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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]

 

Whitey




msg:4445686
 10:59 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

-Sites hit with sloppy backlink profiles from YEARS ago (adopted project) despite only adding quality diversified links for past 18 months

My sense is that this is accurate. The question is, will those phrases ever rank again using a quality backlink profile - clearly the pages can for other terms. 18 months of diversified link additions seems to suggest at best there is going to be a long delay.

Gshaughn




msg:4445694
 11:13 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Whitey
It's tough to clean up a backlink profile and someone else's bad linking practice. If I could edit it, I would. Requesting links be taken down by low quality sites seldom happens. If there was a 'reset' button on the backlink profile of one client i would definitely press it.

Gshaughn




msg:4445695
 11:16 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Whitey
A week ago the major keyword phrase (the one with the heavy anchor text exact match links) popped in from lost at #14, a week later #16, a week later #27, then gone-zo. Curious what that was about. Almost as if it escaped a filter temporarily. I know there has been a lot of fluctuation so I am not putting a lot into that particular incident, just noting.

arikgub




msg:4445700
 11:29 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's tough to clean up a backlink profile and someone else's bad linking practice.


Well, if what happened in this updates was that Google stopped counting the links, then you don't have to clean anything.

But if Google started penalizing for them .. well, start building links for your competitors :)

Methinks, it is extremely unlikely Google penalizes for the links. Cause if they do, the following sabotage attempts will re-define webspam and bring it to the unseen levels. In any case, many will be tempted to experiment with negative SEO after this update. It is gonna be nasty.

Gshaughn




msg:4445712
 11:47 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

They may not penalize, but if it is triggering some sort of diversification filter, adding more, and removing others to diversify might be helpful.

kidder




msg:4445718
 12:05 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

This is all about adwords and revenue and Google wanting ALL of the money, greedy company syndrome. The new rule - if you want rankings then pay for them via adwords, its not our traffic its theirs (Google) The free traffic party is winding up folks, time to adjust or find a day job. We've made significant changes since the Panda roll out, it turned out to be much easier and much more profitable than trying to reverse engineer this monster... And yes we're bending over and paying for traffic now.

realmaverick




msg:4445719
 12:09 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

I know Alexa isn't the most accurate tool, but apparently one of my competitors, a top 1,000 site, is 50% down in traffic over the past 24 hours. The other two, that I'd consider the major players are 20-30% down.

Despite still suffering from the Jan 19th update, no effect from this update so far.

Whitey




msg:4445721
 12:19 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Gshaughn - early days, but have you thought about ditching the effected URL's and putting up new ones with clean, good quality, diversified links. Would be a bit easier Y/N ?

btw - this is going to knock the EMD's around that had all their links pointing to their home page.

Is anyone seeing evidence of "excessive" exact match internal linking being caught up in this? [I'm seeing a strong brand using an internal exact match strategy to cover every phrase on the planet, and it looks intact].

[edited by: Whitey at 12:38 am (utc) on Apr 26, 2012]

kb73




msg:4445724
 12:32 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

The blog post from Google is saying that this update is going live in all languages at the same time - but,it does not say that it's going live in all countries at the same time.

Does anyone know if this has hit Australia yet?

Shadoze




msg:4445725
 12:33 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have a really basic question for everyone. Why in 2012 is anyone still building an online business model where a substantial percentage of revenue is dependent on anything related to Google?

Whitey




msg:4445726
 12:35 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Does anyone know if this has hit Australia yet?

Yes - it's global

kidder




msg:4445727
 12:39 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yeah its hit AU sites for sure..

kb73




msg:4445731
 12:44 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks Whitey, surprising as I'm not seeing change in my niche at all when I thought I would. Have confirmed similar findings with other local webmasters here as well. Maybe there's less 'spam' to go around down here...

realmaverick




msg:4445732
 12:46 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have a really basic question for everyone. Why in 2012 is anyone still building an online business model where a substantial percentage of revenue is dependent on anything related to Google?


There are many of us who built this model long ago, before these dark days. I care about my site and members and don't want to just ditch it.

Everybody has their reasons, but ultimately, if I was starting a new business today, it wouldn't involve Google. Which is perhaps a sign of things to come.

At present, Google must feel like king of the world, heck they are king of the world. But in the end, they'll destroy the entire eco system.

kb73




msg:4445733
 12:46 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yeah its hit AU sites for sure..


thanks for confirmation...

Web_speed




msg:4445735
 12:51 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have a really basic question for everyone. Why in 2012 is anyone still building an online business model where a substantial percentage of revenue is dependent on anything related to Google?


@Shadozem, I concord!

substantial = 95% of web business/traffic

Its an absurd!

Lets only hope that the FTC investigation into this pile of $hit will conclude fast and result with nothing but breaking this greedy monster into very small pieces. They should not be allowed to continue like that. What they've been doing lately is beyond "wrong". Amazing actually, MC and his "spam team" can influence millions of web businesses and even world economies at will...

That's what our very "technological" world has advanced to!

Whitey




msg:4445743
 1:39 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

surprising as I'm not seeing change in my niche at all when I thought I would

@kb73 - why are you surprised? - i'd like to hear your views.

Folks who are most likely to use excessive anchor text in spammy backlinks are most likely to be pushing for major trophy terms, otherwise they wouldn't need to bother. Is that how you are seeing it in your vertical?

This update can only be about linking and content excess', such as the extreme example MC gave. Links is where most of the hurt is I'm guessing.

errorsamac




msg:4445745
 1:49 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's tough to clean up a backlink profile and someone else's bad linking practice. If I could edit it, I would. Requesting links be taken down by low quality sites seldom happens.


Why not threaten to sue the sites that are linking to you? You might also have some luck going after their hosting/domain providers too if they don't take down the links. I know it's extreme but it's either don't rank again or go on the offensive and get the links removed (like Google wants you to do).

kb73




msg:4445747
 1:56 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Whitey, I've recently taken over an in-house role where 80% of traffic to one of our sites comes from 10 'trophy' terms to about 6 pages of a 1000+ page site. It turns out the previous SEO on this site was based completely around extensive backlink campaigns (mind you, nothing overly spammy) over a few years. Our product is definitely useful, but I think our competitors are probably better. I was expecting to lose rankings with this update but, so far, it does not seem to have happened.

onepointone




msg:4445748
 2:02 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

What if someone sprayed 1000's of spammy links at ALL the top 20 sites or so in a niche, maybe 100's of niches? Of course the authority sites would still rank. What about the others?

Would G penalize them all? Maybe the SERP's wouldn't change? Or maybe G has to find another way to rank quality of sites?

WebChicken




msg:4445755
 2:14 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

This IS A PENALTY.

My site was penalized SITE WIDE.

Dumb SEO idiot I hired spammed my back links.

Google hit my site hard.

My other sites are ranking as they always did. Good SEO from the ground up and I write great articles that get published.

Crap...

This is not that they are not counting those crappy back links - this is certainly a PENALTY.

Hell, my name does not even come up with my city and industry....

Whitey




msg:4445756
 2:20 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

@kb73 - but if the trophy terms were not highly competitive then the amount of links may not have been excessively over optimized. Am i right ?

I think this is why you are in a better position than those chasing bigger kw's.

A few occassional spam links here and there are not going to hurt as they will have minimal impact on results.

kb73




msg:4445762
 2:47 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

@kb73 - but if the trophy terms were not highly competitive then the amount of links may not have been excessively over optimized. Am i right ?

I think this is why you are in a better position than those chasing bigger kw's.

A few occassional spam links here and there are not going to hurt.


Probably - keywords are mid level keywords and competitors have traditionally bought in AdWords rather than chased hard in organic.

Looks like we've dodged a bullet...this time. I think it's time to improve the product and diversify traffic to other parts of the site. :)

BillyS




msg:4445766
 3:05 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Okay, we've been whacked with just about every update since October except for this one. Maybe Google's feeling bad for us... Point is, I can empathize with the pain.

Anyway, we never really played with links. The couple we exchanged happened eight years ago and they're long gone. I'd describe our current profile as pretty strong, we have many .gov and .edu

From what I'm reading it seems like this particular update focused on off-page items, primarily backlinks. What else do people see?

Regular_Joe




msg:4445767
 3:05 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Interesting observation here: [productforums.google.com...]

Webmaster got three of his paid links changed to nofollow, and that instantly showed in WMT, while his other removed, non-paid, link totals didn't change.

Is G paying closer attention to paid links, or was this just a fluke?

indyank




msg:4445768
 3:12 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Why not threaten to sue the sites that are linking to you? You might also have some luck going after their hosting/domain providers too if they don't take down the links. I know it's extreme but it's either don't rank again or go on the offensive and get the links removed (like Google wants you to do).


You will have to first understand that these days it is impossible to take action against every site linking to you as several new ones pop up everyday. Google tells the world that it cannot be responsible for its users action on its own sites (youtube and everything else) and they fight SOPA vigorously. When they with so much money couldn't or doesn't want to take responsibility for illegal acts of its users on its web properties from which they mint money in bulk, how reasonable it is to expect other sites to constantly moderate their sites for such things as external links on which they might have no control?

martinacastro




msg:4445776
 3:52 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have 2 sites, one was hit by the update and the other one No.

The share 73% of link profile...so only 27% of the links are from different websites.

scottsonline




msg:4445798
 5:01 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Negative seo works right now. If you have a site that has been hit and can identify the links that caused the harm pointing a few of those elsewhere will hurt the destination. It's subtle, knocking them from 1 to 2, or 2 to 4 but it happens.

Particularly if it is just a few links from each source. It appears to be guilt by association. I can't figure out if they are trying to flush out bad sites or if it is just a hole in the algo but high quality links from high ranking sites can actually hurt right now. Think about the person reporting good "press" drove them down. Same idea.

Scary.

Rasputin




msg:4445799
 5:07 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Having loooked at a lot of sites affected it seems the main factors are:

- slightly or very unnatural link profile as the main factor
- links to affiliates (not an SEO component so surprised if this is really a factor but it looks to be the case)
- possibly exact match domain names and urls being downgraded

I think as usual with google updates it is several factors together being used.

I haven't yet seen evidence of on-site factors such as excessive keywords in titles being involved (perhaps because regular non-SEO sites are just as likely to get this 'wrong' as sites with SEO over-optimisation).

Does this sound consistent with other observations?

martinacastro




msg:4445806
 5:24 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Rasputin

one site that was not affected, has links affiliates the other 2 affected site have aff links.

other non affected sites have affiliate links.

So I saw some affected sites with affiliate links but I dont see this as something of this update... yes the content and yes something about the backlink profile...

As I told, the site not affected shares 73% of backlinks from the same websites than the affected website, so for this reason I don't understand yet which is the difference, and why one site is affected and the other one no...

jonathanleger




msg:4445815
 5:53 am on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Oh, this is rich:

Go to the blog post where Matt Cutts announced this disastrous update:

[googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com...]

There he says:

Notice that if you try to read the text aloud you’ll discover that the outgoing links are completely unrelated to the actual content, and in fact the page text has been “spun” beyond recognition:


And he puts an image that is an excerpt from this page:

profitmonarchs.com /get-fit-using-these-simple-and-easy-methods/

Click the link ("pay day loan") and note the domain name you end up on. Then go to Google and search for "pay day loan".

Guess who's ranking very, very well for "pay day loan"?

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