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@MattCutts Did Your Penguin Just Break Google?

April 26th, 2012
22 Comments



Google’s Penguin Update was supposed to help get rid of SPAM from the search results.  I think it may have had the opposite effect.

This morning I posted Think a Bunch of SEO Spammers Just Got Destroyed but when I search for that phrase in Google check out the results on page one from a few minutes ago:

100% SPAM! And my post is nowhere to be found (aka on page two).

About an hour and a half ago I posted the scholarly follow up How Google’s Penguin Update Got Its Name and check out page one for that query:

Again, my original post is nowhere to be found.

Hey Google, can you at least serve some eggs, sausage and bacon too?

File under #stillprocrastinating

UPDATE: Now 3 hours after posting I am ranking #1 for the above queries, but for queries for this post I am ranking #4, so there appears to be some kind of time lag thing going on with the algo.


Tags: Google

22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Justin Sous // Apr 26, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Hey Andrew,

    This is pretty wild. I actually just ran the same search and could not find your article at all on the first 5 pages! I actually came across your other article “How Google’s Penguin Update Got Its Name” on page 2, referencing the title of the other article. I haven’t seen too much of an effect just yet on my clients’ sites, but Danny said the update may take a few days to be fully reflected in search. This update has been interesting so far!

  • 2 Andrew Shotland // Apr 26, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Even worse if you run a query in quotes for “think a bunch of seo spammers just got destroyed” my post shows up in the “omitted results” (aka SPAM) section.

  • 3 Gary B // Apr 26, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Nice to see the number 1 result also falsely uses hreview-aggregate for rich snippets too.

  • 4 Andrew Shotland // Apr 26, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I am just about to launch another post on that #1 result. It’s pretty much the definition of Penguin SPAM.

  • 5 Gary B // Apr 26, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Nice of #1 to credit you with a nofollow link :)

  • 6 Ashley, cutey // Apr 26, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    I’m honestly not sure on Penguin yet, I don’t think it’s a bad updated but they’ve left paid links alone.

  • 7 Boris 'SeoKungFu' Krumov // Apr 26, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I am witnessing absolutely the same behavior with time – the “better” the latest “Panda”, and now “Penguin” updates are, the worse it gets with scraper, low-quality sites outranking original content.
    I think they spoiled it a lot and it needs reverting to some versions back, then move on…

  • 8 Deane // Apr 26, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    I found this post in answer to my question of whether Google has just permanently ruined the internet. My husband and I were arguing about this. :) Several of my sites are now being outranked by spammy press releases. Yeah, now THAT’s just what people are dying to read about. What a joke.

  • 9 Vijay // Apr 26, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    May be they wrote the algo in backwards ? Ensuring the spam sites get the rankings instead of loosing ?

    With google, I believe almost anything is possible

  • 10 John // Apr 27, 2012 at 1:15 am

    Yeah, this is ugly. I mean, Analytics is saying that my traffic is a little bit up, but it is all the wrong traffic to all the wrong places. Pages with awesome conversion rates and social engagement are gone from the top 200 – but I’ve got unrelated URLs ranking as high as they used to.

    So are my visitors getting a better experience? No! They’re bouncing twice as fast instead of buying what they came to find.

  • 11 Andrew Shotland // Apr 27, 2012 at 8:21 am

    As one of the sites that is using my content pointed out to me via email, they are not scraping but instead just grabbing my full-text RSS feed which they are certainly free to do.

    That said, still looks like SPAM to me.

  • 12 Fionn Downhill // Apr 28, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I have the exact same issue my site with the original content is in the omitted results and the scrapers are at the top. One blog stole our entire blog and now ranks for all our phrases I am nowhere to be seen. So its not just the old sites that have this phenomena its new content as well. Good news they must be looking to fix this. It should not be called the penguin update. It should be called the “power to the scrapers update”

  • 13 Vlad // Apr 30, 2012 at 7:04 am

    My site tslead.com was affected by the “Penguin” algorithm update on April 24th.
    It was #1 and now is #4 for 5 years, I lost more than half of my visitors/clients, I have noticed that most of the sites that were effected was #1 for the competitive keywords and now, once they are pushed back and making less than 50% of what they have been making, they are forsed to buy Ad Words. I will not be able afford PPC.

  • 14 Nick Stamoulis // May 2, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Clearly there’s still some kinks to be worked out in the algorithm. It’s a vicious cycle though. Google finally gets everything straight but the spammers have found a new way to rank. Never ending.

  • 15 alanc230 // May 3, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Wish the Monty Python crew were still at it. They would have had a field day making fun of the world of the Internet.

  • 16 Andrew Shotland // May 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    They would rank for pretty much everything

  • 17 Justin // May 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    It seems that your domain is slapped and even if you post a golden content now it won’t rank good. I have even worse issues where I search for an exact homepage title in quotes and my site ends up in omitted results. Something is really wrong with this update and needs lots of serious tweaks which I look forward to

  • 18 brad // May 6, 2012 at 9:45 am

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

  • 19 Clark Smith // May 11, 2012 at 11:34 am

    The updates have benefited my sites and removed the spammy sites that were ranking above mine, I like the update :)

  • 20 Bueler // May 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Yeah, I keep hearing across nearly every IM website that the Penguin update just elevated junk. Some people are reporting that even blank web pages are showing up near the top of search results. Makes you wonder how the internal dynamics at Google works their algorithm.

  • 21 Gary // May 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    This update has harmed some of my sites that have previously ranked on number one position for around a year. Suddenly on page 7 overnight, Google sure must have been so way out before if they are sticking to the same guidelines. It seems to me more commercial sites are getting hit, I wonder if that might increase their adwords revenue ?

  • 22 Nasdaq7 // Jun 25, 2012 at 4:27 am

    Google will go down, it is just a matter of time. You can’t create updates like that that totally limit the good guys. Eventually spam is going to *make money fast – here’s my link* take over.

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