Google’s recent “over optimization” update aka The Penguin Update combined with Panda 3.5 has been interesting to watch unfold. My site’s organic traffic grew 20% over the past few days and while I’d like to think it’s because I am doing SEO right, the data suggests it’s more likely that other sites were doing it, if not wrong, well then perhaps less right, and I am the happy beneficiary.

Check out the changes in rankings my site has experienced for the following SEO terms recently:

Keyword                                    Change in Google Rankings
SEO tool                                                       +100
SEO consulting                                           + 80
Facebook SEO                                            + 70
Google SEO tools                                       +  70
Cost of SEO                                                  + 60
Search engine SEO                                    + 60
International SEO                                        + 50
Website SEO                                               + 50
SEO tools                                                     + 40
Google map SEO                                        + 30
SEO consultant                                           +  30
SEOs                                                             + 30
Google SEO                                                 + 20
Web SEO                                                      + 20
SEO rankings                                               + 20
SEO on page                                               + 20
SEO NY                                                        + 20
SEO for websites                                        + 20
San Jose SEO                                             + 10
SEO how to                                                  + 10
SEO news                                                     + 10

Interestingly I also saw a big drop for some SEO keywords, so perhaps I am a bit of a spammer myself?:

SEO google                                               -100
Mobile SEO                                               -100
SEO optimize                                             – 90
SEO services                                              – 70
SEO on google                                          – 40
Google SEO guidelines                           – 30
Google SEO tips                                       – 30
Search SEO                                               – 30
SEO ranking factors                                 – 20

I haven’t dug into possible explanations yet, so feel free to chime in via comments.




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7 Response Comments

  • Terry  April 26, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I have noticed a resurgence of keyworded exact match and almost exact match domain names in a number of the search results. These sites tend to be optimized very little due to their “superior” domain status and they also tend to be some of the crappiest sites on the net.

    Good job Google!

  • Andrew Shotland  April 26, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Good point Terry. I could be benefitting from exact-match for having “SEO” in my domain name.

  • Terry  April 26, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    You do seem to do very well for local seo. I get the same benefit when people search for Terry Reeves.


  • Sol  April 26, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Interesting. My highest quality sites went down. My not-highest-quality sites went up.


  • Imprezzio  April 26, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    I was tracking a bunch of small businesses who have all had excellent ranking on Google in the last 6-8 months. They were using a company who was getting hundreds of backlinks through setting up profiles on forums, random social network sites etc and then in their bio pages putting links back to several sites with specific anchor text (Example: “hi my name is bob and I’m an marketing person who is really interested in miami real estate (linked to site), chiropractors in milwaukee wi (linked to site) etc. As of today I can’t find any of these businesses ranking on Google as of today.

  • Eric Garrison  April 26, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Shows more and more that content is king. A lot of short cut link trading tactics may get you a lift in the rankings, but the content will survive all of the mega google updates.

    Brand focus also looks to be the best bet for long term SEO plays.

  • Jay  April 29, 2012 at 3:08 pm


    Do you think this update has affected more of the on-page or off-page work?

    I have 6 exact match domains, that have heavy emphasis on only a few key phrases, so they majorly have over optimization of the anchor text links.. which is allegedly a factor in the penguin updates…. but NONE of these websites were affected. KW density is also over the top….. no shift in rankings…. a few have even seen an increase.. (…WTF)

    I have another website that isn’t really optimized very well, not a lot of content.. but has equal off page anchor text optimization repetition as the other websites… and this website has literally been blown out of the water.

    As I conclude, it seems this is more focused on content, versus links. Just wanted to hear your thoughts, and how to avoid this all together.