homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from
register, free tools, login, search, pro membership, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Become a Pro Member
Home / Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: Robert Charlton & aakk9999 & brotherhood of lan & goodroi

Google SEO News and Discussion Forum

This 132 message thread spans 5 pages: < < 132 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 > >     
Matt Cutts confirms Penguin Data Refresh - Oct 5, 2012

 12:42 am on Oct 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Looks like it finally happened!

Weather report: Penguin data refresh coming today. 0.3% of English queries noticeably affected.


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 1:56 am (utc) on Oct 6, 2012]
[edit reason] fixed link [/edit]



 7:25 am on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

That sounds good. Did you do anything with the site between updates?


 8:51 am on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ perren,

yes, massive backlink removal and backlink profile quality improvement.


 10:17 am on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)


If you don't mind me asking, what type of 'bad' backlinks did you manage to remove?

Has your site recovered to where it was ranking pre-penguin? Which penguin update was it that hit your site?



 11:46 am on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Very interesting. What do you mean by this "backlink profile quality improvement." also?


 1:07 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Did you make onsite/navigational changes, or only inbound links?


 1:16 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Spunkle can you share any metrics on your recovery plan?

Like total number of links to your site when Penguin hit?

% that were artificial links?

Anchor text distribution?

When and over how long of a period of time did you remove these links?

Did you get 'all' or just most of the bad links?

Did you modify some links as opposed to removing them (like changing the anchor text)?


 2:20 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't see how anyone can have a "full" recovery from Penguin by removing backlinks, because their removal most likely has reduced the amount of "pagerank juice" coming into your site. Since this lost "pagerank juice" had previously pushed up your rankings, but is now no longer doing so, your rankings and traffic shouldn't be expected to return to their previous level.

In fact, even if you don't remove any backlinks, Penguin most likely devalued them anyway, so you have still lost a lot of pagerank juice that they previously provided. So even in this case your rankings and traffic probably won't to return to their previous level.

Of course you might be able to replace the lost pagerank juice by acquiring new natural-looking backlinks with the same power. But that's probably the only way to make a "full" recovery.


 2:27 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Aristotle...the issue with that is that many of us knew what our rank was before we built links. We specifically were a strong #2 in with a very competitive key phrase before we built links...so our organic links were/are that strong that we shouldn't be dependent on the the fake links to get us back to page #1. So logically, if we didn't need the fake links to get us to page 1 (albeit not #1 overall), then removing the fake links should restore us to our old position (in theory).


 2:31 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yea the question is if you have to do both or just add new links. Maybe the old links hold the new links back, but sure such a move from Google will benefit negative seo too much.


 2:40 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

the question is if you have to do both or just add new links

Any links you can add yourself are probably exactly what Google is looking to penalise you for.


 3:11 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I see your point. You created the "fake" backlinks after you had already reached the #2 ranking for your targeted keyword, so removing them should return you to your previous situation. Except according to your earlier posts, Google is apparently still penalizing you for them even after they are gone.

The only real solution is for Google to scrap the penalization part of Penguin. I can understand why they would devalue un-natural backlinks, but don't see why they should penalize you for them, especially since they can't always be certain who was responsible for creating them. And as others have pointed out, it opens the way for competitors to sabotage your rankings. It's a basic flaw in their algorithm, and it is harming the web.


 3:29 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

A very nice solution to all of this...would be if google followed through with the 'disavow' link option they talked about coming up for WMT.

That would solve so many problems...and google would have a great new source of data to find bad backlinks.


 3:41 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Re: not seeing any changes even though lots of alterations made to link profile and site. Perhaps Google doesn't want to make it so easy and is watching sites to see if there is any other progress being made other than clean-ups, i.e. new pages, new links, and whatever other metrics they deem important nowadays. And if sites continue to progress there will be improvement come another refresh.


 3:53 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

@textex I doubt I will be around to see the next update. I was really hoping to be let out on this one. Plus the changes and link losses have destroyed my Bing rankings so now down to zero traffic apart from the odd image search and longtail from Bing. Have had to cut right back on adwords as running out of money fasy - plus, it just DOES NOT convert!

I am amazed so few have come out of it. Maybe google has something else up its sleeve - or possibly our sites are never to return.


 4:10 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Perren - I can't be certain it was Penguin, but the timing of page shifts coincided with Penguin 1 & 2, and yes, penalising on the basis of backlinks makes negative SEO easier (there have been a number of posts in earlier threads on this).

So Google creates a situation where all your competitors build lots of links to de-rank your site and the results will eventually be:

All good sites will no longer rank
The good sites will get a link boost and rank well in Bing & Yahoo.

Users see results are no longer good in Google and move to Bing & Yahoo.

Moral of the story - karma gives out what it gets.


 4:25 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

@financialhost I just hope karma hurries up about it.

To add insult to injury I had my competitor (whom I also suspect of some negative SEO on my site) was frantically clicking my ads the other day. I had to block his IP address. He is trying to finish me off.


 6:09 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I already see more big changes in my sector this morning. Sites that soared on Friday, are sinking again today. I see one domain that moved from page 3 to page 1 just since yesterday. Either Penguin takes a very long time, or I am seeing the other 95% of algorithm changes that we never get notified about. The financial sector is an absolute mess. Consumer beware.


 6:25 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

My rankings slightly improved with this update. Getting #2 slots on queries I used to rank at #3-4 for. My links are 100% organic. However, it's not an affiliate site like many here. Covers news and has some social aspects.


 7:03 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Have you made any changes to your site, deleted any backlinks, or acquired any new backlinks, since Penquin originally hit it?

Also, is it possible that your recent rankings improvements were the result of other sites being demoted in the latest Penguin refresh?


 7:33 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Looking at WMT data for my site it certainly looks as if something is going on.

Ordering position by the "change" column, the first 25 terms have apparently risen in position by 90 to 600 places, several (I have checked the results to confirm current position) to first-page positions, although rises of e.g. 200 places to e.g. #65 are more common.

This has the look of penalties being fully or partly lifted.

There are 5 pages (25 entries per page) of gains greater than one whole page.

In the opposite direction, there are 6 pages of losses greater than one whole page, with two whole pages (more than 50 terms) that have fallen more than 100 places.

Again, this has the look of penalty rather than normal movement.

Some of the risen terms are similar to the fallen terms, and I can't see what logic - if there is any - might be behind it.

Overall, nearly 18% of terms reported in WMT have changed position by over at least one page, and nearly 5% by more than 10 pages. If this is replicated on other domains, it suggests considerable instability.

Has anyone else found similar movement reported in WMT?


 7:59 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I still don't buy that this was a Panda data refresh on Oct 4-5th. I feel it's something else (related, suggestion as you type, etc) on those specific dates.

We manage a site that was hit by the first Penguin on April 24th. We also have access to several others through our work, and spotted a site or two with noticeable drops over the period of Oct 4-5th. (20-30% drop of G* referrals)

The latest update that MC is claiming to be a Penguin data refresh (October 4-5th) bears no resemblance to the original to us. It's a data refresh of a different color more or less.

In this October update, even though G* referrals are down 20-30% on the two affected sites, rankings, or serp results, are very static and almost identical.

What we HAVE lost however is the diversity of the longtail. In other words, when we check the longtail traffic that no longer comes to the site, we still rank #1 for those phrases, the only difference is:

A - People Suddenly stopped looking for those phrases
B - Google reduced the number of "related queries or auto-complete search"
C - Sites experiencing the 20-30% drop of G* referrals are NOT affected by this Panda update, just waiting for the search suggestion database to re-fill.

Nothing else makes sense. Please enlighten me otherwise... I realize Penguin is a play on the search queries, but with the results we see, the drop is not "Site has been hit by Penguin" as much as it is "The queries are no longer the same".


[edited by: mhansen at 8:53 pm (utc) on Oct 8, 2012]


 8:14 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)


I haven't removed any backlinks. Most of our links are editorial and from users sharing content on forums. We've gotten links from some high-authority sites the past few weeks (top 1K alexa).

The site above us right now is an EMD, but the site that used to hold the #2 spot has been demoted to #7-8 depending on the query. That site is heavily SEO optimized, they have a lot of content but it's more of a information harvester - similar to eHow but targeted towards a specific niche. Looking at Alexa their traffic is falling big time, -10K over the last 3 months.


 8:49 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)


When you mean "backlink profile quality improvement." you mean that you udpate the anchor text for generic terms, like domain name, brand name and other anchors like "click here", etc?

which kind of links you removed? For example links from banned or penalized sites?



[edited by: martinacastro at 9:11 pm (utc) on Oct 8, 2012]


 8:51 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks setzer
It sounds to me like your site's pages only fell slightly (1-3 places) when Penguin originally hit it. That's what also mostly happened on my two Penguinized sites. I think these slight drops were due to a devaluation of low-quaility backlinks.

But some sites were hit much harder, in a way that resembles an active penalty.

I think there are two aspects to Penguin:

1. A devaluation of low-quality backlinks that cause small ranking losses.

2. An active penalty applied to some sites in addition to the backlink devaluation.


 2:08 am on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

a devaluation of low-quality backlinks that cause small ranking losses.

Hmmm - why do you think that would that need to be part of Penguin when it's already something Google does anyway? I'm not saying it isn't, mind you, but it would be kind of a "double indemnity" thing, right?


 2:39 am on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think these slight drops were due to a devaluation of low-quaility backlinks.

@aristotle - why not other factors involving onsite quality?

Also, when someone says they went up a slot or down a slot, how can anyone be sure of what Google is presenting to users, where and why. There are so many factors that ranking No1, or No3 etc is mostly a redundant expression for many webmasters. It's far more complex these days.

And, my view is that exact diagnosis is getting further blurred with all these algo tweaks.

The bottom line is all SEO's should know what the centralising factors are for manipulating the SERP's. If you strip this back to basic guidelines, and ask yourself how would my site rank if i did nothing but rely on good original content and design with good architecture, plus maybe a single authority link, you get closer to the nub of all reasons.

One can build back from there in modern day SERP's. With quite legitimate improvements.

Google has been moving strongly away from game ranking twists for sometime - and I'm not saying you are one, but many participants in discussions are playing around with things they can never control, or deeds they did in the past which cannot be undone.

That's a part of the reason brands, i believe, are surviving, as they've been given an exemption, for now. Just look at what they've been up to - true some have deep pockets to fix previous mistakes and we have seen some "examples" made out of brand offenders - but not often.


 7:46 am on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

A wordpress blog of mine seems to have been revitalized, the only actions I took were to get rid of all the ghost urls wordpress creates with the auto-complete url redirect function. Test it out on your own wordpress site to see if redirect is creating multiple urls of the same content.

example.com/this-is-a-widget-article <--- intended
example.com/this-is-a-widget-artic <--- and below, all wordpress created "ghost" urls that GWT now reports as 404
example.com/this-is-a-w.. etc


 7:56 am on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi Sgt, not sure I understand. When I type example.com/this-is-a-widget-artic it automatically completes and loads example.com/this-is-a-widget-article but on other pages I try it just gives me a 404.


 10:05 am on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yesterday (Monday 8th) we saw our .co.uk website traffic up 20%. However, the pages we thought were hit by Penguin that we worked to improve don't seem to have moved.


 10:10 am on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

a devaluation of low-quality backlinks that cause small ranking losses.

Hmmm - why do you think that would that need to be part of Penguin when it's already something Google does anyway? I'm not saying it isn't, mind you, but it would be kind of a "double indemnity" thing, right?

Tedster -
I was sloppy in how I stated it. Rather than "low-quality" backlinks, I think it was actually a devaluation of backlinks that appeared to be purchased or artificially built, particularly those with anchor text containing keywords. The reason I associate it with Penguin is because the effects on my two Penguinized sites appeared on April 24, which was confirmed by Google as the date of the original Penguin rollout.

Whitey - You're right. I probably should have included onsite factors, particularly signs of over-optimization, as an aspect of Penguin.

I did that whole post hurriedly and sloppily, and should have been more careful and thoughtful.


 11:54 am on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I really expected recovery in this refresh.

The site i'm working on was hit in May refresh and had about 30 linking domains (2,000 links) with targeted anchor text at the homepage. Those links came from a press release and 2 directories. That was about 25% of the total linking domains then.

I cut that down to just 4 link domains and 14 actual links.

At the same time, the site earned new backlinks from places like the library of congress, got into DMOZ, won awards, got on Forbes, and a few edu mentions. These links all used either example.com, example, www.example.com, or http://www.example.com as anchor text.

Don't know what else to make of it.

The site did have massive outage on Sept. 29th and part of the 30th. Crawl rate has been very, very low since then. That shouldn't matter with these algos right ?

This 132 message thread spans 5 pages: < < 132 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 > >
Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  

Home / Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved