What If The Google Penguin Update Inadvertently Killed The Web As We Know It?

    May 26, 2012
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Note: Perhaps the headline of this article is a little sensational, but don’t overlook the “what if” part. I’m not suggesting Google has some plot to kill the web. However, many businesses rely on Google and people are freaking out about backlinks. Some are going so far as to threaten legal action if links are not removed. Links. If such legal action ever resulted in the outlawing of links in any capacity, the web as we know it could be put into great jeopardy. People would be afraid to link. I don’t think Google intends for anything like that to happen, but people don’t always respond to things in the most rational of ways. I don’t believe we will see links outlawed, or that the Penguin update will kill the web. However, reactions to Google penalties are leading to some pretty strong actions from some.

Google has said on multiple occasions that it thinks the Penguin update has been a success. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments.

PageRank And The Web

WWW, as you may know, stands for World Wide Web. It’s a web because it it’s connected by links. Sites all over the web link to one another, creating a path for users to click from page to the next. Often those pages are to different sites. This is the way it has worked for years. Just think what it would be like if sites couldn’t freely link to one another. The web would be broken, and users would suffer.

When Google launched with its PageRank algorithm, it was a revolution in search. It seemed to be a better way of doing search. It gave a rhyme and reason to the ranking of search results. Today, Google uses over 200 signals to rank its search results, which are becoming more personalized than ever before. PageRank still matters, but it’s far from the only thing that matters.

Yet, it is PageRank that has given links on the web so much power to influence the visibility of web content. Now that just about everyone is on the web, everyone is fighting to have their content seen. Once upon a time, you would have thought: the more links the better. More links can only lead to more chances people will see your content. Now, somewhat ironically, people are finding that that the links they have out there are making their content less visible. In some cases, they’re making it practically non-existent in Google, or at least so buried, it might as well be non-existent.

Freak Out Time?

Google’s Penguin update has been a major wake up call to webmasters about certain kinds of linking practices. The update was designed to target sites violating Google’s quality guidelines. Among those guidelines are: “Don’t participate in link schemes” and “Avoid hidden text or hidden links.”

Some of Google’s guidelines are obvious – avoid obviously unethical practices. But in the link schemes department, things can get a little blurry. Just ask WPMU.org, which got hit by Penguin over a few questionable links (interestingly enough, after seemingly benefiting from Google’s Panda update, designed to reward higher quality sites).

A lot of webmasters have taken to the forums and blogs to complain about the Penguin update, but Google has, on more than on occasion, deemed the update a success. We’ll also be seeing it come back around every so often, much like its Panda predecessor.

Even before Penguin, Google was sending out tons of messages to webmasters alerting them of questionable links. All of this has gotten webmasters in to a frenzy to clean-up their link profiles, and reduce the number of links Google considers to be of poor quality, in hopes that their content can find its way back into Google search visibility.

Legal Action Over Links?

Some webmasters have even gone so far as to threaten legal action over sites that are linking to them. We referenced this in another article after Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable mentioned that this was happening. Now, Greg Finn at Search Engine Land has pointed to a specific example where PSKL got a DMCA take down notice from LifeShield, after writing a positive review.

Now, to be clear, this DMCA takedown notice is not in reference to any content theft or content use. It’s about links. It threatens legal action. It says:

I request you to remove from following website (pskl.us)
all links to www.lifeshield.com website as soon as possible.
In order to find the links please do the following:
1) If this is an online website directory, use directory’s search system to find “LifeShield” links.
2) If there are hidden links in the source code of website, open website’s main page and view its source code. Search for “lifeshield.com” in the source code and you will see hidden links.

It also says:

LifeShield, Inc will be perusing legal action if the webmaster does not remove the referenced link within 48 hours.

Jeremy at PSKL actually shares the entire conversation around the matter, which did include an apology, indicating that PSKL shouldn’t have been on the list of sites that received a notice. Jeremy, however, took issue that there was a list of sites getting such notices. Throughout the conversation, it is revealed that LifeShield had a site “cloak lifeshield and generate over 700K back links” without LifeShield’s knowledge, and that “Google stepped in and slapped” them with a penalty, which led to layoffs at the company.

Jeremy responded with, “So you’re saying that somebody went out and bought 700K back links for you, knowing that it would get you penalized by Google? So does that mean you had (Company name) send out 700K DMCA notices? Talk about throwing good money after bad. Report the linkspam to the spam team at Google, then spend that money on an SEO expert rather than on trying to bully people with intimidation.”

The response was actually longer than that, and included the metaphor of putting out a house fire with manure, but that was the main gist.

I suggest reading Jeremy’s entire post. It’s pretty interesting.

Is This Where The Web Should Go?

He does make another important point in this: A party creating large quantities of backlinks to a site in order to generate SEO (or, in this case, destroy SEO) is unethical. It is not illegal.

While many may not have a problem with such practices becoming illegal, it’s the idea that the law could intervene with linking in any form that could lead to greater problems. Just consider all fo the gray area there already is in fair use law. There will always be different interpretations, and that can get dangerous.

For the record (granted, I’m no lawyer), I wouldn’t expect any legal action, such as that threatened in LifeShield’s DMCA notice to hold much water in a court of law. Finn also points to two cases (Ford Motor Company v. 2600 Enterprises) and (Ticketmaster Corp. v. Tickets.com, Inc.), where the legality of linking prevailed.

But even if things like this have to go to court, it’s going to be a major inconvenience, and legal fees will have to be paid. If sites practicing legitimate, ethical linking habits get caught up in this, where will that leave the web?

Is this what linking on the World Wide Web will become? Will you have to worry about getting sued because you linked to a site, and that site may or may not find your site to be a strong enough site to desire a link from? Could you get sued because your page didn’t have a high enough PageRank, and not enough link juice to help the site you’re linking to in its search engine visibility?

LifeShield seems to be targeting some very specific webspam, but sending out notices to a whole list of sites. It’s likely that LifeShield isn’t the only company panicing and resorting to such action. It’s unfortunate, for the company if some negative SEO (it’s unclear if this was from a competitor) was able to have such an impact on its business, as Jeremy suggests, this may not be the best way of trying to resolve the issue.

Let’s Give Google Some Credit.

You can point to Google’s guidelines and its algorithm updates, which clearly do cause some to think this way, but just the same, Google can’t be held entirely to blame for this kind of mentality either. The company has said in the past that people shouldn’t obsess with PageRank, and that it uses over 200 signals to rank content. PageRank is not the only thing that matters. In fact, the company puts out huge lists of signal changes every month.

It shows the power over society that Google really holds though. It shows how much businesses rely on Google search that they will go so far as to threaten sites that are simply linking to them with legal action.

Should such legal action ever lead to a victory in court, that could mean very bad news for the Web as we know it, and people could be afraid to link. I would imagine that would spawn more issues of sites not getting the credit (and possible referral traffic) they deserve.

Do you think Google’s guidelines and penalties can have an influence on the law? Now that would be power, and made even more ironic still, by the fact that Google is constantly under scrutiny of its own.

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Image: Batman Returns (Warner Bros.)

  • Lester

    Google has been allowed to influence websites for far too long. While it is true that people are allowing themselves to be influenced by Google’s policies, the fact remains that they are doing so out of concern over what the mighty Goog could do to their online businesses by de-indexing their sites. People should be allowed to earn some money by selling some links after all Google makes a great deal of money by selling links. Sure the buying and selling of links interferes with their algorithms but that is their problem and they shouldn’t be putting their problems on to the rest of us, they should fix them for themselves. Bottom line here is that people gave Google the power they abuse and the people can and should take that power away simply by using other search engines. If that doesn’t work then constantly contact your members of government at every level to force them to do something about Google and their greedy ways.

  • http://powerofattorneyform.com poa forms

    I think google is trying to get webmasters to focus 90% of their time on on-site focus for webmasters rather than 90% on off-site and getting anchor text links

    • Lester

      Sure – that may be true but really should Google be trying to influence webmasters to do anything to their sites as they do not like it when we do things to influence theirs. Clearly another case of “do what we say and not what we do”. I will give Google credit for one thing though; at least they stopped lying to us about “doing no evil”.

    • Michael

      I’m inclined to disagree. If that were the case they would have rolled out the Knowledge Graph updates to AdWords as well and told webmasters to stop worrying about keywords and focus on content to improve their Quality Score. The fact this update was rolled out to organic search only, along with other changes over the last year like the obfuscation of the referring keyword from logged in Google users leads me to believe this is a shot across the bow of organic search by Google.

  • http://www.eplatformmarketing.com Jim Hobson

    Let me first say that (knock on wood) our clients have not been harmed by Penguin.

    To me, it seems to be unearned punishment for the multitude of business owners who have hired internet marketing people, and had no specific knowledge of what work was being done. The business owners paid a third party and did not think about it any further than watching their rankings. Now, business owners are being judged harshly when they are effectively innocent. I have no problem with algo updates, but to assess punitive measures seems a bit much.

    And it may put a lot of people in India and the Phillipines out of work . . . I’m just sayin’

  • http://www.jenx67.com jenX67

    I’ve written a post about this, too. How Google Penguin ate me like a Krill! http://www.jenx67.com/2012/05/how-googles-penguin-update-had-me-like.html I also included some information about the timing of this update with Blogger rolling out new search preferences.

  • Todd

    Listen, Google is a bit out of control. Someone needs to knock them off of their high horse. These updates are supposed to bring BETTER search results but they have done NOTHING but create a LOT of bad results.

    I do professional SEO. I have always recommended to all my clients to have good content, and we do. Some of our sites have been hit hard. These sites that have been hit hard have MUCH better content than many sites now ranking well above us. Some of the keyword phrases we monitor are now loaded with really bad sites. It should be embarrassing for Google.

    They made their bed by ranking sites through links (mostly) and now they overreact and penalize GOOD sites. It is amazing! I sincerely hope someone powerful takes Google to court and brings this far too powerful company to their knees.

    For them to say they want good content and then actually penalize so many sites that have great content is a fiasco. The problem is that the general public only really knows the name Google and how to do basic searches. They do not realize that Google basically has to answer to no one, so they can do what they want even though their search results now are a total joke.

    • http://www.jenx67.com jenX67

      I think you’ve stated the case eloquently, and you’re the first person I’ve read who said Google should be embarrassed. Honestly, the results I was getting in just every day, common research like “CDC Statistics for Teen Suicide,” were so ridiculous, I was like UNBELIEVABLE. Then my husband who is an AUDITOR and is never on the Internet came home and said, “Google is messed up. I can’t find anything anymore.” When an auditor who is buried in numbers all day long notices Google has gone wonky, we’re in trouble. I have known that government sites in particular now rank very low. This is just shocking. They provide so much reliable data, and yet I have to search forever just to find what I’m looking for. What’s really scary is we all began to THINK like Google. And, we intuitively knew how to submit search strings to find what we were looking for. Those days are gone – at least for now.

  • https://plus.google.com/117895169424507660944 STR82U

    I’m only slightly fuzzy on this but have to say I’m really happy with the results where backlinks are being discredited. We don’t buy links and finding decent, relevant link partners in our niche is hard to come by. In a case where Joe Smuck goes and scrapes a site’s content then buys a bunch of backlinks, his site would suddenly become the new authority with no effort. In the case of corporate sites that tried using the easy method of buying reputation through backlinks, they should have been paying to create fresh content about a subject in general rather than aggregating it. Sounds like I’m talking about what’s fair and what’s not, and to a degree I am.

  • http://www.a1webstats.com Andy

    Whatever ‘improvements’ Google bring in, there is (in my view) still a fundamental flaw in the concept of ‘links’ being used as a measure of a website.

    ‘Links’ don’t really say anything about the quality of the product/service being offered. ‘Links’ are easily gamed.

    If Company A provides a better service/product than Company B (who provide a poor service/product), but Company B are much ‘better’ at SEO (including link building), then is it ‘right’ that search engines will rank Company B higher? So, Company B get more business and the really good guys (Company A) aren’t in a position to be wowing clients/customers with what they do. I fail to see the benefits of a search engine giving prominence to businesses just because they’re better at SEO.

    Of course, I don’t have the answers to all this but it does seem mad that REAL ‘quality’ doesn’t come into the equation of search engine results.

    • http://www.sedonaindianjewelry.com matt leo

      You are right on… my photos get copied, my text gets copied, even my photo background and web colors get copied. I’ve been on the web since 1997 and involved in this for 35 years. I’m lost in a sea of intellectual and copyright theft of my own work. It appears everywhere. Now, Google dropped my rankings dropped from page one to “I give up looking”. Come on Goggle, how about a break!!

      • http://www.mattbeswick.co.uk/ Matt Beswick

        I’m not sure how other people using your images is Google’s fault? Yes, it’s really annoying but there’s plenty you can do about it (a quick email saying “oy, eejit, that’s my image and you’re not allowed to use it” is usually enough).

        With regards to rankings, the focus is now on quality, relevancy, and freshness; just because your site’s been around since 1997 doesn’t give it the right to be at the top of the rankings. Spend some time tidying up your site, interacting with your industry, and creating some great new content.

        The site that appears top for ‘turquoise jewelry’ (http://www.durangosilver.com/) have a reasonably nice looking site, and a history of the product on their homepage. They’ve also got a load of links into their site (some of them good, others not so good) and are fairly active on social media. They’re not doing anything outstanding though – it wouldn’t take much for you to do a bit of a redesign and spend some time building links :)

        – Matt

    • Seo Guy

      If they are better, they probably earn more money or at least they have the potential…so they are supposed to be able to hire a SEO guy, a better one than the competence of course. This generate jobs and quality structured websites (always having in mind white hat seo).

      So yes, if company A, even being better than B…don’t hire a SEO, they deserve to be under company B in search results.

      Google give much importance to brands in the last update…even pages that have no content, not updated…but just because the brand they rank higher. We should penalize Google for overstupidity and arrogance.

      • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

        People likely to hire a ‘SEO guy’ likely fell for the hype that there is anything magical about providing quality content.

        As much as the SEO ‘industry’ would like everyone to think it’s rocket science, it really isn’t.

        From the spam I and my company get from ‘SEO Experts’, most claiming to be a CEO of this or that company, offering to do a free review of a site they ‘liked the looks of but thought they could help improve’, one is more likely to get their site tanked than improved.

        A day spent on Google’s Webmaster forum is more likely to produce useful results than hiring an ‘SEO expert’.

    • http://gocabrera.com Adrian

      My sentiments exactly and the same applies to advertisers. Just because they have a big budget and can get on page 1 at the top as an advertiser does not make them the best.

  • http://www.simplyclicks.com David Burdon

    I find it ironic that many of the same companies that were selling the low quality linking schemes that provoked the Penguin update are now out there selling Penguin remedial schemes. Essentially its not a question of over-optimisation, just an issue of poor optimisation. In the end an SEO programme built entirely around poor quality links will eventually get found out.

    The firms that operate on the basis of wholesaling poor quality links know where to find them. I guess its a question of what goes around, comes around.

    • http://www.eplatformmarketing.com Jim Hobson

      I agree with your comments about the “switcharoo” from the spammy link builders. It’s almost like the sketchy “spyware” companies whose software cause false positives and then sell themselves as the solution.

      Business owners need to evaluate their SEO providers based on something more than a cheap price and slick sales pitch. Hopefully the sites of the black-hat SEO hacks will fall away, thereby disproving their claims of SEO competency.

  • Tren

    Wall street journal just wrote about penguin according to it penguin is a total success http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303505504577406751747002494.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLE_Video_second

  • http://www.webstatsart.com/blog webstatsart

    Penguin is fantastic because it increases the visitors of huge websites

  • http://www.iftekharahmed.com Iftekhar Ahmed

    I think it is better to have the trash out of the search engine results, with google penguin update I and other SEO’s are very much delighted because now only the true marketers are in competition.

    • http://borisbenz.com Boris Benz

      And this comes from the guy who is giving an outdated, anti-penguin advice on article publishing? You’ve got to be kidding… What’s your definition of a true marketer? A brain-dead parrot who knows how to type?

  • Thomas Brewer

    Google has opened a can of worms on the bad link good link thing. While it looks wonderful on paper there will be many unforeseen consequences. Your article says give Google some credit. My website took a small hit however I am still on page 1 for ranking in all terms. I do not agree with the magnitude of the algorithm change. I do not believe Google does either at this point. Look for an update soon!

  • http://www.zapwebs.com Charles

    It’s frustrating to see the continual changes by google and the gamers (those simply using spam tactics) whom jump all over the newest method to unfairly rank ahead of legitite businesses and sites that offer true value online.

    I don’t know how or when but I think it’s just a matter of time before a new breed of search engine(s) comes along and figures out a more legitamite way of ranking search results. A method that rewards sites of value to those searching and minimizes or eliminates the gamers.

    Yahoo got kicked to the curb by Google. It could happen again and I hope it does.

  • http://www.barplan.com Steve

    While this update did remove one spammy site from my niche, but it promoted dozens of thin content, ad ridden sites that are of no use to the user. After some investigation, I found that a few sites I never even heard of have tons of backlinks to my site. My site is under 100 pages but scraper sites like: askives.com, updowner.com, aolstalker.com and the like have over a thousand links each to my site. WTF am I supposed to do about that? and should we all be put out of business because of these thieves?
    I know of many legitimate business owners who will lose vital income and in many cases even their homes to Google’s latest slash & burn update. I’ve even heard of business owners committing suicide over their losses. So is this a good update? NO!
    Was it smart or well thought out? Hell NO!

    • http://www.tipsinablog.com Daniel

      Steve, I have those Updowner Links to my site, also….

      In fact according to my Google Webmaster tools, Updowner has the most links pointing to my site…

      Which really sucks, as I spend so much time visiting and commenting on quality sites, then have to see that site name(updowner) sitting on the top of my links profile…

      Just a quick note: Those Updowner links do not seem to appear in other link Analysis tools only Google Webmaster tools…Though, not too sure why…

      They are not the only one doing this, there are hundreds(probably thousands) of sites blasting these links all over the net…and scraping content….

      According to the Google help forums, we are advised to just ignore these links(including updowner and even much worse sites) and are told not to hit them(follow, etc)….

      Updowner and a few other sites, seem to be the main culprits of this current wave of mass link blasting…

  • http://www.neverpaintagain.co.uk Alex

    Some drunk webmasters in a bar after work………

    …….”So who is up for starting a new company, link bombing people, even using fake accounts on fivver, which results in peoples websites getting banned from google for un natural link building.

    We could charge a hundred bucks per billion spam links send out, all automated, and within weeks we would be millionaires!!!!!”…………

    That scenario, although i’m of course kidding, to highlight the point, is very real now.

    This is progress?

  • deathtoll

    I am wondering just how many people in the world depend on intangible services and have built their entire career based on providing services that depend on a damn search engine. The many billions of dollars wasted on trying to optimize search engine results, the promises of results with the very strong chance of failure. Every time I see an update about Google’s search engine I see the SEO people come out of the woodwork to defend something that shouldn’t even be in existence. SEO itself reminds me of the snake oil salesmen from the old days. Your career and well being should not depend on Google page ranks, and I have to ask the “SEO experts” what else are you doing for the company paying you lots of money to guarantee results on search engines? Do you inform them about advertising their URL elsewhere in real world applications, such as billboards and such? Do you even care once you have taken the money and tried your best then Google makes some changes and you have to charge them more money? Do search engine results really make or break a business? Does anyone remember the WWW before search engines… it was a very good convenience thing to begin with. Google did not get where they are today by allowing the kind of spam linking and irrelevant search results that other search engines encouraged. If you are going to get angry at Google, why not get angry at the people who place so much stock in Google results as well? And get angry at the heads of these companies and corporations who think their entire online business rests in the results of a simple Google search. Ask them what else they are doing to promote themselves online, but you may find yourself obsolete if you are focusing entirely on SEO.

  • John Melo

    Unfortunately, Google (more and more, with his algorithms updates) are going to get the title of “The companies killer”. It is a shame.

    And I do not understand, to grow a company you need friends and not a lot (what lot!) of enemies.
    If you think that with his updates he will be better to do searches, this is not true. To be better, you need semantic content analysis, and we will get this is more than 50 or 100 years.

    Until that, as any company in the world Google needs friends and not strong enemies.

    Or I am crazy?

  • Walt

    Hey, you guys know the rules Love it or Hate It.


  • http://www.wedgeim.com Wedge Internet Marketing

    Welcome to the new age of negative seo, for 20 i can have your site added to 3000 directories in an hour. I believe we should do this to all sites who threaten legal action against other site linking to them like the above example……seems like a good 20 dollars spent to me.

  • http://www.thecollectorshub.com The Collectors Hub

    Is Google actually penalizing sites for spam links or are they simply keeping those links out of the ranking equation? If a site’s ranking drops because it benefited from spam links, that’s a good thing. If it’s actually penalized beyond that, it’s going to encourage the misuse of take down notices.

    • http://www.mattbeswick.co.uk/ Matt Beswick

      For the most part, I believe it’s the latter. The sites that are most likely to get a penalty from this are those that only have obvious spam links and nothing else… but if that’s the case then chances are that you’ve been ‘evil’ and deserve to get smacked down.

      It just wouldn’t make sense to impose algorithmic penalties (and remember that penguin is an algorithm change, not a manual penalty) based on a few crappy links that anyone could’ve built. Google are a pain in the backside at times but they’re certainly not stupid.

  • http://www.ifa-orisha.com Jaap Verduijn

    I’m sick and tired of Google. Not that it personally matters to me because my website is on G’s first page for all keywords and key phrases that matter to those who are interested in my content (without any back links to speak of), but the whole concept of webmasters having to run pantingly behind a search engine appalls me. Remember years ago, when AltaVista was THE search engine? I always found what I wanted there, I’m serious: Google never meant an improvement in search for me. So let’s all go back to AltaVista, and let Google play its little games with itself only.

    • http://www.zycon.com/ Zycon

      @Jaap Verduijn – I definitely remember Altavista. In fact, when Google first came out, AV’s results still remained one of the best, if not the best. It’s too bad that AV is no longer a player nowadays since Google effectively stomped on them and squashed them. For 2012, though, a search engine like DuckDuckGo seems to have fairly decent results (much better than Google, IMO), but they’re just a small fry out of the whole meal.

  • http://www.turkeystylishlettings.co.uk Tim Smith

    Google Penguin is a major step backwards from Google.It has ruined my hard earned web traffic and now ignores most of my links. Unless things improve I will abandon my website as it is just not worth the time and effort spent just to please the big G only to find the ball game being changed yet again. BING RULES NOW!!!

    • deathtoll

      You will abandon your entire website because you can’t get results on Google? Where else do you advertise? If you are depending on search engine results to drive all traffic to your page, then you’re doing it wrong.

      On a lighter note, search engines in general have ruined the way people remember things. Nobody remembers anything if they can simply open Google or any other search engine and type what they are looking for. Even simple things like addresses and phone numbers. If anything people should be angry at Google for dumbing down society and making people think less. I like that comment about the mark of the beast, because its pretty much true. I will remain unmarked and let word of mouth and advertising my URL elsewhere drive my business. It will be a very chill day in Hell before I would attempt to pay for results on something that really has no bearing on anything else I do. However Google has other services that are much better than just the search engine. Internet advertising is dead too, with the advent of AdBlock + Chrome browser, don’t browse the internet without it now, and my experience is much more pleasurable than people I see who don’t use it.

  • thetruth

    1 word. Antitrust. Google is going to have to face this issue sooner than later and the penguin update, imo, has made an antitrust case vastly easier to build.

    also the latest serps quality has gone down so much I now use bing about 30% of the time.

  • http://www.kimoftheworld.com Kim Tyrone

    Chris this is another great content coming from you, and this is the exact sentiment of many SEOs and Internet Marketing professionals all over the world. Google has become so obsessed in “cleaning” and policing the Internet. It has has become desperate in preventing spam that it has forgotten the very foundations that gave the Internet its power – and profit to them.

  • Danny

    The current Google results may be deemed a “success” – but in reality, its MUCH worse.

    Sites that were sitting at #1 in the mid 2000s…and have done NOTHING to improve them since then (no additional updated content beyond an automated script to spin), are now sitting back at the top of the search results.

    And older 301 redirects are not working properly any more. You can even find examples of these old 301s, with the OLD URL showing up in the SERPs now. Before Penguin, the 301ed URLs didn’t show up. Now they do = 301s are not being treated like they should. (Spare me the “get the old links to point at the new domain” argument. When you have 600,000+ links going into an old site that you spent years creating – and you rebrand your company so that it is more customer friendly, there is no way to go by hand and get all of them pointed to the new site.)

    Heck…there are even old sites that have NO CONTENT whatsoever except for Meta tags, and an on page title – that are ranking in the top of the search results now.

    Old sites = win. No matter the customer experience.

    And fix 301 redirects NOW!

  • http://incomefromhometips.org bj @ Income From Home

    The results lately . . . SUCK. Forgive my french but there is no other word to describe it. I end up on page 3 of the serps to find anything relevant to what I’m looking for. And since one of my income streams is freelance writing and I’ve used google a LOT, that’s the kiss of death. I’ve actually resorted to using stinking BING. Sheesh . . .

  • http://www.rwrinnovations.com Ron Nixon

    Why does Amazon come up as #1 on almost every book search? Even when they don’t carry the book? Their page content above the fold is in no way unique and many times is copied word for word from the jacket of the book.

    I’ve been a strong supporter of Google since they started, but, they have changed and it is sad. I’ll start believing in Google again when they apply the same rules to the big corporations that they apply to the rest of us and I see Amazon removed from page 1 of organic search until they start adding unique content to their pages. (They will still be on page 1 since they spend millions of AdWords and other advertising.)

  • Jim S

    Google in my opinion has basically said we have been wrong for the past 12 or so years – here are the real results.

    Sure their are people that will try to game the system. But for everyone of those there are probably 10 or more that develop good content and work on their site, trying to make it valuable.

    Versus just slapping up a page in 20 minutes. Some of the results I have seen in several of my niches are a joke, not all of the results but how does a site that was Number 1 or 2 in Google for many years with thousands of pages of content get demoted to the bottom of the second page while sites that are either 1 or 2 pages of content or are mostly a page with some links to other sites rank ahead of it.

    If Google was producing these results back when they started they would not have become the top search engine they are today.

    Sometimes a company can get too smart for their own britches or is this really a revenue generating ploy. Top ranked websites in key niches were making a lot of money through search engine traffic. Could Google have said to themselves, “Let’s force these people to get that traffic by paying us for Adwords?” Makes you wonder!

    Will Google wait until they’ve increased their Adwords sales and then go back to reasonable results, thinking these people will continue to pay them for Adwords?

  • Andre

    I switched to Bing after this update, because I can not find what I need, all I see now, is a lot of really strange and irrelevant results, very bad websites ranking high. So I don’t understand what’s good in this update?

  • coyotech

    I’ve noticed in the past few months and especially the past few weeks, that Google search results have gotten pretty bad. I’ve been using Yahoo for search now, because I can actually find the information I’m looking for. Like it used to be with Google.

    If Penguin is called a big success, the goal wasn’t improving search results.

    • http://www.php-developer.org/ Codex Meridian

      Its simple. Just use Bing. Problem solved.

      • http://www.webmediatree.ca/ Max Dennis

        In google panda when someone who are in the high page rank it drops then who running ppc campaign and advertise more adds its also dropped then in penguin it said who do social media marketing then it better.

  • Guy

    Google has way too much market share and power. The results in Google since Penguine are terrible. The whole ethos behind Penguin was to apparently “level the playing field” . This has not happened as the website that has now taken first place in my niche should not be there, his backlink profile is obviously 70% paid homepage links from websites that were supposed to be wiped out by the update.
    I hope the “playing field” is leveled and that the other search engines get a fair share of the market after this screwup to make it far more healthy. Google is way to big for its boots and I hope this knocks them down a peg or two, I very much doubt it will be anytime soon without some major press, a few hundred thousand webmasters like myself having a moan will not encourage the average user to try a different search engine than Google. I use Bing not only because I am sick of Googles preaching but because the results are better. Come on Bing seize the moment, this is your best opportunity to take a bigger slice of the cake.

  • Kevin Knight

    I think Google have shot themselves in the foot, their high and mighty approach to customers and page ranking in their recent past has led to businesses investing more time and effort into promoting their sites through other means, social websites and the like, and looking to minimise their reliance in picking up customers via Google. We shall see.

  • http://lots0cash.com lots0

    Page and Brin have gone Mad with the power…

    They are like politicians, who are completely out of touch with the people that voted them in.

    Page and Brin want total control of the goo corporation, they are being sued by their own share holders…. because the goo two have gone totally bonkers with the power and money that was dumped in their laps.

  • http://www.discount-pool-supplies.com AJ

    Either Google has no clue as to what they are doing, or they are trying to extort more advertising dollars.

    I have always focused on content and relevance and played by the rules, never engaged in link spamming, and yet for the last few years have seen pretty sizable damage from Google’s updates. I have not focused much on link building, but then again the legitimate links I do have Google pays no attention to. Go figure.

    My bounce rate from Google is the highest ever – compared to any of the other sources. They are sending very poor traffic.

    Penguin and Panda to me are two unmitigated disasters and I see no evidence that they improved anything.

  • http://ww.charlesbarr.com Kevin Hutchins

    My company relies on he web we have gone from no 1 page 1, to Page 7 not in the first 100 on all of the important keyword ranking, it has taken us 4 years to build. How can I recover if I have no idea why?

  • http://Www.jasjotbains.com Jasjot

    Penguin update was a major fail. It has countered the aim it was launched for, and I don’t think the example you gave is the only one example of sites threatening legal action. If penguin is not rolled back,Google is surely going to lose its number one spot to bing or any other search engine. Rolling out an update with the aim of improving web results, and ending up doing the opposite is NOT SUCCESS MATT CUTTS !!

  • John

    Hi All, Since everyone is talking about google panda, i had a question.

    1) there is a company offering my company SEO services.
    How they have it is,

    a) they bought a about 20 domain names ( apart from the main one) and have created somewhat obscure one page websites ( they call them silos, i call it bullshit)

    How its structured, for each of the 20 domain names they have one page. Example: http://www.cosmeticliposuction.ca/

    click on the related articles, so articles “YES” – but different domains.

    My question specifically is,

    1) Is this legal (by google standards?)
    2) In our board meeting, i already explained this is bullshit, meaning we are married to the hip with them. for any benefits we get, we will have to pay for a lifetime, otherwise the day we cancel the contract and they take down those pages, then that’s it.

    What do you think? All opinions welcomed

  • Lou

    It is a real problem when 80%+ of your business comes from organic search in ONE search engine. Back in the day when there were more than a dozen search engines (remember Alta Vista, HotBot, Snap, Excite, etc.), no one gave a rats read end when one did a algo change.

  • http://www.orangechimp.com jeff

    google penguin is not a success. its googles failiure and this may be the start of downfall for google. Google needs to kill this update if they want to save themselves. the penguin update is simply favoring large corporations like amazon, walmart who are supporting google on this update by paying them millions. this makes google search a non organic and bias search. i have already switched to bing for most of my web searching because they are still going the natural way.

  • http://amazon.rivousel.co.uk/amazon/index.htm Damien Handslip

    I have several websites, this is the one least likely to be harmed.

    my main website has lost half of its visits overnight sinc Penguin descended.

    Reason? The site is a normal retail site, selling small diesel parts. A catalogue containg a table of parts images, descriptions, prices and a PayPal button to order the parts direct. In addition there is instructional material to help select the correct part for the car in question.

    I would have thought this site is useful, funcional and good looking all at once.

    There is no overblow marketing strategy involved. Surely if you are looking for bosch solenoid for your pump, this is where you would want to be?

  • http://www.top10googleresults.com Philip L. Franckel, Esq.

    I find it interesting that people will rush to threaten lawsuits. I also received one of these threats and refused to remove the link. I’m a litigation lawyer and don’t have to pay for legal fees. Unfortunately, others may be inappropriately bullied into removing links. I have now written two articles about this. See Remove My Links – The Penguins Are Coming! at http://www.top10googleresults.com/remove-my-links/ where I linked to this article!

  • http://search.engine-optimization.gr SEO Greece

    In my opinion it destroyed companies, professionals, small to middle sized websites and left untouched all of the outdated and never-promoted-before web sites.

    I used to be a fan of Google for almost 10 years but now i am an other disappointed “customer”. That is exactly what happens when you don’t have strong competition… I wish it could come a new search engine and change all these problems.

  • steve

    I consider it a total failure. I was first page, bounced to 3, 7 sites rank above me for a search query that has absolutly NO relevance to the query. Google is really starting to suck!

  • Spamexterminator

    The WWW isn’t in jeopardy only Google is in jeopardy. If they keep forcing their ideals onto the world they risk sending everyone to their competition Webmasters and Users alike.

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

    Things are going to end-up in court … the ambulance-chasing lawyers will be all over this.
    One problem that I do have with Google is stated in the article,
    “In fact, the company puts out huge lists of signal changes every month.”
    It sounds like Google is infested with “obsessive-compulsive” tweakers who are forever scrambling the parameters.
    Perhaps the original Yahoo had it right all along!

  • http://networkmarketingsa.info/ peter – network marketing blog


    1. I’m confused.

    Didn’t this “cleanup” happen a few years ago already?

    or was google just bluffing all the way?

    2. Now I know how to get rid of competitors…:) (just do a blast of spam comments through a proxy server, pointing to the website you want to take out…what was google thinking??? How can you hold someone accountable if you cannot prove he was responsible? I guess the constitutional right of “innocent until proven guilty” does not apply to google…)

    3. By punishing people for bad backlinks, google has unleashed a monster – even worse than the pagerank one.

    4. I’m going social. So far, it’s giving me better results than google.

    and I think it will ultimately be more stable as well.

    just my 0.02c

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

      Peter, you don’t sound confused to me.

  • http://www.ipnostudio.com Andrea

    Probably what’s wrong with the title is “inadvertantly” unless someone believes that they can make these kind of things by error. They can’t as they are Google and Google is perfect or aims to be. And if they make these kind of errors it means that really they don’t know what they are doing. Whatever the case they won’t go back as they can’t admit they did something wrong with their faboulous algorythm. So the damages of Penguin has been done either on purpose or because they are amateurs; but they won’t go back as it would ruin their reputation, if Google still has a positive one. I don’t think so.

  • http://www.ever-so-sexy.com Jenny P

    I have read that the Penguin update was not supposed to improve the quality of results…. well in that respect it is certainly a success. At least that is what we are seeing in our market sector. For just one brand (which we do carry) and used to be on page 1. The results now show 4 pages from the same company! Other search terms produce even worse or irrelevant results. Perhaps it is time for Google to learn that when something ain’t broke it is not a good idea to try fixing it!

  • http://bloghands.com Chris

    A big misconception I’ve been reading and getting from some new clients I acquired after this update is that they think their site was penalized… the truth is it wasn’t it’s just the traffic they had before this update was artificially inflated. The links they had weren’t all they where cracked up to be and now Google has basically devalued them.

    People are spending a lot of time and money chasing these bad links when in fact they should just be working on getting better, more ethical links.

  • http://hdtenniscamera.com Volleycam

    They simply went too far. Google distrusts new websites, new links so much that their SERPs are full of old results.

    Example: I google “how to fix deep scratches” and in the top 3 is a BMW forum post from 2005. It’s so old that the pictures (essential to answering my problem) are missing.

  • http://www.LAokay.com Steve G

    Google has basically screwed up it’s index to the point that I don’t know if it can be fixed anymore. It’s like putting too much salt into a soup and the chef won’t remake the soup like it was before all that salt ended up into it. So the soup will always be ruined. Google needs to go back to a pre-Penguin, pre-Panda algorithm and try again. I’m using a lot more of DuckDuckGo and Bing to do my searching and the results are almost like they were pre-Panda. Not perfect, but good enough that I find what I’m looking for. I just can’t trust Google anymore to give me good results. They’re trying to algorithm websites and pages to death, all in the name of better relevancy and it’s heading in the wrong direction. So I suppose since Google thinks it’s results are better now, we all should send a clear message to Google that they screwing up by not using Google’s search engine anymore. Google will be forced to take action and hopefully admit they were wrong and bring things back how they used to be and start again to make minor changes to improve things than taking big strides which even they have to admit they don’t really know exactly what impact and have to take best guesses since the index of Google is so large and complex.

  • http://doityourselfcomputing.com Robbi Drake

    That’s assuredly a lot of what if’s.

    The reality is that Google hasn’t killed the web. If any such issue as death or dire straits is taking place, Google has damaged themselves, not the internet. Not only has the Penguin update offered a far lower level of search results, but it has damaged their reputation in ways that frankly, I don’t think they anticipated. The very act of accepting money from advertisers who are advertising blog networks (search “build links”)

    The search returns are quite dismal and search results are not better, they are marginally different and if anything, much worse in some areas.

    The simple fact is that Google hasn’t killed the internet even if people DID become afraid to link. They’ve simply issued a wakeup call. All of your eggs in one basket has never been a good idea and Google has always been the most fickle of helpmates. Getting your traffic from other sources is the wise persons response to the Penguin update.

    Get your site marginally optimized for Google and then start applying your efforts to other traffic driving methods. What Google fails to accept and to understand is that the very people they are slapping–the seo providers and the marketers and the small webmasters are the people who gave them the power that they have. If those people had not lent some attention and credence to Google, their algorithms would right now be just one more piece of sloppy code that no one cared about.

    Smart business people are moving faster toward social media marketing and finding the better ways to make traffic. Page rank is a good thing, but you can’t eat it, so frankly, if my traffic is coming from Pinterest and Wooxie and Facebook, why would I care if my page ranked 10 or minus 2.

    Just my two cents.

  • http://www.goldcurrent.net Ryan

    The Google “Penguin” update was a success.. In stupidity.

  • http://doityourselfcomputing.com Robbi Drake

    I tend to agree Ryan. The common misconception is that Google was a penalty. It was not. Realistically though, however you slice it or whatever you call it, the result to the thousands–if not millions of small website users was that they were crushed.

    The sad reality to this is that most of those webmasters created and crafted FAR better content and their sites were much better than what is currently replacing them.

    Ask yourself this question.. UNLESS you were creating good content and great ideas on your site,why would you BOTHER building links. What Google failed to take into account is that most of those sites which were slapped by Penguin were the ones with the great content. They were removed because they worked hard and added solid content, and then supplemented that with links they thought would help them–many of them unknowing that they were even breaking a rule. I’ve seen this repeatedly in the webmasters who sent me their sites. Their content was solid as a rock, ten times better than what is ranking now, but their links killed them. It was not about better content, and while it may not have been a penalty, it amounted to one–and one that penalized the many millions of Google users by taking us back to the stone age of the internet.

    I’ve been here writing and working for more years than I can count. I remember nothing but newsgroups and forums and we’re headed back in that direction quite rapidly. I’m looking at sites in search that were last updated in 2006 and 2009. That is not a good search return no matter how you slice it. While a roll back may not be in order, because on some level, the thousands of spam links should be discounted–certainly some kind of a second look is warranted.

  • http://doityourselfcomputing.com Robbi Drake

    The common misconception is that Google was a penalty. Please amend to read. PENGUIN was a penalty

  • John

    When tripod sites and yahoo voice sites rank in the top 10 for a specific search and youtube videos and spam sites make up the other 8, Google needs to take notice.

    Searchers, webmasters and advertisers are being royally screwed and Google should be better at customer service.

    Look after your customers and your customers will look after you. Forget that basic rule and you lose a lot of friends, customers, webmasters and advertisers, your choice Google!

  • http://www.uslabel.net Roy Harris

    Back links should be illegal . I hate paying for google adwords and having potential customers redirected to my competitors.

  • http://konccepts.com Som

    This update just brought Google page rank to my site….I am happy with it :) I removed all the spammers from my site .I just kicked them out with their links . Those mysterious people used to update status with health link , links of drug rehabilitation centres etc .

    What was interesting was that they even didn’t know the simple ‘href’ code to link to a page . Being a link minded blogger , I always tried to host their links .But what they started doing was unbearable .

    I have seen them to stay on some specific pages for hours and sometimes the whole day long . Sometimes , they used to come from same IP addresses and IP region . I never understand the real motivation behind it .

    However , I must say something on the issue and page rank .

    1. Targeting Image Google should also be taken into consideration . Getting optimised in Google Web and Google Image is different . I have seen some pages that appear in image results but they have no trace in web results on some specific keywords.

    In a week , I do one thing and that is search analysis . I have seen visitors coming from search engines to my site using Image Google . At that cases , they should have searched the contents in Web Google.

    Maximum mobile users use Google Image Search to find contents in the web . A website , especially blogs should be ‘content rich’ and as well as ‘Image Rich’.

    2. Previously , we knew that to get Google page rank one website should have a huge amount of Google backlinks . However , till now , Google never shows backlinks for my site . If you search now , you will also get the same result. If this theory really works , I should not get page rank as according to Google I don’t have any Google backlinks. But I got it .So the theory is either not working or partly working .

    3. One thing is also vital in this web and this is how to get rid of negative seo .If a page gets three or more Google +1 recommendations , it won’t be easy to people to practice negative seo with you.

  • http://www.freelygive-n.com Robin Calamaio

    This update killed my site. All my material is original and well researched for those interested in the Bible. I had worked to get organic links from various article directories over the years – and have avoided all link schemes, keyword stuffing, broken links, etc. I have no idea what is now “wrong” and I have no idea what I need to do to “fix” the problem. I am planning on moving into video and audio materials soon. Maybe this will help.

    • http://konccepts.com Som

      Use Category RSS as sitemap . Use a common tag for posts under a same category and get the feed as sitemap .

  • http://www.mygardenplan.info Robert Peters

    We humbly see Penguin quite differently from the SEO perspective.What’s apparent to us is not how Google manages its sector of the web but its continuous effort to define the web and eliminate everyone else from it that doesn’t agree.That’s unfortunate but fortunate too since it will eliminate many of its own customers and cut its own throat.

  • Cathryn

    We’ve never participated in backlink schemes on the basis that we prefer to compete on content and relevancy. We were always at number 1 with google for our main keyword targets, but we are now number 1 with google for ALL our keyword targets instead of the schiesters and directory listing sites that used to come up. They’re now down the bottom of page 2 somewhere. So I’m really happy about it!

  • http://colonialpalms.net adrian jones

    Google are the law to the world,they are to big for governments,so its up to webpronews to tell the universe to get google off your homepage and install another search engine,that my friends will hurt google and if enough do it they just might change there attitude.

  • Betsy

    If we just don’t use Google, don’t click on THEIR links, they won’t make money …long enough and by enough of us and they will be gone… for good!

    I do not like living in the United States of Google…

  • Roger L. Owen

    I will still continue to Make MONEY and have SEX… I truly Don’t Care…

  • http://www.php-developer.org/ Codex Meridian

    I am using Bing 100% of the time, so far I’m very happy with the results. Come on guys, take that power off from Google by start using Bing all the time!

    Let this bastard to slowly dies itself!

  • Google Needs to Start Thinking

    To be honest I can write pages after pages of humor with examples of current google search results. They are overdoing everything and losing the track. Crazy is the only word which comes to mind. It will take some time to forget Let’s “Google it” because of habit but Let’s “Bing” it now onwards.

    I also know that it will be political issue for google engineers to reverse the crazy penguin update and go back as they would have to justify the investment to their management but overall they are killing the respect which google had, with the idiotic results.

  • PG

    The new results make me use Bing and Yahoo more…

  • Aaron

    I remember back in the day, most traffic came from link trades from other websites.. We did not even care about search engines. Times have changed and everyone is all about Google.. so much so that we are now being forced to abandon the original source of traffic just to appease them, hence giving Google even more control over the Internet.

    I gotta say, the search results lately have been very disappointing, it seems amazon is on page one for just about everything you search for and the # of advertisements is overwhelming. The types of sites we used to expect to find on page one are now buried on page 10 and I have see numerous sites in their place that have no body text at all, just blank pages with a title.. lol

    I used to own a computer shop from 95 to 2004 and when we setup peoples computers we made their home page google because of it’s simplicity and results.. Well that is gone, and I must say that Bing has come a long way.. it may be time for people to make a choice and just switch.

  • Jerome

    I’ve been directly affected by the clowns at Google, both positively and (mainly) negatively. I’ve decided to shift my focus to Bing, since Bing’s results are 100x better and they don’t blast you with a page full of ads whenever you do a search. I’m also amazed at the negative keyword search method, too, it makes me think that Google has ultimately favored Amazon in this latest disaster they call an optimization. They warned us not to over-optimize our sites for SEO, but they’ve destroyed their search engine due to their over-optimization of algos.

  • http://www.xprocreative.com Brandon

    The single worst thing to hit the web… EVER. If Google means HUGE FAILURE instead of “success” then they’re absolutely right. Link Penalties… way to ruin the web. Switch to Bing. No link penalties.

  • http://www.xprocreative.com Brandon

    Google = smart people doing dumb things. Google has opened a pandora’s box… and what if people start linking to Google’s own software? Will they penalize their self as they do others? I highly doubt it, they will say they know those links aren’t theirs because they didn’t put them there…. then bring in antitrust lawsuits aimed at Google.

    You simply can’t trust Google rankings anymore. How can someone start a web business if they can be on page one, one day and then get penalized and drop off the list the next?

    Google is single-handedly destroying the web that people love. There is NO reason to do what they did, other than to flex their own muscle. I think they WAY underestimated the destruction and backlash they have caused.

  • http://www.welearners.com iPhone OS 5

    Thank you
    welearners got much info

  • http://proventus.org.uk Provpeter

    Google is an advertising agency first. Search engine second. The concern should be that Google may be working towards monopolising the advertising market. It is to be expected that facebook and maybe others will go the same way. Selling empty air. The WWW is no longer the domain it once was.
    It is all to do with business – advertising, perhaps if the billions of dollars/pounds/Euros etc that are spent on advertisning (profit from empty air)the cost of essential foods and products would be 50% cheaper?

  • http://shocckeasblogspot9.blogspot.com rafly rast

    Google has been allowed to influence websites for far too long. While it is true that people are allowing themselves to be influenced by Google’s policies, the fact remains that they are doing so out of concern over what the mighty Goog could do to their online businesses by de-indexing their sites. People should be allowed to earn some money by selling some links after all Google makes a great deal of money by selling links. Sure the buying and selling of links interferes with their algorithms but that is their problem and they shouldn’t be putting their problems on to the rest of us, they should fix them for themselves.

    • http://www.HGPublishing.com Peter J. Francis

      This is an excellent point. Google doesn’t need to be the web police. It just needs to deliver good search results.

  • Angela Cockburn

    I now have to search very precisely to find what I want in Google – I’m used to doing this, and it’s a minor problem for me, but it’s irritating and it takes some of the fun out of searching.

  • http://Www.seogo.co.uk SEO Go

    I thing the biggest flaw we have found in our testings it that we may now be able you use negative SEO technique to distroy our competitors rankings! Unethical but not every one is ethical!!


  • http://www.HGPublishing.com Peter J. Francis

    I’ve never sought links because high traffic volume has not been my priority. I just want a steady little volume of business, which has been working for me up to now. However, I have been linked to by some questionable sites which has affected my site. I don’t feel I should be responsible for or penalized by links coming to my site that I can’t control. Google’s product is relevant search results, so they need to focus their algorithm on site content, not links.

  • http://www.thegrizasonline.com/ thegrizasonline

    PPenguin seem to be effective as most of the search result changed, but the the quality of the top ranking sites are not great yet.

  • http://mebelkumurah.blogspot.com/ mebel murah

    Penguin make me always careful. I hope our website safe from the fury

  • http://doityourselfcomputing.com Robbi Drake

    I agree Robert and that being said, I can’t fail to think that the antitrust that is looming may well define Google AND the web on another level. Legislating the internet has been a passion of the government for ages. Google has essentially taken control of that and is, as you said, defining the web as we know it. The government, in seeing that and in trying to regulate Google will take more control over the internet in my opinion ( LOL worth what it cost you… nothing )so while we may gain in that Google is more controlled, we may also lose on many other levels if governmental interference on a greater level touches the internet.I think either case is dangerous, but the governmental interference would be themost so.. I’d personally prefer to deal with the google devil that I know LOL

    Google has taken some serious power here and it appears to me that they, much as Microsoft, are going to be hard pressed to fight the government on this one, and may well lose their edge. As they fight the inevitable antitrust suit, it is my belief that they will be less focused on technology, even as Microsoft was. It was during that era that MS lost their own focus and began to lose their technology leadership.

    Each company grows so big and makes a mistake that costs them dearly. Apple, for example, thought they were worth more than they really were and lost out… if they had let themselves be cloned all those years ago, we’d all now be using Macs instead of Windows or Linux machines.
    It’s been an interesting ride, watching it all play out, but this aspect of the internet,these changes, I think will be the most interesting of all.

  • http://doityourselfcomputing.com Robbi Drake

    @ SeoGo–I agree, but we’ve always been able to do that honestly. It’s not the tactic of white hat SEO folks, but in many instances, we’ve been able to use Negative SEO to bury Ripoff reports and Scambook reports and things like that for our clients. It’s nothing new and it does have its uses. Ethical companies don’t use it on the competition and if it is used, that bug can bite both ways, so it’s common sense not to start a war that could cost you both. I frankly don’t see the other seo companies out there really as competition, but rather, as colleagues. There are millions of sites online and it’s a certainty that I can’t SEO them all.. why would I want to deny other ethical SEO companies business?

  • http://theSEONewsBlog.com Pat Marcello

    Yes, I think it’s where the Web should go, Chris. Some of the stuff out there is obnoxious, and who wants to get a page of useless information back when they click search?

    I see where Google is headed with this and anyone who’s been studying search, should have known this was coming. I’ve been telling people for years that duplicate content, meta info, etc. would be causing trouble at some point.

    But then, nobody pays attention because they’re too busy figuring out another scheme to make spiders happy. Silly really. If you spent more time creating linkable, amazing content, you’ll always come out a winner, so why poke the bear?

  • http://liveonblogs.com Reeja Mathews

    gooogle panda makes some disappointment and so google penguin
    we need another update to satisfy the need

  • Bill

    Search results for our keywords return blog guest posts at Ehow from 2009. For Google to say this was a success is like saying the operation was success – we removed the tumor and cancer will no longer spread – unfortunately the patient died, and that’s too bad but really secondary to our goal.

    Google isn’t really a search engine anymore as much as an ad network. Trouble is they are the defacto gateway to the web for the majority of Internet browsers. So they have control way beyond what is healthy.

    I use CopernicAgent for search now which scans many search engines and is desktop software. For Google to have incentive to do a better job more people need to use other search options.

  • Denise

    I wish Google didn’t count links at all. There are plenty of site I like that I would link to but it would not help my rankings. Another problem with linking is if a site you swapped links with removes all their links and uses another method for linking, I would be giving them a one way link, making it necessary to check your reciprocal links, a big waste of my time.
    I disagree with the quality of sites ranking higher, this is not true and the results displayed are disappointing. Local search, if I wanted to find something locally, I would include the city in the search. I do not want Google giving me what they think I want, thank you very much.

  • Denise

    Why don’t you add a thumbs up and down so you can see what we all agree on?

  • http://www.knead.co.nz Jeff

    Great post.

    I believe 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.

    In terms of black hat backlinkers, i applaude Googles efforts to fix the issue!

    Thanks for the post!

  • Google Penguin The Destroyer of People’s Lives

    Google cares about one thing and one thing only, money and their share price. 96% of Google’s revenues are from PPC, so there ONLY goal is to get more people and businesses to spend outrageous amounts of money on PPC and not get FREE organic or Google Local results. This Penguin updates should be recalled “BIG CORPORATE AMERICA” because if you look at both Google Local and organic results for local keywords it’s the Yelp, CitySearch, Amazon, Ebay, Yellowbook, Yahoo Local, Facebook, large niche directories, Fortune & Inc. 500 companies that are dominating pretty much entire first page of Google. How many small business owners will be destroyed and go out of business because Google wants to force them into PPC. Penguin isn’t like any of the updates (500+ in 2011 Google stated) in the last 12+ yeard I have been a internet marketer. Never thought I would say this, but Bing should be the search engine of choice you use. If no one or way less people search on Google the PPC value prices will go down drastically and maybe they’ll realize that there search engine NOT PPC is what built them into a $100 Billion giant. – Sincerely F$ck You Google! 😀

  • http://get-business-online.com/ Gal Baras

    Should be easy enough for Google to add a feature in Webmaster Tools that allows webmasters to mark certain links from other sites as “no follow” (for lack of a better term). Given the lack of control over other people’s sites, at least this will put control over inbound link quality back where it belongs.

    But in general, Google should learn to deal with the fact that some links are bad without being deliberate, simply because some people run bad sites and don’t know how to code links. Google should also remember that link exchange was very helpful to Google itself once and existing links, especially old ones, should not attract any penalties.

  • http://www.dirtworks.net John Meshna

    The penguin update has almost killed off my business. google sucks more than ever. they are an arrogant, deceitful company who serve the corporate world and screw everyone else all in persuit of making a buck. I’d sue them today of they hadn’t nearly killed off the revenue I would use to do it. after 25 years in business we’re almost done because of those assholes.

  • http://www.dirtworks.net John Meshna

    Just tried to leave a very unflattering comment about google and your page said I already said that even though I surly did not. Seems Google isn’t the only one censoring these days

  • http://www.intelligent-prospecting.co.uk Peter Johnston

    The law bit intrigues me.

    What law am I breaking by posting a link to someone’s site?

    Is this not like publishing their phone number – only even less invasive.

    So what legal action can “they” take?

    • Ralph Slate

      You don’t need to break a law for there to be a legal tort.

      If you live down a hill from me, I could point all my gutters down the hill so that the runoff all falls onto your roof, causing your roof to fail. There is no law about pointing gutters, but I would be causing you damages.

      An improper link is now in the position to cause someone damages because it gets them blacklisted from Google.

  • James Hughes

    The results are poor, right across the board, not just for products and services, but for general questions people may ask google. The likes of Bing and even Facebook must be laughing their heads off. The start of the end of google for sure.

  • http://www.digitalextrememediagroup.com William Jeffrey Imhoff

    Love the Penguin update. What I dont understand is, how Google sells advertising to the same guys they they are fighting against.

  • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

    Things only get blurry if one wants to make them so in an oft repeated attempts at sensationalizing ‘news’ to gain clicks and links.

    Word Press has to take the good with the bad when they require their links be posted on sites that use their service.

    “but people don’t always respond to things in the most rational of ways.”

    Especially when helped along that path by WebProNews’ ‘reporting’. 😉 Link bait is link bait is link bait and it’s all good, right?

  • http://www.sheboyganspirit.com/ Spirit

    Google has lost its collective mind in its never-ending avarice.

    I have had several people just in the last few days ask me (cuz I’ve been online over 12 years and am a web developer), “What is wrong with google? I can’t find anything any more!”

    Two examples just this weekend: Sister in law. Totally NON web savvy. emails, surfs and “Facebooks”. That’s it. Screeches at me the other day she can’t find anything in “that stupid google, so I don’t use it any more”. Then asks what they’re doing? I say, “I wish I understood”.

    Mom: Almost 80 years old, got her online over a decade ago, she enjoys emails and doing crossword puzzles (NY Times) searching for help with Google. Yesterday her comment was, “Google is USELESS – what is wrong?”

    Two average Inet users who are clueless about SEO, web sites, spam, links, etc., etc., but have become accustomed to search AS IT WAS and are now perplexed.

    IMHO, Google goes back to what it was – a level and fair playing field where TRUE results to queries were found and displayed, no matter the site, or they go get lost in cyberspace.

    Why can’t or doesn’t some smart programmer develop a pre-panda Google-like search engine we can all flock to so we can leave the pompous greed mongers in the dust they created. I keep looking but no can find…

    Sorry, I don’t usually rant like this but am fed up myself with Google games. It’s “we the people” who made them what they are – now they throw the little guy under the bus and act as if they’re THE INTERNET. Please….

  • http://gardengrovefindhomes.com John

    The problem with people, including this article, quoting Ford Motor Company v. 2600 Enterprises and Ticketmaster Corp. v. Tickets.com, Inc. being precedents in regards to lawsuits is the algo. has changed. In these cases there was no monetary damages. Now with Google giving out penalties for links there are actual damages. This is a very slippery slope and dangerous game Google is playing.

  • http://twitter.com/bryansiegel Bryan Siegel

    This reminds me of the reciprocal link penalty Google/Yahoo/MSN at the time handed out where they penalized reciprocal links in the Real Estate industry in 2005. I worked at Advanced Access where Yahoo actually blocked one of our c blocks that effected 10,000 or so websites. Penguin needed to block the blog networks that were churning out bad content across different IP’s and wordpress themes that made it hard to follow their footprints. They made Googlebot smarter by being able to sort out thin content but realizing that it will only go so far (Markov).

    I think this round of Penguin is aimed at scaring webmasters into cleaning up their profile by dropping their traffic and forcing fear into SEO link development. We’ll see more updates to penguin as time goes on, which is to me a wait and see game. When building links you never go after one tactic, because if one fails you still have other options. Also you never build link “questionable” links to your money site.

    My fear is the penalization part of bad inbound links. I think they should discount those links if not completely ignore them.

  • http://www.plasticsurgerycoupons.com Richard

    An adsense site with a lot links from porn sites (xrumer I am guessing) now ranks on the first page and my site ranks number 480. My site really has the best content hands down. Matt Cutt’s and Google should be embarrassed.

  • David

    They will be perusing legal action. Great! They can read whatever they want, but they’d better pursue recourse if they are serious.

  • Shirl

    No definitely not…we have been in business for 11 years and run 4 websites. Google has tanked us. We are doing everything we can to follow what should be done and working day and night. It is amazing how it can disrupt the livelyhood of the small guy yet the big box stores have faired better. Big business…and the little guy goes under. Something wrong with that picture. GOOGLE PLEASE RECONSIDER AND GO BACK TO THEY WAY IT WAS…SUPPORT FOR THE LITTLE GUY IS APPRECIATED.

  • http://www.bridalshoesuk.co.uk peter Greenaway

    We have ranked high for many years. We use a SEO just like many companies. We trust them to work with in the guidlines Google set.In comes the Penguine and sent us packing. We thought our seo was google freindly a term they used but now it seems they wernt,so what can i do about it. Arrrrrr

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  • http://links2coolstuff.forumotion.com Cool forum

    Hmm this is bad, a future where people do not want to link to sites for fear of being sued.

    I have always said tho, dont rely on google traffic for your online business – Its a bonus, although that being said some companies kinda NEED search traffic.. confusing times..

  • http://www.strategicrevenue.com John

    Did Penguin improve search results? Yes
    Will Google’s penalties have an influence on the law? Unfortunelty, I imagine it will. There is now a ‘negative’ for linking to something, when there never was before.
    Will there be instances where publishers do not link to something they ordinarily would have without even thinking about it? Yes.

  • john

    Penguin a success? Really?? Did a search for one of our targeted keywords, our website, the exact same page, came twice on the same google search results page! When searching for other keywords some news article of 3 years ago appeared number 1 on page one, hardly news anymore and totally outdated and irrelevant, if that is what google means with a success…

  • http://raiderstpz.com/ Lee Davis

    As much as people love to freak out whenever the element of change is introduced, I’m going to opine that those SO worried about the algorithmic changes that Google so likes to play around with are no threat to those who don’t put all their eggs in one basket. The freakers have forgotten that even though Google IS one of the top destinations on the Web, there are HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of search engines that also can give rankings if people bother to try and spread themselves out. Submit your listings to as many search engines as possible – Not just Google. YES. Google is highly influential in this regard, but PLEASE remember; there was Internet BEFORE Google.

    • http://www.sitetruth.com John Nagle, Silicon Valley, CA

      Re: “there are HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of search engines”…

      Google: 82%
      Bing and Bing resellers: 16%
      All others: < 3%

  • http://ptkguru.com pakdar

    good info.

  • http://www.sitetruth.com John Nagle, Silicon Valley, CA

    Google won’t kill the web. But they might shoot themselves in the foot.

    Basic truth: most links to commercial sites are promotional. Google is correct to ignore such links. The trouble is, what do they use instead to choose amongst relevant site? Age of the site and relevance of the domain name have become more important since the Penguin update. Old half-dead sites are moving up in rankings.

    Social signals are becoming more important. So Twitter and Tumblr spam is up. Social sites are very easy to spam. There’s a whole industry doing it now. Social spam really took off when Google started counting reviews for Google Local in October 2011. Remember how that backfired?

    Google has lost their anchor, PageRank. What do they do now?

  • Burgerbone

    Are the results better? No.
    But i learn one thing. I got to get rid of google from being the middle man. I need a new site with a new brand name, and content that are so sticky that my visitors bypass google and get to my site typing my address.

  • Burgerbone

    Are the results better? No.
    But i learn one thing. I got to get rid of google from being the middle man. I need a new site with a new brand name, and content that are so sticky that my visitors bypass google and get to my site typing my address.

  • http://gravidugeforuge.com gravid

    My site was really hurt by google penguin, how can i come back with my sites?

    Just write new good unique articles??

    • http://www.dailystirrer.com/ Ian R Thorpe

      I’d say no, better to write huge quantities of low quality articles that are just regurgitated versions of stories from mainstream media.

      Google don’t know the difference between quality and quantity.

  • Richard

    In 1999 I was mad and obsessed with being listed in Yahoo. I used only Yahoo to find results then someone suggested Google and I slowly switched. Since Penguin I am finding lots of strange results and for the first time in several years I have started using Bing and Yahoo again. If Google doesn’t give the surfer what they are looking for they will slowly switch. All good things come to an end, Google need not worry about competitors catching them, Google are killing themselves slowly but surely without the help of anyone else.

  • http://www.seoarticlecontentwriting.com/ Laura at SEO article content writing

    Google today also goes for relevancy, and that is why many webmasters are suffering. Getting links from business blogs featuring everything from insurance to financing is just not good enough today. That is the same with buying links and sponsored banners. The links, as well as the content need to be super relevant.

  • http://www.keyfinans.no Carl

    Google have really screwed up this time. I got hit on 1 of my sites, and have always followed their guidelines. One year Google tells us to get link (total 8.800) the next they are against it? How are we supposed to find out what links are hurting us. Google helped a larger company, what about all of us that are small? They say screw you, no help for you! They seem to forget that everybody starts up small!

    Googles search results are really a joke! Poor content from you tube and other larger sites (some owned by Google) are turning up high in the results, just because they have alot of visitors.

    I have a site which is top 5 on google.com. Om the national google search engine this is not even in the top 50 pages (the site is in the national language) When you request support an adress the issue, they reply: sorry we dont support the language! Talk about being arrogant!

    Google seem to have a double standard. If you look at their search engine in any language its the same.(spam) But its okay for them to have duplicate content, talk about double moral! They can make more money this way! But what about the results? Why do they differ so much? Thought that national results would be the same only excluding non national results! They cant even get this right!

    If google considers Peguin to be a success, they better get of the drugs they are using. I see the same thing coming to them as with the use of microsoft. People get fed up with them and drop them. On some of my sites I have now refused the google robot to access and index the site. Lets see if many others do the same. Then we will see how long google survives showing their own results (you tube etc).

    I live of giving financial advice, and my advice is to sell google stock. This bubble is going to burst.

    If you want to advertise, use facebook! 1/20 the cost, and reaches far more people.

  • http://typhudiaoc.com dia oc

    google update PR at 08-02-2012 , PR alive along time

  • AC

    I’ve seen sites with click thru rates of 20-35% on long tail traffic destroyed by Penguin and Panda. Sales conversion rate of 3-4% knocked down to 1%. Those CTR and conversion rates are clear indication of the site usefulness to end users. Google has limited visibility into that data and is arbitrarily knocking out sites based on academic ideals or their own self interest.

    The way to approach this is to push back on google. The only effective way I see to do that is for webmasters to reject a small portion of traffic referred from Google. Just enough to get Google’s attention. If 1-2% of Google’s referrals were rejected by the destination sites with a standardized landing page explaining that google’s practices are strangling the web and small business, google’s perceived quality would drop dramatically in a short time.

  • http://diaoc-vn.com khang gia

    I Love the Penguin update. because The links, as well as the content need to be super relevant.

  • Angrybird

    There is almost 14 months like. Speak with google about the link problem. They replied 3 times with generic sentences that are good for some kind of idiots.
    Story is: I paid a lot money to get a lot links to seo companys, per previouse rules and google game allowing such tactics everybody did that. And now google clean his own hands and let me clean links ? By my logic google supposed to be sued by each website which ranking dropped down once they(google) changed rules. Why people have to pay again to clean already paid links ? Is there any lawyer who can answer that ? I am right ? I am not a seo geek , I did everything what everybody did to be visible and make some money, now I just figured out after many months why my website do not bring me enought income like I had before, likely I have 3 websites , other two was not advertised by me so often and they , the poor websites now has better visibility than my famouse website. Btw.famouse website ranking is still better than my poor websites with exactly same items, but my poor websites has better visibility … This is clear proof that I loosing money because of rich uncle google which I am 99% positive to sue them for my lost income , which dropped down at least 50% it’s like half million usd. Any lawyer interested get this clean case from my perspective contact me ….