Google: Can't Recover From Penguin? Start A New Site

May 11, 2012 • 8:32 am | comments (36) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

PenguinDanny Sullivan published a new story yesterday named Two Weeks In, Google Talks Penguin Update, Ways To Recover & Negative SEO.

In that article, he interviews Google's spam lead, Matt Cutts on ways to recover from the Google Penguin update. There are some solid tips there but scary ones also.

Here is one that is scary for those who were hit by the Penguin update:

If you've cleaned and still don't recover, ultimately, you might need to start all over with a fresh site, Cutts said.

Yes, that is scary for someone who was hit, is trying to frantically make changes but has not seen any recovery. Now, if you have not seen a recovery yet - I wouldn't worry, I don't think they refreshed the update yet, so there wouldn't be any recoveries in my opinion.

But Google is not going to roll this back. Google's Matt Cutts said, "It's been a success from our standpoint." Were there false positives? Few Cutts said, "we've seen a few cases where we might want to investigate more, but this change hasn't had the same impact as Panda or Florida." Very interesting.

Key Take Aways:

(1) Google is not going to roll this update back.
(2) Google says it had less of an impact than Panda or Florida.
(3) Don't take drastic measures yet, do what you can now so when Google does refresh the update, maybe you can break free.

Forum discussion at Google+, WebmasterWorld & SEL Comments.

Image credit to ShutterStock for Penguin

Previous story: Microsoft Shutting Down Bing 411 On June 1st



05/11/2012 12:41 pm

It's the most creativ solution that I ever heard.


05/11/2012 02:44 pm

Question: Why aren't those sponsored links in the right sidebar nofollow? Aren't you violating Google guidelines?!!! SeoRoundTable of all places?

Barry Schwartz

05/11/2012 02:53 pm



05/11/2012 03:06 pm

I think it's a bit ridiculous how Google could even think of suggesting a new website? The main reasons why: 1) The domain itself is what carries off-site i.e. links, social etc. so expecting a domain change for a branded term would be catastrophic, 2) Some websites involved in bad practices by negligence who cleaned up their act still suffer the penalty, what about webmasters who have taken over websites in the past and improved them? seems a tad unfair to me 3) Won't this prompt a new wave of spam tactics? Sorry but if people have to start from scratch, they are not going to be prepared to wait 5 years to build domain age/authority etc. 4) I smell a rat, maybe forcing some into PPC for revenue generation? this is not ethical, I think Panda was harsh, but penguin went too far, So, I highly doubt that the option of starting with a new website is acceptable to most

Daryl Quenet

05/11/2012 04:00 pm

I think your missed the point of this update, it deals with spam links... if you have so many spammy links that you've got one of the more major penalties (think last page of 100 results) than you want to distance yourself from the links you've got as they were the issue. You can also always 301 redirect your old domain to maintain the social branding. A domain on the last page has no value if it will never recover.


05/11/2012 04:50 pm


SEO Catalysts

05/11/2012 06:03 pm

what are they saying?Is it joke??


05/11/2012 07:30 pm

I commend you for standing up to your opinions.


05/11/2012 08:52 pm

If you're reading this and have even contemplated for a second about starting a new site, you probably should. Hopefully you've learned something your fist time and will do better your 2nd or 3rd time around. Think of all the resources you'll be wasting trying to dig yourself out of a bottomless hole. Even if your site recovers you'll now have 2 and can use that to your advantage in many ways. Just don't make the same mistakes on both.

Web Talent Marketing

05/11/2012 09:41 pm

If it were so easy....there are a lot of factors to take into account: Budget, human resources, and a long etcetera...


05/12/2012 01:34 am

how about start using and optimizing for another search engine? Really matt you have gone to far this time

Andrew Smith

05/12/2012 02:20 am

That's excellent. Refresh the playing field!

Andrew Smith

05/12/2012 02:22 am

I have switched my focus to PPC in recent months so I welcome the challenge. My last 10 years were spent on SEO so of course I am looking into this.

Webstats Art

05/12/2012 11:02 am

Making a website is now like playing a jackpot machine. The algorithm has become random from the point of view that the ranking criteria is continually changing. People who have always suspected this will happen have made lots of sites already but they can't connect them to each other and have to pretend to be different people because it is more than likely they will be penalized for doing this.


05/12/2012 11:18 am

Really Scaryyy!!!!

Deepak Eapen

05/12/2012 12:39 pm

I think this is Google's lame tactic of generating more PPC revenue. How does he address the issue of Negative SEO? I have got 1000s of backlinks to my site from spammy sites that I don't even know. And I really don't think I can take them down. It's practically impossible. And what about the junk results coming up in the first page? This is outrageous...! Height of insensitivity and stubbornness from Google. Too much!

Larry Olson

05/12/2012 03:25 pm

New domains with alternate text content were the first thing I did when penguin was confirmed. The old still remain and I am experimenting with their link profiles, but I can't just wait on that. Judging from Cutts and my lack of progress at reviving pages, the new domains were probably the best move.


05/12/2012 08:52 pm

This whole penguin update is just a terrible route for Google to be going down. They need to do even more to get rid of anchor text helping ranking and not be so bothered about links, just ignore the bad.

Jeremy Huggins

05/13/2012 12:51 am

What about negative SEO? It now opens up a whole new dirty area, where people will be paying money to get their competitors listed in every spammy link farm on the net!

Thomas L. Vaultonburg

05/13/2012 07:09 am

So glad to be small and produce actual content with no concern about selling anything.


05/13/2012 09:28 am

Starting a new website has a huge impact, deleting low quality links for your client is the first thing to do, if it is possible. Starting a new website is the last thing you should do if you tried all other things...

Christian Fager

05/13/2012 02:21 pm

That's pretty haughty of them to tell people to start a new website to make it better for their search algorithm. Google was the one saying "don't make your website for google". If they don't fix the results and start ignoring negative links, they will regret it (lost customers from people not liking garbage results, too much negative SEO on popular terms, etc).


05/15/2012 01:41 am

This stupid talk of negative SEO has gone unchallenged long enough. Sure it's possible. However, if your spammy links have put you down to position 100 for a keyword, you're going to have to do serious spam link building to 99 sites in order to recover. If you really think the cost and time are more productive than concentrating on building a good site which ranks naturally near the top for your niche, then go ahead. Remember, you won't have to compete with all those other sites like your old one, held in position by spam links. Google have been warning those who breach their guidelines that there would be consequences. There have been before but it seems that some people never learn from history. The truth is that the public will be glad to see less low quality sites and that 97% of sites will be grateful that their no longer prevented from reach page one of SERPS, by unfair practices. I'm sure that Google will refine their algorithms as time goes by to catch further abuses rather than back tracking. One IMPORTANT point before closing. Damaging another business other than by fair competitive practices, is a felony. Do you really want to be whining from behind bars. Best wishes to all those who have risen to the top by fair and legal means.

Sachin Agarwal

05/15/2012 05:10 am

Google is trying to block the spammy sites but this is not the only thing they are doing. They are concentrating more on the adword advertisers to reserve their places in google results. The best idea is to remove them form the organic using shit updates, and push them to join the Adword family. There have been cases when spammers are posting links for their competitors to bad sites and originally the website gets hurt. and it is totally impossible to get them off with in a short time. infect impossible. Develop an idea, design them, develop them on engines, work hard to rank them, and 1 fine day, google or their spammy friends will give you a kick.


05/15/2012 04:17 pm

You're forgetting another "great" reason for negative SEO. People don't do that crap just to zap the 99 sites in front of them. Take this example - a site that's ranking well and sees an up-and-coming site that's even better and competing for the same keywords will have incentive to zap it with negative SEO before it becomes a major threat. That crap is happening and it will get worse. The ironic part is that it is precisely the "high quality" sites that Matt Cutts talks about the Penguin update helping that will be the target of negative SEO. Nobody's gonna link-bomb the crappy sites, as the crappy sites are not a threat to anybody


05/17/2012 05:45 pm

1. What if your domain name is critical to your business? (the domain is the business identity) 2. What if your competitor has sabotaged your site with spammy backlinks?

Just a dude

05/20/2012 11:30 am

Google: We can't beat Facebook and Larry really really wants to so the +1 is the new SEO and those that don't fit it our new algo can try to start their life over again. But no, we are not a monopoly. It's just that Eric is in great touch with Barack.

Berita Blogger

06/03/2012 02:32 am

My blog was hurt so bad with Penguin update. If I buy new domain, should I move all contents too? All blogspot site with copied content from my blog now rank 1 on google. Or should I start with free blogspot domain?

Google Negative

06/06/2012 02:03 am

After hours of learning about web stuff and SEO, I created a nice, small business website that was outranking most of our competition (put up by expensive professionals) until Penguin. I entered our website into free directories (but never paid). Maybe 30 to 50? I guess I was also guilty of keyword stuffing according to google. Now my website has been deindexed and I may have to start over with a new site. In retrospect, I was guilty of not knowing about or following google's web guidelines. However, I never thought I was doing anything deceptive or black hat. Most of the web professionals should be happy with Penguin, however, as google is saying don't even bother putting up your own website on your own if you are a novice. If you mess up by "over optimizing" your website, your website will not rank and you will not recover. Needless to say, I'm pretty livid with google right now. Though we are a small business, I can't imagine purchasing any google services anytime soon--including PPC or any cloud services, etc. In sum, I believe google is run by out-of-touch engineers who are trying to create the web in their own image with little consideration of the real world consequences that their decisions have for small business. I didn't even know about Penguin until I did a lot of searching for "deindexed websites." I think there are thousands of small business websites who still don't even know they have been hit. Google went from a hero to zero in my book with their Penguin Update. Please spread the word to people you know with basic, small business websites about this killer Penguin. You'll get more business (redoing their websites) and google with get less from these business owners.

Cheryl Marland

06/09/2012 12:35 am

My 4 year old site that had page 1 and 2 listings on Google is gone. I don't do black hat, from what I've read I'm guilty of ezine article backlinks using the same keywords and writing 300-350 word blog posts based on latest news about my topic. Oh well....

Brad Dalton

07/07/2012 08:44 am

Get a fresh site. Maybe Cutts should get a fresh job and a fresh address himself.

Brad Dalton

07/07/2012 08:46 am

That's what Cutts wants you to do. That's how Google makes more money. They are a very large bookmaker. Google adsense and Google adwords. They don't care if you win or not as long as they make money.


08/01/2012 04:06 pm

If Google's plan with panda/penguin is to increase ad revenue then it has failed. Google's Cost per click revenue has fallen ever since Q1 2011 - which exactly coincides with the major algorithm updates (see Forbes article on this Click volume is up, but quality is down which is reflected in the falling cost/click value. Not to mention, the updates have alienated a lot of small businesses - their principal advertising customers (something they fail to see). Those people are more likely to go to Facebook or other advertising channels now. I find it remarkable they didn't even mention the algorithm updates in their quarterly announcement, but blamed just about every other thing under the sun.

Admiral America

04/11/2013 02:58 pm

Time to go back to the good old days when there were multiple popular search engines. Enough of this Google monopoly. Enough of monopolies in all industries! It only creates tyranny over the populace. One company shouldn't have the power to tank millions of sites as they see fit!


04/17/2013 04:35 am

have you recovered yet? Same thing happened to my site and I haven't recovered at all.

Peter Park

02/06/2014 08:07 pm

Dealing with the Penguin penalty myself and decided to start a new site with fresh content and just leave the old penalized site running as I've already cleaned up all the low quality backlinks so hoping it will improve its ranking after an update. My only question is if I run these two old and new sites for same keywords, whether my new site will be penalized through being linked by the same google authorship and same social media sites even though there will be no links or 301 redirect from each other.

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