Webspam And Panda Updates: Does SEO Still Matter?

    April 30, 2012
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

It’s been a crazy week in search. While not entirely unexpected, Google launched its new Webspam update (which should still be in the process of rolling out, as Google said it would take a few days). This update, according to the company, is aimed at black hat SEO tactics and the sites engaging in them, to keep them from ranking over content that is just better and more relevant. While most that don’t engage in such tactics would agree that this would be a good thing, a lot of people are complaining about the effects of the update on the user experience, and on results in general.

Do you think Google’s results have improved or gotten worse with this update? Let us know in the comments.

The Webspam update, as it’s officially been dubbed by Google’s Matt Cutts, is really only part of the equation though. Cutts also revealed that Google launched a data refresh of the Panda update around April 19th. So it would appear that a mixture of these two updates (along with whatever other tweaks Google may have made) have caused a lot of chaos among webmasters and in some search results.

What The Panda Update Is About

I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about Panda here. I feel I’ve done that enough for the past year. If you’re not familiar with Panda, I’d suggest reading through our coverage here. Essentially, it’s Google’s attempt to make quality content rise to the top. There are a lot of variables, opinions and speculation throughout the Panda saga, but in a nutshell, it’s just about Google wanting good, quality content ranking well.

What The Webspam Update Is About

Interestingly enough, the Webspam update is about quality content as well. In fact, Google’s announcement of the update was titled: Another Step To Reward High-Quality Sites. It can be viewed as a complement to Panda. A way for Google to keep spammy crap from interfering with the high quality content the Panda update was designed to promote. That is, in a perfect world. But when has this world ever been perfect? When has Google ever been perfect?

When Matt Cutts first talked about this update, before it had a name or people even really knew what to expect, he said Google was going after “over-optimization”. He said, at SXSW last month, “The idea is basically to try and level the playing ground a little bit, so all those people who have sort of been doing, for lack of a better word, ‘over-optimization’ or overly doing their SEO, compared to the people who are just making great content and trying to make a fantastic site, we want to sort of make that playing field a little more level.”

At the time, we wrote an article about it, talking about how Google was working on making SEO matter less. This week, Cutts aimed to clarify this a bit. Danny Sullivan quotes Cutts as saying, “I think ‘over-optimization’ wasn’t the best description, because it blurred the distinction between white hat SEO and webspam. This change is targeted at webspam, not SEO, and we tried to make that fact more clear in the blog post.”

Well, it’s clear that black hat webpsam is a target, because the post says those exact words. “The opposite of ‘white hat’ SEO is something called “black hat webspam” (we say ‘webspam’ to distinguish it from email spam),” Cutts says in the post, later adding, “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. We’ve always targeted webspam in our rankings, and this algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content. ”

OK, so as long as you abide by Google’s quality guidelines, this update should not impact you negatively right?

The part that isn’t quite as clear is about how much SEO tactics really matter. While he have clarified that that they’re more concerned about getting rid of the black hat stuff, he also said something in that post, which would seem to indicate that Google wants content from sites not worried about SEO at all to rank better too (when it’s good of course).

“We want people doing white hat search engine optimization (or even no search engine optimization at all) to be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling web sites,” says Cutts. Emphasis added.

To me, that says that Google is not against white hat SEO (obviously – Google promotes plenty of white hat tactics), but they also would like to have it matter less.

While I’m sure many in the SEO industry would disagree (because it could cost them their businesses), wouldn’t it ultimately be better for users and webmasters alike if they didn’t have to worry about SEO at all? If Google could just determine what the best results really were?

Don’t worry, SEOs. We don’t live in that fantasy land yet, and while Google (and its competitors) would love to be able to do this, there is little evidence to suggest that will happen in the foreseeable future. In fact, I’d expect the nature of how we consume information from the web to evolve so much by that point, that it may not even be a relevant discussion.

But rather than talk about what the future may bring (though Google’s certainly thinking about it), let’s focus on the here and now.

Who Has Felt The Effects Of Google’s Updates?

You can browse any number of forum threads and blog comments and see plenty of personal stories about sites getting hit. Searchmetrics, as it usually does following major Google updates, compiled some preliminary lists of the top winners and losers. Before we get to those lists, however, there are some caveats. For one, the firm was clear that these are preview lists. Secondly, the update has probably not finished rolling out yet. Third, they were put out before the Panda refresh was made public, and Matt Cutts says the list isn’t indicative of the sites impacted by the Webspam update.”

He told Sullivan, “There’s a pretty big flaw with this “winner/loser” data. Searchmetrics says that they’re comparing by looking at rankings from a week ago. We rolled out a Panda data refresh several days ago. Because of the one week window, the Searchmetrics data include not only drops because of the webspam algorithm update but also Panda-related drops. In fact, when our engineers looked at Searchmetrics’ list of 50 sites that dropped, we only saw 2-3 sites that were affected in any way by the webspam algorithm update. I wouldn’t take the Searchmetrics list as indicative of the sites that were affected by the webspam algorithm update.”

OK, so the lists apparently more indicative of the lastest Panda victims and winners. We still don’t really know who the biggest losers and winners on the Webpspam front are. Perhaps Searchmetrics will release another lists soon, with this new information taken into account.

Here are the lists:

Searchmetrics list

Searchmetrics list

Note that Demand Media’s eHow.com is not on the list. If you’ve followed the Panda saga all the way, you’ll know that it has always been in the conversation. Thought of as a content farm, it was the kind of site many thought Panda was designed to target. While it managed to escape unscathed for a while, Panda eventually caught up with it, and Demand Media made a lot of changes, which seem to have helped tremendously. They deleted a lot of articles and implemented some other things designed to keep quality up.

During the company’s most recent earnings call (there’s another one coming in May), Demand Media said it hadn’t been affected by a Google update since July. It will be interesting to see what they say on the next call.

There is some speculation that eHow may have benefited from recent Google updates, whether Panda or Webspam. Here’s a tweet from WebmasterWorld/PubCon Founder Brett Tabke:

Did ‘ehow’ just make a comeback in the serps? hmmm – ran into them in 4 searches in last hour. 1 hour ago via web ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

We asked Demand Media if they’ve seen any increase in Google referrals. The company won’t comment because they’re in a quiet period ahead of their results announcement.

Are Google Results Better?

There is never a shortage of criticism of Google’s search results, yet it has managed to steadily dominate the market, so clearly they’ve remained good enough not to alienate the majority of users. There do, however, seem to be some very identifiable flaws in some search results right now.

For example, there is all kinds of weird stuff going on with the SERP for “viagra”. For example, viagra.com, the official site, was not on the first page, when it should have been the first result. Just as I was writing this piece, viagra.com reappeared at number one. More on the other viagra page issues (some of which are still there) here.

For the query, “make money online,” the top result was a page without any content on it whatsoever. Not what Google had in mind in terms of quality, I assume. Looking now, it actually appears Google has fixed this one too.

A couple things we’ve seen mentioned by webmasters repeatedly, with regards to what has gotten sites’ Google rankings hit, are exact match domains and sites with a lot of links from spun content sources. Of course not every exact match domain is hit, but it could be a factor for some topics that do tend to generate a lot of spam. Viagra would certainly fit that bill, and may have just been an innocent casualty, which Google had to correct. I wonder how many more of those there are, and if Google will correct them.

From what Google says, it’s more about things like keyword stuffing, link schemes and other things that violate its quality guidelines. You may want to go read those carefully.

Update: Apparently, the Webspam update is now called the Penguin update, even though Cutts already called it the Webspam update. Sigh. I guess I have some re-tagging to do.

What do you think? Did Google get its Webspam update right? As Panda continues to march on, is that making results better? Share your thoughts in the comments.

  • http://www.face-gamers.com matthew

    I can’t find anything positive about Google results as a user, webmaster and SEO specialist post-update.

    A Google search for “Something” returns a website with no content in position 1.

    SEOMOZ now ranks for “dog snoogie” after a negative SEO campaign.

    Many high quality sites which engaged in Greyhat SEO(Simply building links) divebombed while low quality spun article adsense sites have been reportedly ranking top 10 for many supposed black hat SEO marketers.

    No feedback form Google on what exactly “over-optimisation” or webspam is.

    A quick look at Google’s webmaster forum reveals a lot of mom and pops online businesses being wiped off the face of Google’s results when they don’t engage in SEO. https://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!categories/webmasters/crawling-indexing–ranking

    Matt Cutts refers to “WickedFire” as a webspam forum, but it is position one for “webmaster forum”

    NegativeSEO has already been proven and engaged in.

    I don’t believe Google is on the same planet as their users.

    • Roger M

      Is it difficult to understand what is happening?

      * Counting links as a relevancy signal for website ranking is faulty, since links can be easily manipulated.

      * Pricing of adwords and adsense on pay per click model is faulty since clicks can be easily manipulated by hiring clickers.

      * Possibly google is getting desperate…. we can easily observe many small mom/pop advertisers trying adwords for some time and stopping. So google need to find new advertisers constantly or the system is not sustainable…..

      * By the recent updates google may be trying to force the mom/pop business to advertise. The PPC system is not sustainable, so this tactic will not work, small business men are wise…..

      • Samba R

        Looks like google business model is collapsing?

    • justin

      guarantee that seomoz neg seo listing will clear next time they run panda

  • http://www.face-gamers.com matthew

    are comments working?

  • http://hioctanesolutions.com/ Brennan Toledo

    The way I see it, just write good content and it will solve everything else. I like the idea of penalizing websites that over-optimize. Most websites that are over-optimized are poor quality sites anyways. Let the creme rise to the top. I avoid putting long keywords in ALT tags and try to keep everything looking somewhat natural.

    • SEOspert

      The real trouble is with this whole idea of what is “natural” – these days if you have done ANY research into seo even as a beginner you’re told to add descriptive alt tags, so how would it be possible for an alt tag on an image to NOT contain long-tail. Just doesnt make sense anymore. It isnt about black or white, that’s all just bull. Hand built doesn’t mean non-spam, and automation doesn’t necesarily mean spam (but most of the time it DOES)… THis is the real problem; define “natural”

  • Chris

    Sounds like the perfect opportunity for hackers/spammers to get paid to target competitors websites pointing as many bad neighborhoods as they can to the site in order to ambush Google ranks. I speak of this from personal experience as a victim of such buffoonery. The only thing I can do to defend myself is issue 403 forbidden against the hostile referrers but even then I don’t know how Google will react to them. My link:mysite.com SERP is currently riddled with spam and I’m not sure what to do about it. =(

  • http://www.newenergycom.com Jim Coon

    What seems to be more and more evident, is that Google’s Panda is rewarding big companies and crowding out smaller ones. Let’s face it, big companies can afford big adword budgets. I guess the dream of the web being a place where small business could compete with the giants is over. The sad thing is that Google doesn’t have to do this. It rose on the backs of us little guys and is rewarding us with a kick in the teeth.

    • Shawn

      I agree with you and then some. You must have an old url, and pay for ads. Then you rank. F You Google – class action anyone?

      • http://www.NoShoes4u.com Lee Gamble

        I agree 100%
        Google is now all about the one percenters, daddy warbucks.
        Small family websites can’t keep up with the mega sites, so once again it’s all about money!

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

      Sounds spot on to me.

  • http://www.fastmetrics.com Cody Miller

    SEO has certainly been refined in a good way recently.

    Whilst link building is still vital for good rankings, HOW you go about link building should be closely looked at.

    Article spinners, look out!

    • http://www.ourpangea.com Adam

      Article spinning isn’t being targeted here. Trust me…… If google thinks they are getting rid of spinning they are sadly mistaken. Their SERPs including tons of recycled content.

      • SEOspert

        You said it buddy, anyone that really knows how to spin an article can make one sick ass spin that’ll last for quite a long time.

  • http://www.best-juicing.com Rika Susan

    It is really getting difficult to understand how a quality website can simply disappear, if the intention was to target webspam. I don’t practice black hat SEO. I write quality content – all the content on the site is my own and is original. I get positive feedback from my visitors about the usefulness of the information I provide about healthy family nutrition. This is a totally disheartening and discouraging experience.

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

      Quality content means nothing because Google can’t distinguish great content from merely original content. Why? Bots can’t read. If someone creates original content that also happens to be crap then it can rank the same as yours because GOOGLE CAN’T READ.

  • http://www.contentforconversions.com Russell Hudson – ContentForConversions.com

    I agree with Rika Susan above. We have a small website and are professional writers and editors who are well-known in the industry for producing and publishing the highest quality content. However, on April 19-20 we lost all of our rankings. All of them. We do not have a single keyword in the SERPs anymore at all, effectively ending our business. Completely, ridiculously unfair and at the end of the day probably criminal.

    • http://websitedesignsaustralia.com/ Susan O’Dea

      The other day I commented on a post about a search I did and found amusing. I just did it now!

      Here in Australia if you type in ‘search engine’ Dogpile is position one and Google position 3. It was 4 the other day, so they are rising in the SERPS!

      As for my own sites…all original quality content and gone…like everyone else so it seems.

      • http://www.onearmedseo.com OneArmedSEO

        Google doesn’t care about where they are in the SERPS, since you were already searching from their site.

        You have all original content, but is everything else in order? Is your site properly optimized? That’s more likely the reason for your disappearance…it also may be just a re-indexing that’s going on…you’ll most likely come back in a few days if that’s the case.

    • http://www.best-juicing.com Rika Susan

      Thanks, Russell. Best of all, we have no clue as to what we need to change to improve the situation. That is what really bugs me. This happens out of the blue, we have no idea why it happened and no indication of what we need to change.

  • http://www.howtoremovecarpetstains.com Steve Gillman

    It seems that Google is actively punishing sites for black hat SEO. Some might think this makes sense. But if you move a site down in rankings because of a link sold or bought you are giving up any claim to be trying to deliver the best result in favor of delivering only the best among sites you “like.” How does a link on a site (or links coming in) in any way diminish the USER experience any more than an AdSense link?–Especially if it is as relevant. Downgrade a site because of the specifics of its operations rather than the quality of its content? It makes no sense.

    By the way, can anyone honestly point out which of the 30 sites that now link higher than mine (howtoremovecarpetstains.com) for the search “carpet stains” has more and better stain removal content? At least one has the same instructions copied and pasted (often with bad advice as a result) for each page/type of stain.

    • SEOspert

      100% you are on the money bro. Quality results has nothing to do with SEO intent or investment. A site taht really wants to win will do it’s hardest to write the wickedest, best high quality content but ….. if they have a 25k SB blast done or some crappy fiverr spam SEO gigs then that means their content sucks or their site is crap? This does NOT correlate in any shape whatsoever.

      Site quality != backlink quality.

  • http://evrn.net/ Howard Crane

    Google’s attempts to suppress spam, albeit well-intentioned, is just endangering the innocent. But I’m happy, because they’re going to prove governments, too, cannot legislate evil out of existence.

    I hate spam. I spend an hour a day dealing with it. But I don’t mind because that’s how a community stops an unwanted behaviour.

    • SEOspert

      99% of the webspam that google targeted nobody ever saw anyway.

  • http://www.linkorama.ch Mike

    @Rika Susan: I totally agree! My Website has also hit hard and this is frustrating. I spend so much time in writing (since 4 years) and i also have good and positive feedback. Is that the way google want’s the web?

    • http://www.best-juicing.com Rika Susan

      Thank you, Mike. At least I know we are not alone in this. I have seen many responses like yours – too many. Hang in there. Did Google get its Webspam update right? I don’t think so. Not even close.

  • http://www.seo-france.net/ Mathieu

    Personally, on French results, and especially google.fr, the outcome is really crappy…
    Many poor sites, many splogs, many empty pages on the first page for a whole bunch of competitive queries.

    I’d even rather use Bing for my searches today, that’s really disappointing.

    Many sites have been hit whereas they were really interesting. So what is the correct equation? Should a site with quality content and reviews from its users be penalized because of its link building techniques, or does the user satisfaction count more?

    If I were Google, I’d think about this before applying a crappy update.

    Some folks may lose their jobs due to this update that does not even respect Google users.

    I believe this new algorithmic layer will be tuned up within a few days as Google just cannot serve such results to their users.

    What do you think?

  • John Biggs

    I am with Rika on this one. All of our sites have been hit really bad and we also don’t practise black hat, we just offer what we are selling and thats it.
    Today I did searches for the keywords that one of our sites has been ranking position 1 for 3 years for, and they are now held by Walmart, Sears and Ebay search results for those keywords.
    Are you serious? a search results page, that contains anything that might contain the search term, ranks higher than a site dedicated to the product?

    • http://www.topsellinghdtvs.com Eric

      Hi John,
      You hit the nail on the head. I’m always amazed that people really believe Google cares about ‘quality’ results. What they care about is control and making money. Its no surprise that walmart, sears and ebay are at the top. Googles’s model gives preference to large, deep pocketed companies…similar to Merrill Lynch declaring in the 80’s that they didn’t want small investors.
      Adwords is not workable for the small business or single person entrepreneur…its really now a platform for large companies… seo is following suit. Size and wealth of an enterprise is more relavant to search results than quality.

  • http://affiliate-marketing-adviser.com Roger Shann

    Personally I think that SEO will still carry a lot of weight but only to let Google know what any site/page is about. However the engagement of the visitors will also become more important, after all why would the big G want to send people to a site which everyone else left within seconds of arriving there?
    Last week a few of my sites disappeared from search completely, now all back but it was a MISTAKE by Google! Time has come to build solid following by other means. Personally I believe that being a real person with a real personality will come to be far more important than any search engine results.

  • william

    Google is taking the Mom and Pops out of business.

    I’ve had site after site get replaced by Amazon, eBay, Overstock ect.

    simply, Google has become thee largest commercial management company forcing smaller companies to either pay for clicks or be destroyed.

    Since the Farmer/Panda update Google can not seem to get it together.

    If you have gotten the dreaded email thru Google Webmaster Tools the reality is “U R Our of Business” and Google has no one to talk to .

    Google is God and everyone else is a nobody

    • justin

      i got the webmaster tools notice you mention, checked my site and just a few pages which were linked up to BMR and SLM dropped out of the results. i never responded to the notice and my site traffic has still been great despite it. all other listings intact, PR intact, customers and sales also intact. some 2 word exact match domains i have that were holding down #1 positions just got devalued but only a few spots (still on first page) from the webspam update so imagine that 3 or 4 word or sentence type exact match domains might be penalized even more.. ive only changed my methods very slightly since 2002, and have been maing amazing money online. i buy domains ahead of time and let them marinate for a few months, when i build it out i do mostof the content and then maybe one post per week. then get links, but just a few from high quality sites and that should be enough to land ur site on the first page. too many or none at all and you will be invisible, also links from youtube video descriptions work great to get ranked

  • George

    Google is making it easier for SEO experts, the game just changed. Now others are using keyword search bots to show high bounce rates on their competitors (I’m seeing these attacks on two of my sites lately) or they’re paying someone overseas to articially boose up social media popularity and less link building. If anything it’s easier for spammers and seo services to gain in rankings as both Google Plus, facebook, twitter, and several social media sites are incredibly easy to artificially boost up a sites social signals.

    The bounce rates are noiser then ever and I’m seeing a lot of keyword bots driving my bounce rates up. I’m hoping Google picks up on this soon as social media and bounce rates are the easiest things in the world for blackhat seo services to manipulate.

  • http://moretonbay.biz Bryan Atkin

    Russell Island – search – is a prime example of how someone can come in from out of town and dominate the search, realestate and large companies can also as they tend to have deep pockets ——- Having said that google is the least corrupted.
    the above site is going to redone with an to be more user friendly and aim at SEO.

  • http://www.marketsharewebdesign.com Kathy

    This has set over half of the web sites I manage for small business back tremendously. Where we used to rank top 3 for local searches- no where to be found now.

    I’m hoping that things will settle out in a week or so and things will improve. Surely this can’t be finished. If so, I’m done with SEO.

    I feel like Don Quixote.

  • Phil

    Is this about page optimization or backlink spam?

    I think the later. The sites I’ve seen hit have done mass link buying campaigns and have an order of 10 to 100 times more links to them than everyone else in their market. They have used dodgy tactics like redirecting domains solely for the purpose of passing on link juice and in many cases quarantining the site redirected to from dodgy links to the site redirected from. Or at least that was the case until this update. Google seems to be spotting 301s used for this purpose and hitting them hard.

    I’ve been frustrated by certain sites in the past that have out-competed my by using tactics that I dare not follow. At last they have got their just rewards. Having said that some of the side effects of this hard medicine have lead to some poor serps. New sites and price comparison sites, exact domain name match (to keywords) all seem to have prospered. In fact one site that has popped up at the top of one of the serps I follow has got their by buying links from just one directory network package.

    The spam is still a problem it is just that the recipe for success has changed.

    • crispy_barcelona

      It seems to have been the site content rather than the links that have been punished. Many webmasters with keywords in the domain name and heavy use of keywords in page urls have been punished. Funny, thought Google recommended those techniques.

  • http://blog.onlinecompetitions.org/ Mark

    The search results are a mess. I believe this is more about google trying to line their pockets with adwords money.

    • Hamzy

      Yes , this is the rteason….

  • http://www.paydayloanmission.com Damion

    Google is too busy focusing on web spam that they also hit real legitimate websites. The problem is Google tells us webmasters to simply build a website with good content and it will be found, but that is not true. There are countless websites with AMAZING unique content and insight tossed into page 10+ of Google because they have no backlinks, they obviously have no backlinks because they are on page 10. Google tells us not to buy backlinks but the websites that do rank actually buy backlinks. Do good and your penalized no one sees your site, but spend a bunch of money on links and you’ll be in page 2-3 in no time…way to go Google!

  • http://www.legal-marketing.co.uk Evolved legal

    Some great comments on here, as on other boards – are they listening ? Are they bothered ? They don’t give a hoot. Google is the great manipulator here, not the vast majority of online marketeers. They have a clear agenda to destroy legitimate seo to fuel ppc.

  • http://borber.info borber

    Just one example; the site I’m working with as a webmaster – the local dentist. No keywords stuffing, no link schemes.
    Dropped off.
    Who is still in the top? Other dentists’ websites which was made by the companies specialized in “dentist sites”. Mostly what they are doing is really bad sites, with copy-paste content and generic design. BUT: they have dozens similar (dental) sites in possession and so have “niche-related” links between them. So far after this “webspam update” it’s enough to be in the top.
    Is it good for users?

  • http://doorsecuritykit.com David

    Fot those who don’t yet REALIZE that Google just made a HUGE BLUNDER — Go to Google and type in the search box: Search Engine

    Dogpile comes up as # 1 and it just goes downhill from there with Google not even ranking on Page 1.


    On a side note, I laughed until I cried when I watched this:


  • http://seolondonservices.co.uk JT

    I agree with many comments on here, Google is moving towards replacing all the small sites/businesses with all the corporates. Eventually their will be no point using Google for search results unless you start at maybe page 3 or 4.

    As for webspam, they are certainly targeting many of the wrong sites as the really smart black hatters will always be one step ahead as they evolve similarly to Google.

    A lot of adverse publicity as to Negative SEO and one must ask the question, when is Google going to do something about it before it becomes like the wild west? Even Fiverr providers are offering gigs to blast competitors sites. So does it now only take $5 to ruin a competitor? One step forward – two steps back springs to mind

  • http://www.water-retention.net linda

    Is this a Panda feature: if I’m not logged into any google accounts my website ranks number 2 for its main keyword on the google search engine. If I am logged into a google account (any account) my site ranks 11. I’ve only discovered this recently. Weird or what?

    • justin

      ive been seeing this for awhile

  • http://www.planfindesemana.es Jesus Sordo

    Hello people,

    After several years following Google rules about SEO and all this, I woke up this morning and check as usual Adsense incomes, analytics and so on. And surprise: 60% decrease of the visits of my two most important websites. I kwew Google was up to something and I thought I should’t worry. However I am afected by this update. So what’s all this about? Do we follow Google recomendations about SEO or not? It’s clear they can change rules drasctically. It’s frustating working hard to get good content and white SEO and get all this. I am seriously thinking about changing the job. I don’t know, a job where I get a regular monthly payment and stop worrying when I get home.

  • http://www.seo-specialist.net Jock

    Personally, i feel it may take a little while to see what sort of impact we will see. I am especially interested in the impact it will have on spun articles. I for one get annoyed with offers from organizations wishing to put articles on my blogs and when i read them, they are blatantly spun and very bad. This update may take a while to get to them but at least we are heading in the right direction.

  • http://ultimatemarketingstrategies.net Peter Sundstrom

    As Google relies on algorithms, any tweaks/adjustments/improvements/enhancements they make are always going to take down completely legitimate sites.

    It’s a bit like dropping a bomb on a house to get rid of the cockroaches. It might solve the cockroach problem, but there sure is a lot of collateral damage.

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

    The whole premise for Google doing this is that they are going to reward sites that have great content. Here’s the fallacy in that approach. How do they define what great content is? The bots can’t read so how do they know one site has better content than another? It’s impossible for them to do this and they, and everyone else, knows it so why are they saying this in the first place? All they can do is tell whether a site has unoriginal or spun articles (theoretically) but that’s a long way from judging, and this is the key word, whether a site’s content is good and/or better than some other site’s content. That’s the whole basis for ranking so how do they know who’s site should rank higher? The answer is that they don;t and this whole exercise is nothing but more of their BS. Rankings are still determined by links because links are the backbone of the algorithm. Without links the whole thing falls apart. Another case of the emperor having no clothes.

  • Mr Sun

    I had been heavily penalized by this update and think I discovered why, as I have now recovered 10 hours after deleting certain files from my server. Those files were from a link sharing system I considered using once, but actually never used. The link sharing system was called VoltRank. The files were vr(underscore)init(underscore)xxxxxx.php and vr(underscore)display(underscore)xxxxxx.php

  • http://www.amateur-sex-tv.com sabine


    panda is a horror trip, spam & seo, try to work with unique content, that`s a real chance to have access, nothing more


  • James

    There is now more spam on page 1 than there ever was. Negative seo providers and other search engines will be getting off on this update.

  • http://mobile-carwash-startup.com Robert

    The result I see:

    **old websites.
    **old information.

    For example, I was having trouble setting up file sharing on my network. The results I was getting were 2-4 years old.

    I want fresh, current answers!
    I want

  • http://www.creative-etc.com Michael

    The backlash this update has created is no real threat to Google & they know it. Simply put, how many of us (or Google users as a whole, rather) will actually change their homepage or search bar from Google to Bing (or duckduckgo, blekko, etc.)? Old habits are hard to break, and in this case, it’s my opinion Google is (literally) banking on that fact.

  • http://www.doorsecuritypro.com David

    You can tell Google what you think about this recent update here:


  • James

    Michael you might be right, now. But arrogance can be blinding, and no empire lasts forever. I wouldn’t be buying google shares with these current search results and penalties which inadvertently promote more webspam and negative seo than ever before.

  • http://www.ryanhogan.com Ryan

    The new results suck. Spam all over the place. Some of my original content sites that have been in the top 3 or on page 1 for their keywords for years, have moved dramatically off page and replaced by unrelated junk.
    No doubt, Adwords revenue will increase sharply now that desperate webmasters and business that were destroyed by this “improvement” will scramble to regain at least some of their lost traffic.

  • Ellen

    ebates ranked higher? I’m sure Google Affiliate Network promoters are thrilled with that one.

    Go freakin’ figure, I can’t anymore. Baby out with the bathwater, as usual.

  • http://www.computerhowtoguide.com Computer How To Guide

    Horrible week for my site. First some of my pages are gone in SERP, next my homepage was gone missing too. Although all my pages came back now, but my traffic is 50% less than usual.


  • http://www.simple-elegant-websites.com/ How do I get my site on Google page 1

    I have learnt a lot since following websites like Web Pro News, and now I have got my daughter’s website on page 1 of Google for search phrases such as ‘architect plans norwich’ architect norwich’ ‘interior design norwich’ and a few others, however no 1 for all the above is a site which has very little content, all flash, no blog, but a lot of articles and pics of it’s past projects on a lot of other websites.

    I know from my own search experience, which is probably similar to other peoples, is that I am looking for is fast loading, 4 to 1 content / adverts, or better still no adverts, but hey, how else is Google going to make billions of profits, no flashing signs telling me that I have won one million something, interesting original design, ease of navigation, good grammar and use of language, no keyword stuffing, etc etc, but having said that, I will put up with almost exactly the opposite when using gutenberg because ,they have the most of what I want and it’s free !

    Personally I think a lot of what Google has done recently with Panda has been very welcome from the end user’s point of view, and if those lovely people who run Google push my daughter’s website up to no. 1 after reading this, my gratitude will know no bounds and I will immediately put them on my Christmas card list !

  • http://orlandogolflessons.com Sean P. Adley

    Well doesn’t everyone want to be on the first three pages these days!! It’s interesting to watch everything change. I’m still trying to redirect traffic back to my site: http://orlandogolflessons.com after being knocked off by others SEO tactics.

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

    I’m trying an experiment with a few pages not having any keywords and will compare their performance to other pages on my site in a couple of weeks.

  • Milya

    Lost all my work. I’m speechless. I see others complaining that they paid $5 – $10 an article and were penalized. The company I work for pays up to $600 a piece in some cases. Some of our websites had enough influence to make a difference and improve the industries we were in. I don’t want to see another Google logo…

  • http://www.davidwegwartphotography.com David

    I have noted the changes and frankly, they stink. Poor job Google.

    I had a site that was a group effort and we all contributed to it. It just dropped from P1, #4 to no longer listed. That was clearly not a spam site and only had quality content that was helpful to people searching for our specialty.

  • http://www.macgizmoguy.com Russell Baer

    Hah! Have you seen Google SERPS for ‘Google Webspam Update’ today: Our very own Blog Author Chris Crum shows up in my browser no less than *THREE TIMES IN A ROW* on Page 1 for a search on this! Complete with Google+ Profile Photo and link! THREE TIMES!

    Chris – If I were you I’d exploit this: Do 7 more ‘Google Penguin/Webspam Update’ targeted posts in the next 24 hours and you might be able to nab *ALL* TOP 10 SERP POSITIONS!

  • http://www.ibacklinkpro.com Alexander C.

    It reminds me of communism in USSR – every one must be the same. Well that did not work. Because people who were working with chickens their whole life or did not work at all cannot manage the country.

    Same here people that did little or no SEO for their website most likely do not care about their websites. If someone does not care about his site how can he have a quality website?

  • http://cebuanddavao.com Nonoy

    Whew. With this and all of the comments I read, I don’t know what and who to believe anymore when it comes to SEO.

  • Adrian Barrett

    Nice to see 1-2 page sites ranking for insurance words. Not to mention my 500 page originally written site with pictures and the works is now getting 1 visitor a day. White hat my ass. The SERPS are filled with bullsh*t from page 1.

    Google should partner with the government. They are no different.

  • http://www.skinnbeautycare.com hari om agrawal

    It appears that finally now Google is rewarding the site which are content based. I have never done any SEO work for my site but constantly added new pages with contents during the last two years. I never encouraged back links or reciprocal links from other sites to my site. For the last few days I find that traffic from Google search results has increased many fold. At last good job done by Google.

  • http://www.desreslondon.co.uk/ Lisa


    What i would like to know is how can an SEO come out of this huge impact? What are the different ways to rank better?
    Is link building dead?
    How much importance should be given to On page and Off page?
    Is off page dead or on page dead?
    Does exact match domains work?
    What will be the future of SEO?

    Need Answers

  • hari om agrawal

    Now finally Google is rewarding content based site. I do not use Google ad-word nor Google ad-sense, only adding contents for the last more than two years. I never encouraged back links or reciprocal link nor got done SEO work for my site. Many websites are using my contents/articles on their website without placing workable links from their sites to my website even than traffic from Google search result have increased many fold to my website during the last few days. Good job done by Google.

  • jim

    will there be any change in this update. Or google will continue with this update?

    My website was ranking on the first page few keywords. Now it is nowhere on the search results. The website ranking on the top now has no information on the page.

    What kind of update is this? Google update is now showing spam websites at the top.

  • http://www.vareart.com Edmund

    Today’s Google has forgotten the webmasters who had been raising them up. Now, in order to appear on the front page of Google, it is much more difficult than a few years ago.

  • http://www.fuss3printersupplies.co.uk Dave Whelan

    Hi Our rankings were hit on Nov 18 2011. We run an E-commerce site selling printer cartridges. Now how do you write compelling and interesting articles or web content about a HP black toner cartridge. Companies do try, but all this amounts to is keyword stuffing. You can’t really Facebook LIKE a printer cartridge or add to your G+ circles can you. What about a Facebook page for printer cartridges, no I don’t think so. If you do you need to get out more and start living. All we offer is great prices and next day free delivery. So how can Google understand that.
    My moan now:
    Also we have to compete with all the stolen printer supplies on Ebay. I know of Canon service engineers making over a £1000 a month by just over ordering consumables for contract customers and then selling them on Ebay. They even leave on the Company Bar code on the items that are stolen. Our only option is Google Ad Words. Is that not what all the Google updates are about.

  • http://bestwebsitename.com Glenn Madden

    The update killed our simple website http://pumpkinbed.com
    The Keyword and our trademark Pumpkin Bed is in the address.
    There is little direct competition for use of the phrase Pumpkin Bed.

    After the last update we are not coming up anymore.

    We are still number one on Yahoo and Bing.

    But Google seems to think that fishing deep for other web pages somewhat related is more important than our main index page.

    In a search for Pumpkin Bed all the results come up with internal web pages from blogs and other related websites.

  • http://www.website-consultancy.com/ Website Consultancy

    Feel a little sorry for ‘aboutus.org’ as I feel they are pretty genuine about what they’re doing. But regarding any website that ‘once’ had a dodgy SEO appointed – unfortunately their work has come back to bite the site.

  • Retheesh

    One of my friend’s website is also affected by this google update. I think it had happened because of the “over optimization”. He has optimized each and every page on the website. His website is related with India tourism and its url is http://www.indiatourism.travel/ . Earlier, its position in SERP was on first page and now it goes to 15th page. A great decline!!! I also couldn’t predict what will happen next…Whether the website position comes back to its previous state in SERP. Eventhough it is a good information portal, google affects its listings. I ‘m now really confused about helping my friend. Could you please suggest a good way???

  • http://www.twitter.com/cutey Ashley, cutey

    The problem is, they’ve removed obvious spam, but left paid for links alone. So it’s just increased how effective paid links are.

  • http://www.funnywallphotos.com RoseGUst

    Their is no use for panda update!!!

    It just waste all the people who spent their money to get ranked their website and all of the ranked disappeared with a blurred explanation of google why they do this!!!

  • http://www.cityofshamballa.net Chris

    Check the domain names, if they match the key words, the chance of ranking is higher

  • http://www.pingoo.tk ihsan cahyo


  • http://waterbutts cheryl

    Our company sell rely mainly on internet sales and now our website has vanished when it was on the front page. Many people are complaining. Google will probably change its rules again soon! We are using Yahoo and MSN

  • http://www.roibot.co.uk AlanF

    I cried with laughter at the number one (UK) ‘make money online’ site. An empty wordpress site, now with a few hilarious comments.

    I though that my SEO skills had come to fruition when my site hit mid page 1 last weekend on a very competitive keyword (but now just dropped to top of page 2). But now I realise that it was because of my lack of SEO skills!!!

  • Lena

    I think Google’s new search algorithms skew information, particularly towards blogs and reviews. What if you’re not interested in a blog or review? For example, last week I was searching for “discount makeup”. I had something in mind I wanted to purchase as a present. I tried different search terms, and page after page, I kept on getting makeup review pages, blogs about makeup, you tube makeup review, and anything and everything that had to do with customers and beauty guru’s advice on makeup. And no shopping. Even when I put in “discount makeup shopping” still no stores.
    It was frustrating! If I wanted advice or reviews, I would have said “makeup reviews” but that was what I wanted.
    So I went to Yahoo search, tried the same search, and got a bunch of discount makeup websites on all 3 pages of search. Found an awesome brand and made my purchase.

  • Stevenson

    *Unemployment rates are going to rise!

    *More small to medium business temporary getting tons of search expand thinking they can hold the traffic and end up in the trap.

    *More expensive Adwords keywords in the future and makes it not worth to advertise on Google.

    *Bad search results from Google. It i all about paying. Forget about SEO, put your hard earn money in PPC.

    Really depressed!

  • Ana

    I have a computer for sale on my website and I was on the 1st page for this particular product. After Panda update,for this computer (and keyword), google show some result on the 1st page and starting from 2nd one, websites listing with absolutely not related search and keywords (and they don’t sell this computer). My website on a page 7. HOW IT CAN benefit a customer, who is looking for this computer?
    It’s been crazy, because my second website don’t have a 10% of content and articles like this one, getting now more visitors, than first one. I don’t think Google did a good job yeat.

  • http://www.johnbeagle.com John Beagle

    Google is like a bull in a china shop. No matter how careful it is something is bound to get damaged.

  • John

    Dear Google, please kill your penguin update! Sign the petition here:

  • http://www.imoneytize.com Fatih Bulut

    Its been nearly a month since i first noticed my site jumped to 2 from page 3 for the keyword “make money online”. I sensed something was going on but i was unsure that someone was again playing with google’s algorithm. So this update, i guess, began a month ago. Then i did some more seo and now my site is on page 1 with major keywords and some relevant others. I ll expose soon what google thrives on. My other sites too been affected in a positive way.

  • http://www.top-travel-tips.com Birgir Gislason

    Why does Google always over engineer and complicate things?

    1. If you want to get rid of webscams, i.e. sites linking to you which looks like scam (multiple links from the same domain to a single page on your site). Why not give Webmasters the option within Google Webmaster of simply identifying those sites which YOU believe are not real sites? Simple and effective way of identifying scam sites!

    1.a Why use links pointing to a site as a criteria of quality content? If you remove that feature, then you get rid of webscams altogether, right!

    2. Google Panda is all about quality content! But what is the criteria?
    Again, why not give webmasters the option of uploading pages to a Google Panda Verifier which would give you feedback on whether the page is rubbish, poor, average, above average, or excellent? That would at least give you the chance of improving the content in line with Google’s criteria, if you want to meet their criteria.

    Just two simple options for solving Matt’s engineering challenges of making algorithms to figure out the world.

    But if you implement these sort of simple solutions, you might be out of work?


  • JohnnyAppleSeed

    I think it’s time for everyone to start thinking of using another search engine that really is fair. Google got to where it is toay becasue of us tech folks telling all our friends how good they were.
    So let’s just do the opposite. It’s sad that Google is simply penalizing many webmasters and small mom and pops in favor of the big brands. We need to get the message out to Everyone that Google simply sucks now. Alternatives?
    Lets just get rid of Google and promote other engines that don’t have skewed results. Let’s start NOW!

  • http://www.mobileprogramming.com jimmy parker

    Google penguin Update…. really affected lot of good sites too…without giving any warning or message to webmasters.Because of this lot of SEO Experts will lose their projects and rankings.

    This is really big update for all the webmasters.I am running small website which is on first page and now lost its rankings in SERP’s


  • http://www.glenwoodfin.com/ Glen Woodfin

    The biggest flaw I see in the Penguin Update is that one can now direct link spam to their competitors and destroy their ranking even though the competitor has not done anything against Google’s policies.


  • http://www.convurgency.com Seo Toronto

    Google claimed that they are pushing sites which contain great content but you can see there are lots of contradiction, spam sites are on top searches.

  • http://onlinemarketingcenter.com Michael Peterson

    If you believe that a financial article from 2005 written by a reporter at Smart Money is more relevant than an entire web site devoted to the same topic with 100% current information…. then Google did a great job! In many cases it’s welcome back to the middle of the last decade!

  • http://tudordavies.wordpress.com Tudor Davies

    SEO still matters and always will but I think it needs a new definition. It’s no longer tips and tricks to cheat your way to the top of Google, instead it should be a “philosophy” that makes us analyse the reason why we are doing something. If we are doing something for Google then we need to stop but if we are writing for the user then what’s the problem with that?

  • http://www.manwithvan.pro Man With Van

    Ok ok…. i think i am understanding this a little bit. I need a bit more research to fully understand it. My website just vanished from search result for a very highly competitive keyword. My domain name does not have that keyword at all, but i managed to bring it to first page via link exchange – reciprocal link exchange. Now suddenly it is no where to be found. site is driver with van dot com an d key word was London Removals :(

    Now anyone can suggest w hat exactly i need to do. the site is on PR2 for the last 6 – 7 months and it just dissappeard for the major keyword :(

  • Geoff

    I have 121 web sites and some of them have been wiped out because they had a lot of short faq pages and people in yahoo answers used them a lot in support of their answers. As a result Google penalised the out of existence and I had no control over it.

    Google has stuffed up big time. There are lots of innocents and I have shut down my Google account and I am now going to support Bing.

    The right way to have done that would have to just not counted the links and then no one could have been hurt on this.

    So the message is, do not make a site that has pages that people in yahoo answers will want to link to. These pages of mine were excellent and loved and provided Google with good content.

    They destroyed it!

    The other thing I found from this. If you want to knock someone out of Google, go to yahoo answers and leave a load of links to the same site each day. Google will see this as web spam and that site will be history.

    Well done Google. Once this gets out, the public can control your rankings. This is the worst stuff up Google has ever made. You have hurt a lot of good people!

    Put it to the test if you don’t beleive me people.

  • http://Bayrvpark.com Frank

    If you look at the results of some of the RV Park search results, you will see that review sites and other topic sites that are not “RV Parks” come up before any rv park so I think that some search results are not improving. I think google should be able to understand the difference between RV Parts, RV Reviews, RV Supplies, and RV Parks.
    An example search, Texas City RV Park, has 2 sites that do not have the keysword in its content and they are not “parks” but are industry related. The search, Kemah Campgrounds, has two Parks in the Kemah area, then two sites that are industry related, next comes my site which has Kemah Campgrounds in the content. The first two results are good but I think my site is more relevant than the second two results. Thats my opinion.

  • Joan Smith

    This update is the WORST EVER! Small business that rely on their web presence have been wiped out! Google says they are worried about black hat sites, I’m sure google is worried about their pockets! Shitty results mean more adwords payments for them. I’m changing to bing! Google sucks.

  • Andy Robbins



  • Robert Andrews

    Terrible Search Results! Great sites with good content have disappeared altogether:( People are out of business OVERNIGHT and they did absolutely nothing wrong whatsoever. I’m switching to BING!

  • http://www.smstroop.com/ zain saleem

    new panda update dropped my daily traffic from 2500 to 1000 only, and it has been decreasing day by day, i m enable to understand,all of my posts are self written, and users liked it very much, but panda did’nt like my website, and dropped it down, i request to google officials to take action against this damned software update,thnx

  • http://Www.writingfortheweb.co.uk Malcolm Davison

    It’s clear that in future, an SEO agency’s priority must be to create quality content and keep it regularly updated. This is now more important than ‘white hat’ changes. But better content needs a completely different skillset. Is the SEO industry taking reskilling seriously? At writingfortheweb.co.uk we see no sign of it yet.

  • http://www.tripleoption.com Ryan

    I agree with most of you, their business model and the standards they pushed on the world, are slipping away. I have seen hundreds of sites slip and have clients asking what’s going on, and we use their standards to the T. $600 stock?

  • http://woodprojectplans.be2do.net ozra

    Google just breaks my heart; I am a fairly new IMer and finally got 2 sites ranking on page one (different niches). Tons of hard work, last of my money – (age 62, no job etc) just to see my sites disappeared.

    All original content, totally relevant to subjects.

    As has been stated, it seems that the little guy is once more to be trampled – by a company that is where they are because of the little guy!

    It sucks really big time.

  • Carl

    Google search results are a joke. All I find on the first page is irrelevant. They are not indexing as many web sites either as I searched in quotes for a phrase used in an article on a popular website and it turned up no results. Went to the site and found the article and phrase. The old Google would have indexed all content from that SE friendly site. I’m using Bing more often for search. I love their image search too.

    I think Google is on its way out. Hope Facebook start their own search engine.

  • http://www.setxwebdev.com/ SETX WebDev

    I can’t help but feel that Google brought a lot of this on to themselves. They invented Page Rank, and it was gamed from the very beginning.

    Here we are, after 10 years of being encouraged to build links (albeit ever so naturally) we find Google (seemingly) pulling the old proverbial plug on it all.

    Secondly .. this whole business of people being totally dependent on Google for their payday is a fail. No one in their right mind, in the business sense would ever find themselves relying totally on just one venue for their source of income.

    Matt Cutts may think that SEO doesn’t matter by way of his .. (or even no search engine optimization at all).. comment.

    But SEO still matters .. it might even matter more now than it ever did before all of this came to a head.

  • http://www.erdent.com erdent

    The fact is, Google force us to provide fresh and original content for our visitor. When you give your visitors what they need, you will win SERP in google. CMIIW

  • http://lovezack.blogspot.com Zeke

    I guess this proves that quality content should be emphasized over solely tricks learned from white hat SEO. My blog http://lovezack.blogspot.com uses some SEO, but I really focus on offering top-notch entertainment content.

    Thanks for the tips.

  • http://www.internetingeniousmarketing.com NIck

    A lot of things happened the last years, assuming for the best of the web. Definitely a lot of changes happened and of course a lot of years good work have been vaporized just in a sec.I have seen websites irrelevant with the search subject to gain the first position.The most obvious I can understand is that these sites are good clients in Ad-words.
    We will see more in the future like these and we have to be prepared or to thing more Bi-n-g

  • http://www.jahaniha.com shahram

    Please help me
    Site has greatly reduced
    The reason is that I bought back link
    But what I put out my site
    Can someone tell me what to do?
    website : http://www.jahaniha.com
    email : jahaniha.com@gmail.com

  • http://www.FirstPageOf-Google.com Wolfgang

    You know, it’s difficult to know what to think, I’m hanging back a bit to see what others think, and I’ve not done any back-linking since all this started, personally my own site have not been hit,I shall wait to see what happens.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003405955937 David

    It’s actually a great idea. Today, the only firms that can afrfod to get the best advice on SEO and Social Media are the larger corporations who are now beginning to take over a lot of the SERP’s. I’ve seen large corporations begin to require employees to connect to a Facebook Fan page or submit comments to blogs etc which makes it very difficult for the small company to be heard. Transparency will allow the smaller players to have a voice in a space that was created for them.

  • http://www.HawaiiCarRentals.net Stephen Parquet

    Google search results are now WAY WORSE. When you look for “car rentals,” for example, I have no problem with a company like Expedia having the top position, but EVERY position (20) for two whole pages is rediculous!

  • http://www.whitehatseoteam.com/ Katheryn@ white hat seo

    Today Google panda plays a vital role for controlling the spam. It’s really helpful for our seo service. Because every time our comments or any activities are getting spam, it’s create a negative impression to our buyer. So panda help us to rescue from that’s kind of misery.