ones. This is how Google execute their idiotic work.

    • http://www.iquantum.com.au/search-seo/pay-per-click.php Adwords Management

      First i would like say thanks for this great explanation regarding google pangui update.But google had done approxmatly same updates in google panada.One thing is keywords stuffing.
      In your detail one thing is mentioned that about canonical url.Can u please magnify this stuff?

      Thanks

  • http://www.noelcunningham.net Noel Cunningham

    I think this latest update has given us all some serious “food for thought”…. I dunno about anybody else but I think the days of solely relying on SEO for all your traffic needs are over. Multiple streams are needed if you are to really protect your online business..

    Just my 2.0 cents

    Later,
    Noel.

  • http://www.lovepromos.com Jason

    Seem to be several components of Penguin. If you’ve been penalized, take a look at your anchor text. Avoid high % of anchor text = your keywords. Make sure LOTS of your links are things like “click here” and your URL.

  • http://www.ilianalola.com Iliana Lola

    I think penguin update will prove very helpful to sites with great and unique content. Duplicated content was always bad, but I hope now more webmasters will understand this.

    • henkl

      JC, 2 popups on your homepage Illiana!

  • http://www.theclixgroup.com/ James McMinn

    My question is how do you explain two sites that are similar, covering different topics and with unique content. Both used similar SEO tactics, however one is flourishing after the Penguin update and the other one has fallen off the map. I wrote about the Penguin Update as well. If you want to take a look and comment, please do. I would love to start some conversation about what I wrote.

  • Steve Westing

    Before I could search Google for a local business using the name Tottenham and the service description and it would show local businesses in Tottenham, Ontario. Now when I search the same I get listings for Tottenham, England. What ever Google changed today is absolutlely stupid and they are really going to the dogs. Time to start trying good ol’ Yahoo.

    • http://www.itrustgodonly.com John P

      I stopped using Google search a long time ago. Could not stand fishing through all the garbage sites. Bing is much better. I get a lot better results.

    • http://www.dovertocalais.org.uk/ Brian

      I’ve found the same, Steve, but from UK. Recently Google results seem to be including plenty of Australian and US sites, even though I’m using Google UK etc.

  • http://makemoneyonlinegetstarted.blogspot.in Javed Shaikh (make money online)

    I think there is not much to fear about penguin peoples are afraid because they don’t know much about it, as the time goes and a more clearer picture arrives people will find the way and everything will be back to normal.

  • http://www.inboundmarketingexpert.org Ganesh Behera

    Exactly, i came across the many post saying this, that my site got affected because of penguin update, but they are not actually considering what the black activities they have formed on their.

    Now some people use to say make practice of Black hat techniques after penguin update, today i read a news from search engine round table.

  • http://www.konstantinfo.com konstantinfo

    Here is a reason that why i believe on this update, i regular watching a site ranked #1st in google search results with a high competitive keyword from last 4-5 months, but after this update this site is not in search results now.

  • http://www.konstantinfo.com konstantinfo

    that site placed their invisible links on irrelevant sites.

  • http://www.windows7port.com/ Ranganath Basha

    Google Penguin Update is for sites which are into too much “spamming methods” like keyword stuffing. I really love the videos of Matt Cutts and you’ve wonderfully presented in an order.

    Now there’s confusion whether one has been hit by Google Panda or Google Penguin update. Several SEMs have proposed various views and tips to encounter these updates. Read these recovery tips for Google Penguin update.

  • Jeno

    You write: Don’t block Google from duplicate content.

    Any reference for this? Why would it be bad?

    • http://www.webpronews.com/author/chris-crum Chris Crum

      From Google’s help center:

      Google does not recommend blocking crawler access to duplicate content on your website, whether with a robots.txt file or other methods. If search engines can’t crawl pages with duplicate content, they can’t automatically detect that these URLs point to the same content and will therefore effectively have to treat them as separate, unique pages. A better solution is to allow search engines to crawl these URLs, but mark them as duplicates by using the rel=”canonical” link element, the URL parameter handling tool, or 301 redirects. In cases where duplicate content leads to us crawling too much of your website, you can also adjust the crawl rate setting in Webmaster Tools.

      • Jeno

        Thanks for the link Chris! Still I am having a hard time understanding this. So even if I block Google bot from accessing some pages that are low quality, it may still be bad for me? Even though the bot has no idea what is on that page because I have blocked it?

      • BatmanofGotham

        Funny how you recommend onsite SEO technicals when in fact this penguin update punishes site that implements SEO. This non-sense is getting confusing.

        I do have sites that implement as you have stated, yet slapped mercilessly by penguin and there are no-black hat in the site while links are natural.

        Why? Simply because I implement SEO on the site and this update doesn’t like it.

        This update should be reverted!

  • http://sanjeevseoservices.blog.com Sanjeev Rana

    Thanks so much for this post. You’ve shared so much insight and information that is greatly appreciated.

  • http://thebrickblogger.com Thita

    Google is one of the most arrogant companies I have ever seen in my life! Quote from Matt Cutts from above: “The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines.”

    Violation is an extremely strong word! It means that there is some rule or law that somebody breaks. Does Google own the Internet? Do they own every single website? Or are they the Internet police? By who’s appointment?

    They may say something like a website is not in line with their quality guidelines, but to say that a website VIOLATE their guidelines means that somebody did something illegal. Google comes up with a bunch of random guidelines (which they constantly change) in their plush headquaters then force those guidelines down the throats of millions of webmasters and web-users as they were law.

    What the saddest part is that people tolerate this BS and continue bowing to this out of control company. :(

    • http://goodcontentwebsites.com Paul

      Thita…Excellent observation. I too have those same thoughts. Webpronews gives me some great insight as to the latest google updates, and algorithm changes. My head spins trying to implement those changes on our site.

      For the most part these changes work, but I often wonder why? Why are we under constant pressure from the google police.

      Most of us are trying to provide great content and at the same time keeping up with these changes is a BIG chore.

      The “Panda, Penguin Update”? What will the next update be called? Maybe the…”Skunk Update”?
      Paul

    • http://guzmansgreenhouse.com Paul

      Wow…your thoughts are almost identical to mine. As it stands now there is no alternative! Or is there? Google does not own my website and should not “Violate” my rights as to how I conduct my online business.

      I commend webpronews.com for sending me the latest google updates. Even tho it means another round of editing, researching and finding SEO experts who might agree or disagree.

      First there was panda, then penguin…what’s next – Skunk!

      I would like to know what enforcement agency they belong to?

      • Denise

        Skunk should have been the 1st update name not Panda. Funny how they use cute innocent animals to name their updates. They pretend their updates are to combat spam techniques. I’ve heard that story before. I have some other names they should call their updates like Snake, Satan, Black Widow Spider, Lucifer, and so forth.

  • http://google-guide.blogspot.co.uk/ Jonathan

    I’ve found one major issue with a site that it hosted on Adobe’s Business Catalyst system.

    It’s for a site at http://www.globalaircharter.co.uk. Google seems to have decided to index the default ‘test’ url, treating the real domain as a duplicate, except for (oddly) the home page.

    This has caused the site to lose a lot of places in Google over the last 4 days – from second page to out of top 10 pages. It’s a major issue for a commercial site.

    • Richard

      100% agree,
      Mr Cutts has a very arrogant attitude in one of those videos basically he says like it or lump it.

      Don’t like how google is forcing their products on people in the last couple of months! is it related to recent updates??

      1. Google+
      2. Crappy Youtube videos on page 1.
      3. Ad words also picked up business recently.

      Previously I was page 1 for a key word search on google.co.uk
      for rentals in Thailand but now 2 UK based pages sites displaying my OWN LINK TEXT are above me!! Must admit that’s funny but also a bit stupid.

      • Richard

        Oops this should be answer to Thita above

  • http://www.organikseo.com DJ

    Chris, thank you for the info. I get nervous every time I hear a new update is out but after studying what the updates are focused on targeting there is never really anything to worry about. For the most part I think this update is only geared towards targeting the users who are truly abusing the system.

  • john

    Any idea about linking to other sites eg: If we sell cameras instead of having all the tech details if we say check out canon.com with a link for further details?

    Thanks

  • http://whiztoy.com Conan H

    If we use the “no follow” tag in the link from a page with unique content to a page with duplicate content, will that be penalized? It seems a bit too much work to “fiddle around” with “canonical” and URL parameters in the webmasters panel.

    Sometimes for webmasters who are not clear about how “URL parameters” work in the webmasters panel, they can make mistakes and improperly configurate their links.

    I hope I make sense?

    It would be simpler to just use a “no follow” tag.

  • http://seoblogger4.blogspot.com subhan

    Google must be careful, if they still update like this idiot algorithm it will make another SE big. Seo’er, blogger and internet marketer give big contribute to make google so big right now.

  • http://www.insurance4all.co.uk Anna

    Hit and hit again….I’m all about making money from Google adsense so don’t blame them for hitting me in terms of my site being not that informative, but from making around 400 euros per month, I’m not at about 65 euros…not good. Kids are now eating supermarket own brand for tea……:(

  • http://www.venuepages.co.za Conference venues South Africa

    Thanks, great article. I run a database site so each pages is the same with different data for each entry. Approx 2000 entries. Would this constitute duplicate content?

    Also the site also duplicates content every 3 days by taking each dynamic entry and turning it into a static pages. This was done to try to get Google to index the static pages rather than battle with trying to index the dynamic pages. Any direction here would be appreciated as I am afraid that this excecise might be considered dupkicating it for black hat purposes.

  • http://www.peoplesinnovation.com zia

    Nice article with good info..

  • http://www.ukblackdating.co.uk Reece Coleman

    I’ve noticed MORE out of date, spam my sites appearing in my search results since this update than before! I don’t want sites that haven’t been updated or used since 2007 in my results, unless I’m looking for historical information! My own site, previously ranking at 4th for the phrase “black dating”, has vanished out of the top 200, despite no guideline warnings from Google, no errors on Webmaster tools and no issues that I can detect. As a result, I now have to spend more on PPC to keep my traffic up and who benefits from that? Why, Google of course! Can anyone else see the problem with the company that controls search, with no transparency how it manipulates results, also making vast amounts of money from advertising on said search engine? Call me cynical, but I don’t trust them one little bit!

    • http://www.itrustgodonly.com John P

      You’re right about that. I needed some up to date info and I had a heck of a time trying to find some that was up to date. I forget that I was in Google search (was looking to see where some of my sites were) because I usually use Bing.

  • http://www.techvelvety.com Soniya Kapoor

    Hi,
    It seems that again google is going to give a high voltage shock to seo companies using black hat techniques…

    beware…

    it will definately impact on ranking of existing websites.

    thanks !

    Warm regards,

  • http://netmedia-uk.com Alan Johnston

    I just keep writing fresh new content and I am chuffed to bits where my sites appear on Google!

  • http://www.sixthsensemarketing/ Bradley

    Interesting that the post is about quality SEO and there is keyword rich names/spam in the comments.

  • joe david

    Seems webmasters are having a hard time understanding the penguin update, imagine just regular business owners that don’t have this technical knowledge. This whole hand-wringing is ridiculous. Why doesn’t google just set up their own webdesign shop and for a price do our websites according to their bible and we’ll all be better off. Every webmaster I’ve hired, said they were a “guru” in their field, only to be debunked a few months later and a few thousand dollars poorer (me)…I’m sick and tired of all this double-talk and geek lingo that does nothing to further the real objective, which is to help business people or informative sites in their best light. Everyone is skirting the real issue, which is—google fine tunes everything to ensure you do adwords instead of getting a “free” ride with organic listings.

    • John P

      “google fine tunes everything to ensure you do adwords instead of getting a “free” ride with organic listings”. Never thought of that, Good Point!

  • http://softnwords.com Sam John

    I wonder why duplicate contents make such noise in the Search engine ranking

  • http://www.UseFreeSMS.com Send Free SMS

    Listen, at the end of the day, everyone who wants to be a legit website or business, needed to do these things way before they became “actual” updates to Google’s algo.

    Think about it, would you want to see the same identical store in the same area on the same street in the same mall 25 times. JcPenny for example. NO!

    Its the same thing with search results.

    Just follow their rules and regs, be patient and you will come out on top.

    Thanks for your insight man!
    Jason

  • http://www.decktropic.com Ömer Feyyazoğlu

    dont try to fix it if its working: unnecessary move by google;
    first they encourage linking then try to discourage spam linking as a result , then people go against google no wonder, time for a new search engine to be born and will be pretty quickly ,

  • http://dollarstips.com Krishna

    White hat SEO for all, and black hat SEO, and other questionable methods for those who have monopolistic and autocratic rule over the internet.

  • bRad

    What I’m surprised noone is talking about is how this update is going to effect antitrust proceedings in Europe and potential antitrust violations in the USA. To me its pretty clear, if someone was developing a search engine specifically looking for the flags that good is “guidelining” down now and say that new “seo search engines” results were harmed because google is forcing everyone to play by there rules, to me, that is clearly and antitrust anti-competitive behavior.

    how will these guidelines affect ask and bing results?

    google is playing fast and loose on this update.

    Personally, if someone is paying to seo a site, then that tells me that site is at least marginally relevant to the keywords being seo’d for.

    after this new update, google’s serps are a freaking mess. so much so, ive been wandering over to bing and liking it.

  • http://cek-info.blogspot.com Asmara Susanto

    oh, my visitors down 90% finally my blog quiet from visitors.

    so, it make me disappointed :'(

  • http://www.mpbcontest.com/ssylvia Sylvia

    ok.. I am getting sick about this CIRCUS …

    it kills the “Normal IM People” and favors the BIG GUYS !!

    by the way.. I get “pissed off” about that Google try to think for me and control my acting’s !!!

    … OK.. spamming with BOTs is not a good thing.. BUT all this rules are Killers too !!

    WHO can really from “normal online workers” afford buying 100 DOMAINS ??? for try to make a “independent living ” and not living on “Gouvernements Mercies ” ???

    In this days, they should support the “little guys” and not the BIG ONCE !!

    anyway… I don’t make myself headache anymore for this BIG G !

    I got more focused now to YAHOO .. and hope they stay fair and clean for ever !

    … a lesson from History: in any “wars” when 2 Big Powers fighting (like Google + FB !) nobody will will on end…
    and SOME NEW BETTER ONCE will growing out from this …!

    RESULTS are already on the Horizont like Pinterest and others !

    wish everyone a relaxing and stress-free life !

    • Richard

      The Old God was Microsoft the new one is GOOGLE with much bigger muscles.
      So Bow down!!
      They have the power to effect the Worlds economy should they wish.
      Can’t believe I linked to these guys 15 years ago wouldn’t do any more. In fact give me a -1 button!!

  • http://www.captaincyberzone.com Cap’n Cyberzone

    I employ none of the stated new Penguin update targets yet have seen a fall-off within the last week.
    What is with this roller-coaster ride we webmasters have been on for the past year? Does the Goo really know what it’s doing or is it “trying” (beta) different tweaks at the content providers expense?!

  • sam goten

    I’m a bit confused, how does this affect link building and ancor text exactly? Anybody?????

  • Richard

    I don’t think I got penalized directly as it were by the update but hit by the localization update dropping international hits by about 40% did anyone else notice this?

    Just 1 example previously we were page 1 in the UK for the keywords “Houses For rent in MyCity Thailand” now such sites as holiday lettings.xx.uk, Tripadviser.xx.uk etc.. are page 1 google.co.uk

    Not an expert myself just wondering if that is possible?

    Regarding duplicate content we run a CMS site in 4 languages so duplicate content is unavoidable from what I have been told.

  • http://compsoul.com Jack Malone

    This definetely is much to look into. Webmasters have to worry even more about other sites copying there content and lose ranking through no fault of there own. Hopefully Penguin can tell which one is original and which is not but I just don’t have that much blind faith.

  • http://neilyamit.com/ neil

    I wonder if Authorship Markup makes a duplicate content acceptable.

    What do you think guys?

  • http://www.blogsonblogger.com/ Blogger Blogs Directory

    The Internet is filled with so many spammy sites and i think this new update and actions will be able to address this and help real unique content sites to get their good share of traffic from Google’s search engine.

  • T

    These punks should get girlfriends or something, or did google lock them into a matrix tank. So much fukin bullshit on do’s and don’ts that we’re supposed to keep up on? How about just letting us run our goddamned businesses the best we can and google coming to us for a change! Hard enough to keep our noses above the waterline, but this is just more bullshit!

  • http://www.seonorthamerica.com Tom Aikins

    I thought Google was always trying to get rid of low-quality, spammy pages? Why is this any different from what they’ve been doing for years?

  • http://www.thepowersellersunion.com/ Jason Gammon

    What about redirects to the home page, for example my webmaster tools was showing I had 2 websites one with the www and one without. I did a 301 redirect through my cpanel and my site has vanished was this a bad idea?

  • http://game-stalkers.com/ Stalker

    Note: “For example, a blog entry may appear on the home page of a blog, in an archive page, and in a page of other entries with the same label.”

    Still, isn’t Google the one that also advises in its forums “a webpage should be linked from more than one single place” for a better indexing? That is an internal SEO whitehat method. I also admit that archives should be no indexed, but from the home page and a category of a blog it really should be linked a certain article/page.

  • http://soft-navigator.com/ Navi

    Indeed Stalker, but there is a problem of duplicate content if you’re using the same page from multiple categories. There should be only one from a category and from the home page with an excerpt, taking WordPress for example.

  • http://www.nortad.com/ Alex

    It’s very hard, may be impossible(unfortunately) for google to win its battle against unethical seo practices without (1) harming a good number of decent sites and (2) allowing poor results to float atop, thus providing the opposite user experience they aimed at in the first place. I wonder why google isn’t taking notice of Bing’s performance, they seem to strike that balance.

  • http://mastokkenari.page4.me mastok

    google is more and more uneasy, increasingly many stupid things he does. google is not the internet police. Internet is a free world. anyone who wants to do business therein must respect this freedom. including Google. though it includes one of many large companies on the internet though.

  • http://www.computerhowtoguide.com computer how to

    Google is doing everything to penalize black hat SEO. I think this is a consolidating stage, sites that are affected by penguin will recover soon if there are not involved in black hat seo.

  • Dao

    It’s an unfire update. The results are far from relevant. Lots of old sites with broken links are shown first. Also, if I search for photos on some subject, google offers some separate photos from blogs, flick, tripadvisor (it’s everywhere) while big photo albums with many photos (=internal links) on subject are set aside. But it’s not a link scheme or something. I don’t understand…

  • http://mathatube.com denzil

    One of my page lost traffic because of the penguin but I am not complaining. Some times the good guys have to suffer because of the badguys. But like said I am not complaining.

  • http://www.bestaffiliateniche.com Eva

    Yes, they fine tune everything (I got fine tuned to the max), but then they kick you out of adwords if your site is too much of an affiliate site and is “selling” something. Doesn’t make ANY Sense! I got kicked out of Adwords a year ago because they wanted me to make a site I didn’t want to advertise anymore compliant before I could use Adwords for anything. What???!!

  • http://cebuanddavao.com Nonoy

    I’ve heard of this Penguin update but didn’t know what exact issues the update are targeting. Now I know.

    I have 600+ visitors for the past few weeks before the update. Now I got 500+. I don’t have an idea if my site has been hit with this small decrease.

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/115326789223681674036 Rajesh Magar

    Awesome article.
    And yes here I have one website in optimization activity which is just effected with this Penguin update.

    And the reason behind is that posting same content on multiple domains.
    Thanks Again

  • http://www.loanscomplete.com brian

    “Google doesn’t consider duplicate content to be grounds for penalty”

    Ah, someone want to tell Panda that? Having duplicate content is a big red flag to Panda – one of the biggest – and as anyone who’s been pandalised can attest losing 90%+ of your rankings certainly feels like a penalty.

  • http://www.pixalweb.com/seo/ SEO Company India

    .I’m all about making money from Google adsense so don’t blame them for hitting me in terms of my site being not that informative, but from making around 400 euros per month, I’m not at about 65 euros…not good. Kids are now eating supermarket own brand for tea……:(

  • http://suckmytrend.com Ash

    Good stuff. I have been looking for some good news regarding the penguin update and I find this very useful.

  • http://www.colinmcdermott.co.uk/ Colin

    Would be interested to know why it was called the Penguin update. Anyone any ideas? I’m guessing from the Awkward Penguin meme.

  • Joe

    Amazing how most of you guys keep dancing to Google’s tune. It is sickening really. I don’t play by Google’s tune since before Christ. White had SEO is for idiots. Google doesn’t care about your good SEO conduct. They care only about its shareholders.

  • RP

    So what do you do when the content of your site gets scraped or other sites pick up your content from your RSS feeds? Sites tend to get a lot of links from these things that they have no control over. Many of the sites obtaining content this way are spam sites. Get too much of this and you are going to get Penguined even though you actually did nothing wrong…

    The problem as I see with Penguin is that there are ways to do everything right and still get penalized.

    Also, what is to prevent someone from buying a ton of bad links to a competitor’s site to take them out?

    Google is making assumptions about intent, assumptions that can be very wrong. They should not create an environment where the actions of others can cause you harm.

    If I cheat, I should get punished. If others cheat or use my content I should NOT get punished! I have no control over this.

  • Joe

    Google needs to go back to the 2003 algo. if they don’t want to disappear soon with the upcoming Facebook search engine. It’s coming, oh yeah! Facebook being a public company means the search engine is coming. They have no serious business model and there are rumors of quite a few engineers building the engine. Either that or destroy Facebook with ads all over due to pressure from the shareholders.

    Google better get its act up. This real time Twitter, G+ BS and ads all over plus the irrelevant search results will kill them. Users need relevant search results and they are not getting it. This big and sudden algo. changes to punish the bad guys, who are a minority, is killing millions of good websites every year and making the serps irrelevant. They need to change their algo slowly like before and the algo. changes can’t be so radical, non-sensical. I guess they’ll never do it. They benefit from the irrelevant serps with Adwords. Only Facebook can kill them or straighten them up.

  • http://www.bikelightsled.com Bicycle Lights

    Did not notice much change with this update on my sites. We went up in the rankings because of all the other foul play of others.

  • http://www.carsolutiononline.com/ Arbudi168

    Thanks for the explanation Chris, I have to many changes to my sites lately, like cloaking link, reasonable number of keywords and links, so I am glad find the answers here.

  • http://dululainsekaranglain.com/ Dulu Lain Sekarang Lain

    i can see why some people getting frustrated with google. I bet the panda got something to do with it 😉

  • http://www.wptm.net/ Becca

    Penguin Update is bad for many. I think that Google is trying to push down the small businesses in hopes of getting them to turn around and start a PPC campaign so that Google can make more money after missing target revenue guidelines. That make sense

    Some of my site hit by this updates. Reconsideration maybe a solution but how long the process will be :)

  • http://www.livingportugalproperty.com troia

    My main site Living Portugal Property has a property for sale in Portugal page where all my listings are located. I also have homes for sale Portugal com where I also showed all my listings (same content). My property for sale in Portugal page still ranks very well, however homes for sale Portugal com has disappeared off the rankings.

    A question if I am allowed, should I change the content on my homes for sale Portugal com and instead of having duplicate content link to my property for sale Portugal page?

  • william

    Unless AMAZON is Google+, FB and Twittering “sex toys”
    don’t believe the hype.

    First, all you SEO companies trying to advertise on this post that your clients did not suffer are total posers. Unless you work for Amazon, Zappos(amazon owned), Overstock, Sears ect your clients got hit.

    Google PENGUIN absolutely favors the big e-com and kills the average guy.

    1. Amazon now controls all English speaking words
    Amazon also owns imdb.com
    according to SEMRush – Amazon ranks #1 for “sex toys”
    – do the same search in Bing
    IMDB.com ranks #1 for XXX (you can figure out the traffic count for yourself)

    Amazon and Google were the top speakers at the ChannelAdvisors event days before PEGUIN

    Amazon, eBay, Sears ect get feeds from 3rd parties like CA
    Amazon stock jumped $30 a share same day as PENGUIN

    Google also just funded $5million for lobbyist in DC

    PENGUIN is all about product
    PENGUIN is all about $$$$$

    It’s Google and Amazon

    after researching over 100 sites and product lines it is clear that this update was about “product”

    Google uses the excuse that they do not owe anyone a living or a ranking position – but they have made it clear that they are going to put Amazon 1st for all e-com and both are going to make a lot of money doing so.

    PEGUIN = PORN + PRODUCT = $$$$$ to AMAZON

  • http://hghhealthfacts.com John Z

    It’s never right whatever you do, since years there are always changes at Google and it’s very hard to follow up with all their updates even for webmasters. You always have to pay for it if you have no or only little experience setting up your own small business. If you can do adwords and spend a lot of money to promote your business Google will be happy.

  • Tetsushi

    I feel that Google is addressing only to the webmasters and how to keep them thinking about google. Business, right? When google talks about users’ experiences, I find it funny because there is no value addition. Rather a value substraction. Heil Google :). Pardon my english as I am not native english speaker

    • A.I.

      Agreed. I used to use Yahoo for any searches till 2005 and since then started to go to Google as someone said that it was the best. But Yes, it was the best but now becoming a trash can. If I have to use all my IQ to try to find what I want to find then I need to go manual and try to type at keywords in the URL bar. Useless.

  • Pat

    All of my sites have lost traffic and I do not use black hat or deceptive methods. I also hate keyword spam. I’ve had it with Google, they reckon that they are trying to get better search results yet their search pages are riddled with ads, many of which are for thin, rubbishy sites. The top spots which are the most likely to be clicked on are paid for ads, so the only real way to ensure good positioning is to pay the fat man.

    Bing and Yahoo give better results and their search pages aren’t crowded with ads.

  • http://thesupermanstamina.com/ Emily

    I just wish I knew all the Panda factors, it makes my head spin.

  • max meier

    It makes me laugh what this “clever” guys from Google try to tell us, they are the ones who create the disaster and wont admit it so they tell the others are no good. Goggle is NOT willing to create any software to figure out what is the original and whats the copy, to do this is no big deal, they just don’t want. The fact is in the last 3 month I found around 200 pages and around 60 Photos in various websites with stolen content they took from us, the catch is google elevated the thief and trashed us, etc. The same is with this SEO stuff they think they are so clever and trash pages where there is no SEO etc. All this helter skelter was not existent until the last Google boss got another job, after disaster striked. Its a total disaster what this guys are doing every day in the search department. My advice to google is 1. get some qualified people and 2. dont change you system every month everyone who worked for longer time in IT knows that the worst thing is to continuously change a working system. It looks to me that relevant Google people dont know much about complex IT systems.

  • http://www.zombielogicpress.com Thomas L. Vaultonburg

    So, Google is whacking my peepee because they’re not smart enough to know the difference between two or more entries in my blog that are similar. Yes, they’re similar, dilwegs, because I return to the same five categories my site SAYS it’s about, sports, politics, movies, poetry, zombies. Too hard for you, guys?

  • http://www.njpropertytaxappeal.net Peter Jordan

    Since having one of my sites deindexed because of duplicate content issues, I have been forced to rewrite any content I intend to post elsehwere and ensure it has as least an 80-90% uniqueness. An arduous task, but one I believe will result in google perceiving my sites as offering a better user experience.

  • http://www.njpropertytaxappeal.net Peter Jordan

    My site was deindexed by google on account of duplicate content issues. Since then I have worked to ensure every and every piece of rewritten content achieves at least an 80-90% uniqueness before it is posted anywhere. An arduous task but one I am hopeful will lead to the removal of google’s curse.

  • Clinton

    Google holds all the cards and they are letting us know that they are in charge of everything on the web and there is not a thing that we can do about it. Their arrogance is terrible and is getting worse. Power corrupts!

    Also, bear in mind that the many continual changes are not to improve search. The changes are to improve revenue from paid adverts. At the end of the day Google doesn’t want anyone to be an expert on organic search.

    I am not sure why the open source community tolerates Google’s arrogance and just takes all of this lying down. Maybe because we don’t really have any choice.

  • Clinton

    Thanks John,
    Clearly the admin of this article didn’t think the point was good because he/she removed my article – so much for an open and free web.

    • Clinton

      Sorry – article is back.

  • http://www.ezau.com Blogging Ed

    As a Google user, I am happy to see that much duplicate web spam has been filtered from Google search engine results pages.

    There is also the issue of spun duplicate content which really annoys me. After clicking-through a Google Search Result and reading this web spam, I am no more enlightened than I was before. Spun content appears original to crawlers but makes no sense because a human did not proof-read it.

    I heard a rumor that Google might be checking grammar, punctuation and style filters to try and improve search results by filtering out some of this spun content. Not sure about that because many useful original articles will also be filtered out of the search results.

    Does anyone have information about this rumor?

  • Radu

    Let’s use other Search Engine, instead of becoming used to google and depending on it.

  • http://sanjeevseoservices.blog.com/ Sanjeev Rana

    Appears site house owners are having a tough time understanding the penguin update, think about simply common enterprise house owners that don’t have this technical data. This entire hand-wringing is ridiculous. Why doesn’t google simply arrange their very personal webdesign store and for a value do our web sites in accordance to their bible and we’ll all be higher off. each web-master I’ve hired, mentioned they have been a “guru” of their field, solely to be debunked just just a few months later and just just a few thousand poorer (me)…I’m sick and bored with all this double-talk and geek lingo that does nothing to additional the true objective, which is to assist enterprise folks or informative websites of their greatest gentle. everybody is skirting the true issue, which is—google high quality tunes every little thing to make sure you do adwords as an alternative of getting a “free” journey with natural listings.

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  • http://www.knead.co.nz Jeff

    Great post.

    I agree that Google is looking to reward positive (read unique and engaging content) over backlinked content. However i see that the trend is different depending on what part of the globe you are from.

    Our company based in NZ have dealt with several companies who were penalised in the penguin update. 3 were for keyword stuffing, the other had their links removed. Tellingly the backlink problem was from .co.uk tlds.

    It seems that across Australasia the online industry it us filled with ‘keyword = good’ amateur webmasters. This has lead to poor quality sites and results, which makes justifying the good work SEO professionals do, that much harder.

    I hope that this update scares the “keyword = good’ mentality out of the industry, but im fearful for all those companies who have no idea about the ongoing management of their site and the penguin effects that they havent even noticed yet.

    Keep up the great work!

  • http://www.voltagenewmedia.com matt magi

    Thanks for this, been studying the Panda update and this has to be one of the bet put together blogs I have read yet, bookmarking it now so I can finish watching all those videos. Thanks.

  • http://www.musicmastilovers.com Aahana Kashyap

    thanx for this useful information provided by you…. thanx alot

  • http://www.thinkcoffeelovers.com dinesh sharma

    Google Changes his Policy and new update for time to time… and useful information found here ! thanks alot

  • http://www.website2conversion.com King Rosales

    Hey Chris, thanks for the post. Lots of content and I especially appreciate all the Matt Cutt videos at the bottom; definitely enriches and reinforces your post.

  • http://www.slots4play.com Chris

    i don`t know man, but this update messed not me but many others, so let me give u a big example : and if this is fairly true what is happening with this updates,

    ok i admit that i had a big problem with double content, well i don`t know how this was possible but google indexed my site not twice , 3-4 times http://www.slots4play.com , ww.slots4play.com, w.slots4play.com , reason.slots4play.com …,

    anyway assuming that i made a mistake , but the question is why this shit http://www.freeslotsonline.me.uk/ stays on google, in some keywords, with no content, and ranks, people like me or others with absolutelly nothing…

    anyway i saw that i still have pages and i`m working almost non stop, i make my site from scratch and only in HTML , i moved my site as well on another hosting company, and i hope i`ll come back soon, and hope goolgle will update this shit as soon as possible …. no more comments ….

    • http://www.slots4play.com Chris

      how this happent , before google announced the last update i`ve noticed in that morning something is wrong with my stats, i always check my stats every day …. i waited few hours and then BOOM – i got an email : the google penguin update … , i made a fast reserch and saw exactly what was the problem, hope this affect us temporarelly, and i hope if changes are made, i hope there is a chance for coming back … will see , only time will say …

  • http://www.getnewsinfo.com/ Reshhia

    wow that is so impracticable tool code of google co thank you

  • http://www.slots4play.com Chris

    ok guys – let me show you what is happening with google (please rate if you are agree with me ! )

    example 1: this guy ranks with my content (stolen from me as you can see)

    i shared the picture here : http://www.slots4play.com/stolen-content.png

    and the proof here :

    https://www.google.co.uk/#q=free+slots+uk+demo&hl=en&prmd=imvns&ei=ifjLT_3vAorg8APosInJDw&start=20&sa=N&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=8c94bba531e6309e&biw=1600&bih=673

    so as we can see bad guys goes up, hard workers goes doen … if this seems right … well bravo GooGle you are the best from the worst thing possible…

    thanks again for ruining good and hard working people , this is not the only site that copied my site!!! there are more ….

  • http://weworkforcheese.com mike

    Since the update, it looks like the number of links we had indexed with Google was drastically reduced. I don’t think we’ve violated any terms since our content is 100% original and not duplicated. It’s overall annoying, but not a huge deal. It affects our search traffic yes, but we have a reader base that continues to visit directly because of the content and interaction.

  • http://jaipursightseeing.wordpress.com Mahendra Singh

    Hello Chris Crum,

    I am a Mahendra Singh from India. I have a small tour business of Jaipur, India tourism but I am facing very critical condition in this time. After penguin update my blog(http://jaipursightseeing.wordpress.com) ranking is dropped and i did not do any black hat seo or unethical work for my blog so please suggest me that what should i do for recover? Please it’s urgent…………

  • http://gardenbay.net garden greenhouses

    Not much time has passed since most webmasters became familiar with Google Panda. However, as opposed to what most people expected, the industry giant did not stop here and on April 24 a new update was launched. Google Penguin comes with no less than 52 algorithm changes and many more penalties for web pages using over-optimization. Like in the Panda update, representatives of the company stated penalties would only be applied to pages with problems, without the risk of affecting genuine sites. A difference would be that Google Panda reassesses all sites on average once a month, while with Penguin the optimization is evaluated continuously. As a consequence, it is now important for webmasters to adapt to the new requirements in a very short time, because penalties will be canceled immediately.

  • http://www.kernmedia.com Dan

    LOL, outside of the video code, 50% of this page’s body content is duplicate content pulled from Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Good reminder in this article, but thought this was funny.

  • http://katpro.in katpro

    thats an importent thing, duplicate content. we have to give canonical tag for the duplicate content.

  • http://www.aboutfaces.co.in bridal makeup in delhi

    we recently recovered from penguin update after removing quite links from other website and changing internal links

  • mohmmed alsaadi

    what about RSS feed??
    there r many of sites takes from my rss to publish on there forumes
    is that good for me or not ??

  • http://trendstatic.com Ramon Acot

    Good thing there is a helpful tips like this. As saying tells, prevention is better than cure

  • http://www.trendstatic.com Ramon Acot

    Thanks for good insights. My company will get better and better with this