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Google Launches Update Targeting Spam... Again? Penguin Update
netmeg




msg:4444832
 9:50 pm on Apr 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts "In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines. We’ve always targeted webspam in our rankings, and this algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content. While we can't divulge specific signals because we don't want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users, our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics."


[insidesearch.blogspot.com...]

Sites affected by this change might not be easily recognizable as spamming without deep analysis or expertise, but the common thread is that these sites are doing much more than white hat SEO; we believe they are engaging in webspam tactics to manipulate search engine rankings.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 4:31 pm (utc) on Apr 25, 2012]
[edit reason] added quotes - updated link [/edit]

 

MarvinH




msg:4447426
 9:46 am on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

This latest update has affected a ton of innocent victims


I lost about 50% to 60% of Google referrals starting the night from the 24th to the 25th. It is a non-commercial site I run purely as a hobby. It's a forum focused on a very narrow niche topic. It talks about a handful of software and hardware products. Members exchange experiences, and help each other to ID technical issues. Some product developers contribute to discussions, too.

There is no affiliate selling, no selling of any sort. A single unit of AdSense per page is present on most pages (AdSense is excluded from the home page and other most-trafficked pages such as product reviews).

The site's name is:

Keyword1 keyword2 someotherword . com

For the search term "Keyword1 Keywod2" (w/out the quotes) the site was #1 for the past few years. Now it ranks #4 below sites which do not focus on the topic to the depth mine does.

Deeper pages suffered much worse though.Some URLs that used to be on page one are now several pages deep, or nowhere to be found.

Luckily, the site is just a hobby, and my livelihood doesn't depend on it. But it's been a passion of mine, so it hurts a bit.

Good luck to all!

fred9989




msg:4447436
 10:21 am on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google's not going to listen, and they're not going to roll back. They never have, and they never will.

If Google decides your business model doesn't fit in with theirs, it doesn't mean your site doesn't have value. But if you need to earn a living, then at some point you have to stop waiting for Google to change (because it's not happening) and figure out if you still want to play this game


There's so much truth in that observation.
First, there will be no rollback.
Second, the level of abuse directed at Google from people whose aspirations have been destroyed probably means they are less willing to engage in co-operative discussion.
Third, if they ever made an assumption that a responsible attitude among webmasters would prevail, I doubt they still believe that. The business practices of some countries, Russia, India and China especially, mean that will never happen.
Fourth, ..oh, enough editorialising.

What I see:
Not all niches affected in the same way.
No evidence of (over optimised) internal links playing any part in this.
Plenty of evidence of inlinks playing a part - mostly around sensitivity to the anchor text, including some kind of LSI being applied to the inlinks so that terms like "stop" "prevent" "avoid" "overcome" and so on all now count equally to whatever limit of usage is deemed acceptable for the primary keyword phrase (I'd say c. 40%).
Thin content is a killer (unless you're a massive site with 100s of inlinks, gathered legitimately or not).
<snip>
Great confusion in a lot of people's minds between Penguin and Panda.
A lot of fury from people whose intention, stated directly or not, consciously expressed or not, was to game Google for financial reward, and who still see themselves as innocent victims.
Whoops, no more editorialising...

[edited by: goodroi at 3:27 pm (utc) on Apr 30, 2012]
[edit reason] No specific keywords [/edit]

menntarra 34




msg:4447438
 10:37 am on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

i want to ask all of you on this:
Let's say i have a webpage about widgets. I want to rank well for these products. Do you think the following will affect the SERPS:
Which is better:
title tag just saying the product name:
"Company Model# Widget"
or:
"cheap reliable Company Model# Widget"


Will any of the two is better than the other. Is it better to just use the shorter, or it does not have any effect on SERPS at all? What do you think? And what are your experiences about this?

[edited by: goodroi at 3:22 pm (utc) on Apr 30, 2012]
[edit reason] Please no specific keywords [/edit]

adder




msg:4447451
 11:51 am on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Across the niches that I'm watching, here's the picture so far:

Biggest winners: Brands with very little useful content

Bigest losers: exact-match domains.

I see plenty of EMDs slapped, even those that have no spammy links in their backlink profile. Even those that have many years of valuable original content behind them.

affiliation




msg:4447484
 1:21 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Bigest losers: exact-match domains.


EMDs are tricky, I have a few winners and a few loosers, the ones that have come out on top for myself, I have not linked the keyword for the EMD more than a couple of times, the EMDs I have that have been hit I have linked the keyword associated with the EMD more frequent.

Age of sites are similiar and the sites are built in a similiar fashion, so this has been the only diference.

On a further note about links, sites I that have got low quality blog links for have been pushed down, same penality EMD or other, it has not made a diference.

Sites I have with links from ordinary non blog type sites seem not to have dropped.

On a diferent note, the sites I still have that were either promoted or not dropped produced the best sales yesterday that I have had in almost 2 years. Traffic was increased slightly, but users must have been unable to find any other sites to compare in the results. A bonus for myself, but I would be the first to admit if I was a purchaser I would not like the results.

tigger




msg:4447488
 1:50 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Bigest losers: exact-match domains.


Have to disagree - I have 8 EMDs all are number 1 - some beating <shock> Amazon </shock>

These sites were built as a linking tools for money sites that have dropped! but thankfully they are taking some of the slack up now

One thing I am seeing is this is about neglected sites as all the above 8 were being updated maybe once a month and had poor link development

particleman




msg:4447496
 2:04 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I would have to disagree with EMDs comment, we have a network of sites with various EMDs still ranking well. My vote is for over optimization on our particular site that got hit. We have done very little backlink work in the last year so I'm ruling that out. The scale of restructuring the site though is very painful to think about. The niche this site is in also saw some competitors get blasted, basically page one is a new field of players.

WebChicken




msg:4447510
 2:33 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I am not seeing any difference in EMD's AT ALL.

They are still high-lighted in the search, etc...

mike2010




msg:4447520
 3:28 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Second, the level of abuse directed at Google from people whose aspirations have been destroyed probably means they are less willing to engage in co-operative discussion.


The problem is with their closed-off , nerd-cubicles , and tunnel-vision mindset.

They never look into the human aspect or think how this could affect a webmaster's livelihood...that has worked on a site or sites for years, only to be wiped off the map from an unknown issue that they termed the 'spam update'. No word from them either if this means the site is wiped out forever or just a temporary issue ? I guess were suppose to try to read minds again.

It's obvious they made a mistake targeting legitimate sites as well.

Heck, even other webmasters can simply target their competition in the google index and spam-nuke their competition off the map with tactics specified in the latest update. What type of protection measures does Google have for these innocent sites ? Probably none. Unless your a PR4 or higher site.

BaseballGuy




msg:4447541
 3:40 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's obvious they made a mistake targeting legitimate sites as well.


I posted this on the last page, here it is again:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dEVxdmdRWFJRTjRoLWZVTHZkaTBQbkE6MQ&ndplr=1


If this isn't an admission of guilt...

Fill out the forum if you think you were wrongly targeted by the update.

I honestly don't think Google will manually remove any penguin penalties from you.....but if enough of us who were wrongly affected fill out this report, Google may change the part of penguin that wiped us off the face of the map.

Does this mean they don't know or can't see the collateral damage done by their updates? Or is this just an after-thought with regards to the common webmaster (the "mom and pop" guys like me and you).

Either way, I strongly urge you and everyone else to fill this out. There's a small chance that part of the penguin is defective and if enough of us fill it out, Google may roll it back a bit.


<<edit>> I found that link on Tech or one of the other "biggie" SEO forums/websites out there. I can't remember the name off the top of my head.

mike2010




msg:4447545
 3:47 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I found that link on Tech or one of the other "biggie" SEO forums/websites out there. I can't remember the name off the top of my head.


I was just gonna ask you that. Can you post the direct link to that thread, so we know were not filling that info out, only for it to go to some shady webmaster or something ?

It feels hesitant to think Google would actually wanna listen to us for a change.

thanks

nickreynolds




msg:4447549
 3:54 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

The form is linked to from searchenginewatch and searchengineland

Leosghost




msg:4447550
 3:58 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@mike2010..Why would a "feedback" form on Google docs https be going anywhere other than to Google ?..

I posted the link in the penguin thread that Noximus started and which BaseballGuy is also in ..as I said there ..this link is for "feedback" not "rollback" ..G never "rolls back"

Andy Langton




msg:4447552
 3:59 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I can confirm that the above Google Docs link is the form provided by Matt Cutts over Twitter, so it's an "official" link.

BaseballGuy




msg:4447553
 4:02 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Leosghost

Please tell me I didn't post a false link?

I remember reading about that link on a major SEO forum or website....I just can't remember the name. Everything looked legit so I decided to fill it out since I really have nothing to lose at this point in time.

netmeg




msg:4447554
 4:03 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's a legitimate form; tweeted out by Matt Cutts.

They never look into the human aspect


Yea, they don't. They can't. It wouldn't scale. It wouldn't work. It'd be even more subjective and random than it seems now.

If I posted five sites at random (obviously against the TOS here, but say I did) and asked for the sites to be ranked 1-5 on the basis of perceived spamminess (there's a word for ya), for every ten ratings, nine would disagree, and probably six or seven would disagree strongly to violently.

Judging site quality is like adult content - what some folks think is perfectly acceptable, others are take extreme offense at.

No, as bad as the algorithms may seem, I prefer them to random humans.

mike2010




msg:4447560
 4:08 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@mike2010..Why would a "feedback" form on Google docs https be going anywhere other than to Google ?.


Because any developer could create those docs. (not just official google people)

But it's good to see it's been mostly confirmed.

Leosghost




msg:4447562
 4:13 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@BaseballGuy.:)) No you posted a "legit" link..
you need to step back from the keyboard and breath deep and take a walk...wait it out for a few days..then look at where you are..what Google appears to think about your pages ..and what you might be able to do about what they appear to think..

As netmeg says, it is all automated, which depending on where it puts you sometimes can really suck, but if it was human it would be impossible to scale, much much worse and very very subjective, and we might all have to mention bacon polenta on each page ( but only on alternate Tuesdays) just to be indexed ;-)

Leosghost




msg:4447564
 4:20 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Because any developer could create those docs. (not just official google people)

But Matt would only point to the legit one..
But anyway..I can understand why you are getting jumpy as Negative SEO is also in the backs of the minds of many who had never heard of it before..

BTW ..Brinked just posted in that Penguin thread..he sat tight ..and ATM is only actually down one position from where he was at the beginning of "penguin"..

Sitting tight 'til the dust settles does let you see more clearly ..panic is bad for you ..beware of maya..

diberry




msg:4447567
 4:29 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Why is anyone still building websites that depend on search for their livelihood?

Social media is SUCH a powerful influencing tool. Please one visitor, make it easy for them to share this in FB, Twitter, Stumble, Pinterest, whatever, and they may let 5 to 100 people know you're awesome. Then some of those people come visit. Search never provided anything like this! It was one painfully obtained visitor at a time, and lots of them leaving in under 10 seconds because the search wasn't a good match.

No one's forcing you to depend on Google - years ago, it was hard to avoid, but it's so easy now!

[edited by: tedster at 1:01 am (utc) on May 10, 2012]

BaseballGuy




msg:4447568
 4:33 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Leos

Yeah man, I'm a bit nerve-wracked right now. I took a small step back as best I could this past weekend....am ready to make changes.

The only thing is it's going to be trial and error. I did not receive a Google Webmaster Tool warning, so am wondering if it's my inbound links that caused the drop?

The only "SEO" I did was a few manual blog comments done by hand over the course of 8? months. I did these myself and they were comments that participated in the discussion on highly relevant blogs. I did about 5-10 links per week by hand. Follow and no follow....as well as "click" here and optimal anchor text.

Yet, no message in GWMT.

I did have 7-8 affiliate links, but again, nothing over the top.


So all intelligent thought on my end, goes straight out the window with this one. There isn't a culprit that stands out here.....that's what frustrates me so much. That's why I feel helpless....it could be anything.

I also had some guy do some "negative SEO" to my site, based on the inbound links I can see.


I firmly believe that whatever caused my site to drop, is part of the reason Cutts released that Google Docs form for people to report their bad rankings due to penguin.

superclown2




msg:4447608
 6:09 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

No, as bad as the algorithms may seem, I prefer them to random humans.


After having had several sites nuked by 'human' reviewers, most of which were allowed back in after strong protests and the tiniest of changes, I have to agree. The algo is not perfect but this is the environment we work in, and it could be far worse. Be careful what you wish for; your wish may be granted.

superclown2




msg:4447609
 6:13 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

No one's forcing you to depend on Google - years ago, it was hard to avoid, but it's so easy now!


If you'd like to give us the blueprint you might become very popular <G>. I guess 90%+ of us are looking for a way to run our businesses which Google can't disrupt regularly.

netmeg




msg:4447612
 6:18 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

We're doing it with email, Facebook, Twitter, print catalogs (hey they still work!), flyers, affiliate programs, contests, giveaways, sponsorships... And much of it we financed with what we've made via Google.

mhansen




msg:4447617
 6:29 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

They never look into the human aspect


I would like to add that if you DO go to the Google Doc and complete the feedback form, don't focus on yourself and how badly the ranking change hurt you. Focus on the reasons your site is useful to their customers. Imagine if you will that you are emailing a webmaster of another website, asking them to share your site with their visitors... you are.

Don't say: I used to rank for "this money making term" for 10 years, and now its gone. My family is going to starve and we'll be firing staff.

Instead, Say: Our family run site offers your customers the ability to "solve this problem" or "buy this product" and we have a fully staffed warehouse in "this location", with experts in the field for "this many years" waiting to answer their questions.

Explain why your site deserves to promoted by them... to their customers... solving their problems. In the eternal words of Dr. Phil... "It Aint about You".

diberry




msg:4447619
 6:31 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Superclown I sounded really grumpy earlier - my apologies. I didn't mean to. The blueprint is mainly "what NetMeg said", but in more detail, what's worked for me starting six months ago is this:

--I unlearned all I knew about SEO
--I studied which of my pages and sites got the most engagement from visitors, in terms of comments and social media indicators, etc.
--I improved those pages and created more like them. This is where I spend a lot of my time.
--I made it as technically easy as possible for people to share my pages via social media, email, etc.
--I made it possible for people to follow my content feeds in lots of different ways.
--I broke way out of my comfort zone, spent some money and started a YouTube channel to promote one of my sites, because I knew that method would work for that niche. It takes a lot of work, making videos, but it's working. (Yeah, I know YT is G - but I don't depend on the YT channel for money, and it's not sending Google any info on my sites.)
--In one of my niches, people LOVE interacting with the webmaster via Twitter and Facebook, so I broke way out of my comfort zone and set up an anonymous Twitter account and a FB page (which doesn't link in anyway to my personal account), and spend a few minutes daily interacting with my "fans." It's working.

And last but not least? Monetize how you want, with no consideration for Google - just your visitors and what won't annoy them.

It's a full-time job, for sure, but after years of struggling with Google, I'm finally actually earning a full time living from my sites. I never got anywhere near that before I gave up SEO and embraced social media.

Now, I'm not claiming to be an expert or anything. This is more of a "If I can do it, anybody can" response. But I'm finding this both way easier and way more successful than struggling with SEO.

[edited by: tedster at 1:40 am (utc) on May 10, 2012]

willybfriendly




msg:4447620
 6:34 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

One thing I am seeing is this is about neglected sites as all the above 8 were being updated maybe once a month and had poor link development...


I see several former competitors outranking me. Some have not been in business for 2 or 3 years. The sites have just sat there...neglected.

breeks




msg:4447623
 6:47 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have ranked number one for a key phrase for several years and for good reason. Now I am number two, number one is a five year old article with outdated information. Nice job G.

n00b1




msg:4447640
 7:10 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Think yourself lucky you still have so much visibility. I know there is a world of difference between the number 1 and number 2 spot but I'd give a lot to even have my website on the first page for some of the phrases I used to be in the top 5 for. This is as frustrating as it is upsetting.

HuskyPup




msg:4447669
 8:23 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Social media is SUCH a powerful influencing tool. Please one visitor, make it easy for them to share this in FB, Twitter, Stumble, Pinterest, whatever, and they may let 5 to 100 people know you're awesome.


I'm guessing that you've never been in serious, large-scale production/manufacturing?

That's not how the real world with real products works, well, none in the real world that I inhabit!

Panthro




msg:4447674
 8:45 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Anybody noticing any difference between sites you have in GWT vs those that are not managed there?

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