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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]

 

netmeg




msg:4448092
 6:20 pm on May 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

What has that got to do with anything? I don't understand why you are so spiky. Have I said something offensive? Perhaps you have pre judged me as a spammer as my site has been affected? If so, I resent it.


No, I object to sweeping statements about how all or most ecommerce sites must be actively pursuing links, or even know what SEO *is*. The fact that you see a lot of it in your niche does not mean that "everyone is doing it" by any means.

What you see in your SERPs is not necessarily representative the the update, the web, ecommerce, or anything but what you see in your SERPs. Even if you were monitoring a hundred niches, it's still drop in the bucket of the total. I get calls every week from small business owners who have no idea what SEO is about or even that they need to found in Google. There's still a huge Field of Dreams "if you build it they will come" mentality amongst people who are not in our industry.

We all *must* think outside of our immediate circumstances, be they good or bad, if we want to continue to keep our sites and businesses as going concerns on the web.

willybfriendly




msg:4448094
 6:23 pm on May 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

FWIW, I am now seeing some sites that link to mine outranking me.

Some of these were sites I built back in the day - some a decade or more ago - when I picked up some extra cash freelancing. for many there is not much to them.

Might be worth taking a closer look about how anchor text in OBL's is effecting ranking of a page...

SnowMan68




msg:4448095
 6:24 pm on May 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ netmeg

Wasn't your comment directed towards me anyways?

netmeg




msg:4448096
 6:39 pm on May 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

ork ork I don't even remember.

SnowMan68




msg:4448122
 7:39 pm on May 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

is that a pig? lol

diberry




msg:4448126
 8:24 pm on May 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Randle, I totally support your skepticism. :) That said:

"Before you you claim total innocence to this brutal persecution, ask your self if the phrase “anchor text” has rolled off the tip of your tongue in the past year."

Actually, no, it hasn't. The honest truth is, I was never remotely competent at SEO. I know what anchor text is, but a lot of the stuff you guys talk about, and virtually all the log analysis you guys go, is absolutely Greek to me. It's a little embarrassing to admit, but the truth is, I just never got it. I had gotten as far as submitting my sites to directories back in 2004-2005 (not this site - it came later) on the advice of other webmasters. Then I heard that might do more harm than good, and quit doing it.

And I never attempted anything else SEO. Partly because it was all beyond me, but also out of paranoia that Google would always catch it sooner or later. I would worry that I was using too many keywords when I just wrote naturally (since it is a good practice, according to English class, to mention your subject now and again through an essay). My version of SEO after that was to have a good site structure, internal linking that would please visitors, and to use nofollow because MAtt Cutts told me to. That was it. That was why I didn't make any money for a very, very long time.

And then in 2011, I decided to stop worrying about search traffic, period.

Interestingly, an SEO service just emailed me through my site promising a free examination of why my site got dinged. I'm sure it's just someone drumming up business and I'll probably learn nothing if I don't pay (and honestly, it's not worth $5 to me), but it'll be interesting if they do say anything.

Once again, I'm not claiming to be an expert or a paragon of virtue or anything. I'm just some amateur who was failing at the very basics of SEO when she started hearing it might actually do more harm than good anyway, and quit in a fit of paranoia. :D

Hence my "hmmm" at this dinging. Like I said, I have no problem with the site being dinged because it's not great, LOL. But I do take issue with the claim that it was dinged because of gaming. Mostly because I wouldn't know how.

[edited by: tedster at 1:42 am (utc) on May 10, 2012]

willybfriendly




msg:4448199
 12:04 am on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

The snarky comments about "gaming" google are not going to go over well.

There was a time that Google all but told us to do some of the things that they now are calling spam. Linking goes back to PageRank and the tool bar, with a pitch about how it indicated the popularity of one's site. There was a time when we were told "freshness" was rewarded. We were told "content is king". We were told the importance of a proper 301 redirect.

Google offered queries that helped to reverse engineer - allinanchor, allintitle, etc.

It was all presented to us under the guise of helping G to determine relevance.

So, now accusations of people of gaming the system are certain to fall flat. It is not the webmaster's problem (except for traffic of course) that they engaged in accepted, or even recommended practices over the course of the last decade, and it is kind of silly to expect them to go back and change things that are off site.

If linking lies at the heart of the G algo, then it is incumbent on G to figure out how to get it right. They created the link monster with their algg. They created the spam monster with adsense. If they would commit adequate resources to clean up adsense spam sites it would go a long way to solving all their problems.

Enough pontificating though. I would simply suggest taking it easy on each other in these forums. Not everyone has gamed the system, and many have simply tried to build a site that was worthy of ranking high in its niche.

diberry




msg:4448253
 4:53 am on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

"If linking lies at the heart of the G algo, then it is incumbent on G to figure out how to get it right. They created the link monster with their algg. They created the spam monster with adsense. If they would commit adequate resources to clean up adsense spam sites it would go a long way to solving all their problems. "

Yes, but we first started singing that refrain when they suddenly declared paid text links - a pre-Google method of building one's traffic - a no no because it messed with the algo. While a lot of people WERE only doing paid links to game the algo, there was nothing actually wrong with the practice itself, when done correctly (that is, in a way that pleased site visitors rather than irritated them).

But Google successfully killed that practice in order to protect their algo. They'll keep on trying to manipulate us into whatever behavior suits them best. Why wouldn't they? No one's stopping them, and there have been no bad consequences - for them.

[edited by: tedster at 1:42 am (utc) on May 10, 2012]

kidder




msg:4448285
 7:39 am on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

There was a time that Google all but told us to do some of the things that they now are calling spam.


Yep and in 6 months it might be a link bait penalty for what people are doing to "attract" links today... A press release might well be considered manipulation next week. Got my first negative SEO spam email today, I expect more to follow.

Jez123




msg:4448290
 7:54 am on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yep and in 6 months it might be a link bait penalty for what people are doing to "attract" links today... A press release might well be considered manipulation next week.


And I can see that google might penalise you for what you do to attract likes or +'s on social networks as they are a signal too (so they say). The competition that I have on FB at the moment to give away some stuff I made a year ago might be seen as bad. I am going to move to North Korea where people still have some freedom :-)

Jez123




msg:4448291
 7:58 am on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I am just seeing the issue with plural and non plural. One of my main KW's is #1 for the singular and about page 5 (after Penguin) for the plural. Obviously, google suggests the plural :(

Wilburforce




msg:4448365
 10:30 am on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I am just seeing the issue with plural and non plural. One of my main KW's is #1 for the singular and about page 5 (after Penguin) for the plural. Obviously, google suggests the plural :(


One of my pages - demoted from #2 to #21 for <terms> - isn't in the top 200 for <term>, even though the page title and subject is <term>, not <terms>. <term> is at #4 and <terms> at #5 in Bing results.

The whole thing is a mess.

foxtunes




msg:4448397
 11:47 am on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I see a site with no content, just a H1 tag and image on the page ranking top 10 for a competitive keyword phrase.

Also I see firms whose backlink profile comprises of little more than 100s of paid for homepage backlinks in footers and sidebars on unrelated, high PR sites.

I agree with a recent post on the popular Gizmodo tech blog:

"Did Google just make Bing the best search engine?"

nickreynolds




msg:4448409
 12:24 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Same for me with plurals.
Inner page was ranked on first page for both singular and plural.
Singular has dropped one place, plural is down on page 6.
Similar to Wilburforce above, it's the one that it is least optimised for that ranks best - ie plural in title, description tag and h1, but singular ranks best!

crobb305




msg:4448443
 1:47 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

FWIW, I am now seeing some sites that link to mine outranking me.

Some of these were sites I built back in the day - some a decade or more ago - when I picked up some extra cash freelancing. for many there is not much to them.


I see the same thing. I was about to comment on it. Sites that link to me are outranking me for some phrases. A search for my own company name puts me at #3, but a site linking to me is at #1.

nippi




msg:4448446
 1:50 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm not seeing any sites penalised that were not gaming the system.

None.

netmeg




msg:4448453
 2:09 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

FWIW I was having issues with plurals and stemming long before this particular update. Even with AdWords, Google can give vastly different quality scores, none of which makes any sense to me. Seems like compared to everything else they're trying to do, this should be pretty basic stuff.

netmeg




msg:4448454
 2:12 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

(sorry, somehow this response ended up in the wrong post. weird)

[edited by: netmeg at 2:19 pm (utc) on May 2, 2012]

Ummon




msg:4448456
 2:14 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

In one of my niches, every single site that was on the front page pre-penguin has been wiped out (including my own). I just can't figure it out, were we all manipulating google?

nippi




msg:4448459
 2:16 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Not hard to tell. How about you do a backlink check on them all and let us know?

mike2010




msg:4448469
 2:41 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)



An interesting article related to Penguin Update!

Google Penguin Update: Petition Calls For Google To Kill It - Another Google update costing businesses [webpronews.com...]


It's a good piece, but Google doesn't give a rats ass how much we complain...so what's the use ?

As usual, their helping the rich get richer with the latest update.

netmeg




msg:4448476
 2:54 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google will never kill it. It would set a horrible precedent from their standpoint. I'm sure that we'll get an interview from Matt or someone else in a few weeks about how well it worked and how much the users love it. Whether or not webmasters love it is not one of their priorities.

mike2010




msg:4448478
 3:05 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)


One of my pages - demoted from #2 to #21 for


be proud about that. I went from #3 (held strong for 5 months straight) to 'nowhere to be found'.

mrguy




msg:4448485
 3:13 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm sure that we'll get an interview from Matt or someone else in a few weeks about how well it worked and how much the users love it.
Even though the users they ask are all in house in the plex.

Forget about sites losing ranks. The sites that gained are downright poor for the results.

For example, Angies list is showing up for a lot of searches I do for reviews and that site is a paid site. In order to see the review, you have to become a member.

There is no way those results help visitors. Unless of course Gorgle gets a commission for sending them which I wouldn't put past them at this point.

scottb




msg:4448494
 3:24 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've lost 1/2 my traffic on a site with all original content that doesn't use unnatural link building or "game the system" in any way, unless you count a moderate amount of content marketing as unnatural.

A secondary site with 1/5 the amount of content and far fewer links to it has gained traffic.

I've always tried carefully to follow Google's guidelines and recommendations of reputable SEO experts. I really don't get it.

mike2010




msg:4448497
 3:27 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Maybe lawsuits will soon follow.

From all the money webmasters spent over the last several years on what 'they' believed were whitehat techniques...and were recognized in the SEO world as whitehat. Only to be 'hiddenly' known as blackhat to Google.

Seems like now 'just' if your site appears on some of these link circle sites...you are completely penalized. (in which any of your competitive partners could submit your site to)

And just like that, one's business is completely ruined.

(3 posts in an hour, I think i'm done here for the day)

willybfriendly




msg:4448539
 4:28 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Talk about results. Single word term (e.g. 'widgets')

#1 - Wikipedia
#2 - Commercial Trade Organization
#3 - Commercial Trade Group (different than #1)
#4 - My site, but an only tangentially related inner page
#5 - 11 year old bankrate article that I have seen burble to the top during times of flux in the serps
#6 - "Not Found The requested URL was not found on this server."
#7 - EMD commercial site (e.g. 'widgets.com')
#8 - Small commercial site of no consequence that I can tell
#9 - EMD commercial site (e.g. 'widget.com' - note the singular term)
#10 - Small commercial site of no consequence

Good news? Serps are still in flux, and personally I have a page back in the top 10 (for now).

As an average user, the serps appear to have a commercial bias (I have seen this in general across a broad range of queries). Google is becoming more of a catalogue aggregator than an organizer of information. But then, I suppose the web has become more of a marketplace than a research tool...

diberry




msg:4448540
 4:30 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

"And I can see that google might penalise you for what you do to attract likes or +'s on social networks as they are a signal too (so they say). The competition that I have on FB at the moment to give away some stuff I made a year ago might be seen as bad."

I believe this will definitely happen sooner or later, because scaring webmasters away from Facebook is the only way G* can possibly take back some power from them. This is exactly why I think social media and tactics that work with it are the way to go - FB and others don't issue penalties for getting people to like/retweet/whatever your sites. They do have rules for the use of their sites, but these rules are very clear and you only have to follow them to stay in good standing. None of this mystery about why your Adsense account got banned or you got dropped in the SERPs or whatever.

Going from a focus on search to a focus on social media is like dumping a significant other who never supported you, cheated on you and snubbed you without telling you why, and seeing somebody who is reasonable and transparent about what they want and what they won't tolerate from you.

Because unlike Google, Facebook is actually NOT your competitor (unless you run a social networking site).

[edited by: tedster at 1:43 am (utc) on May 10, 2012]

ErnestHemingway




msg:4448551
 4:42 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I will not touch a single website. I spent past 4 days 10-12 hours daily on PC to perform various different keywords searches and the results are very fascinating. I would be very shocked if they do not come up with another update very soon. The collateral damage is insane.

For a keyword like "how to play widget". (pretty competitive term)

#1 ign (just title page)
#2 wordpress.com blog (empty with just title)
#3 MFA site
rest is junk as well

It seems like if you did a lot of link building then you are probably penguined by Google.

The results are bad because people ranking on top don't deserve it either but Google is happy about it, because next quarter the revenues will spike further.

Because Adword Ads are so good, better than actual results.

coachm




msg:4448553
 4:47 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

They do have rules for the use of their sites, but these rules are very clear and you only have to follow them to stay in good standing. None of this mystery about why your Adsense account got banned or you got dropped in the SERPs or whatever.


It's only clear until YOU lose an account :) Seriously, there have certainly been cases where companies or individuals lost theirs without having any idea of why. Same for app builders for Facebook. And for Twitter.

You might want to keep in mind that hte average search user has no idea of the "rules" for webmasters, and the same applies to Facebook, so unless you are active on the development side of Facebook, you might not know about the situations that have happened in the past.

As for Facebook not competition? Interesting, but do I sense some bias towards FB here? I don't see FB or Google has been any more or less in competition with me. One difference is that Google sends me traffic, albeit a lot less than it used to, and Facebook sends me none. I have to build specifically for FB, and not for Goog.

Both affect and compete for eyeballs.

Shaddows




msg:4448555
 4:54 pm on May 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

But then, I suppose the web has become more of a marketplace than a research tool

True enough. But if I do actual academic searches, I get academic results. Including Wiki, which I think is fine as not everyone wants University- (AKA "College-") level results for said queries. Making sure the spectrum of likely query-intents are met is the goal.

ook is actually NOT your competitor
Facebook is a platform. There is nothing stopping them adding services to that platform once they have consolidated their bases.

Look at Google. It was only after their IPO that they seriously shifted from symbiote towards parasite. It was only after "Google" became a verb for search that they started pushing the rest of their portfolio.

Like Facebook is doing now, they spent their first few years gaining trust (Google did better than FB there) and mining data (arguably FB are ahead in THAT department).

Anyway, any commercial entity that isn't you is not pro-you, which isn't to say they are anti-you either. And that is true for both G and FB.

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