Google's Over Optimization Update Named Penguin

Apr 27, 2012 • 8:56 am | comments (28) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

Google Penguin UpdateThe Google update that Matt Cutts first called the over optimization filter and then called webspam algorithm was actually called the Penguin Update internally at Google.

The folks at Search Engine Land were about to name it the Titanic and then Google got back to us telling us the internal code named was Penguin - or maybe Google just didn't want us to name it the Titanic and made up Penguin?

I am not sure if Penguin is named after anyone, like the Panda update but Pandas and Penguins do look somewhat similar.

I guess this name works for me - although I don't think it makes much of a difference for those hit by this algorithm.

Forum discussion at Google+ and Google Webmaster Help.

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Xristos Kostouros

04/27/2012 01:29 pm

Hello please give a look at this post here. It is really very interesting.

Michael Martinez

04/27/2012 03:05 pm

Barry -- it's a Webspam update, NOT an "over optimization update".  :)  Matt Cutts said so.

Barry Schwartz

04/27/2012 03:06 pm

Why did he accidentally call it an over optimization update? Come on.

Michael Martinez

04/27/2012 03:17 pm

But he did NOT call it that.  You did and it stuck.  :)

Michael Martinez

04/27/2012 03:19 pm

Google "admitted" the existence of Negative SEO a long time ago.  There is no need for people to toot this horn any more.  It has been played out.

Barry Schwartz

04/27/2012 03:26 pm

Did you listen to the recording?

Michael Martinez

04/27/2012 05:48 pm

He said "over optimization", not "over optimization update" or "over optimization penalty".  Barry, you're too humble.  Accept the fact that the entire SEO universe followed your lead with grace.  :)

Barry Schwartz

04/27/2012 05:50 pm

He said Google is going to release an update that pretty much targets "over optimization." So I figured, name it the "over optimization update." Is that so wrong?


04/27/2012 07:14 pm

What's with all the animals running over our website rankings? First the Farmer, then his livestock are let loose to run rampant ;-) The parsing of words about what the meaning of an update is- it's kinda Clintonian.


04/27/2012 07:34 pm

 then you shoul go and ask google why the hell they said it was not possible until a few weeks ago!

Michael Martinez

04/27/2012 09:57 pm

Technically, Barry, you made a forward-looking statement that was picked up and went viral and had a huge impact on the Internet community.  I would be wrong to say you were wrong to put a name to something for which the official name had not been released. I'm just saying, though, that now that we know it's a "spam update" we should just call it that.

Barry Schwartz

04/27/2012 09:58 pm

From now on, I am referencing it as Penguin. But I do think it targets over optimization techniques based on the early feedback I've seen.

Michael Martinez

04/27/2012 10:35 pm

Google admitted it was possible long before a few weeks ago.

Xristos Kostouros

04/27/2012 11:14 pm

Google never admits :D  They just do their stuff man :D

David, Content for Conversions

04/28/2012 12:43 am

So we've got a name - has Cutts been any mor clear about what actually constitutes over-optimization? I'm still not understanding whether I need to start worrying about oversyndication and other things I never gave much thought to.

Andy Kinsey

04/28/2012 08:48 pm

penguin is not over seo'd 

Anthony Horekens

04/29/2012 05:00 pm

Pandas are black and white. Penguins are black and white.  These updates are supposed to better detect (and rid results of) web spam.  Web spam is the result of Black Hat techniques, as opposed to White Hat techniques... Could the next such update be called the Zebra Update?

Internet Marketing Company

04/30/2012 11:04 am

Am very much unclear whether the update is about over optimization or for web spam.

Varsha Hans

04/30/2012 12:59 pm

I don't understand it is Webspam Update which is blur the white hat SEO OR Over Optimization OR what the Panguin dancing on the both. . 


04/30/2012 09:58 pm

They are both endangered animals, I think Google might be too if they don't fix it

Muzzammil Convonix

05/02/2012 10:32 am

Google has really gone way out of bounds to try and kill SEO this time. What is the difference between "over optimization" and spam, black-hat techniques.  I feel that these are just jargon's being created purposefully by Google to get out more and more updates to kill SEO in a steadfast manner. Only if they were targeting web spam; then there is a point of argument, but this is insane. If you closely look at all this, it simple is saying "Do as I Say!! Use only Google Products to rank higher(I am referring to Google +)". That is communist theocracy using a democratic and diplomatic tone on a neutral platform.

Neil Ramble

05/03/2012 01:48 am

Definitely sad about my sites since I do white hat SEO. Guess they were right in saying the penguin is still black and white.

Michelle DeMarco

06/27/2012 10:20 pm

I guess I have mixed feelings about this. One the one hand, it levels the playing field a bit and allows the average person to rank. On the other, it kills businesses that have worked long and hard playing by the previous rules. Not sure I like that. I DO like that it is taking into consideration QUALITY links and traffic. That helps to censure out websites that don't really have as much value.


07/04/2012 02:52 am

They already implemented that matter. Over optimized website has been penalized by Google but I don't know more on what is the sanction that they can get after that. Otherwise, thanks for this information.


09/12/2012 05:35 pm

I've removed all anchor text links and placed a natural link. Still its not been recovered from penguin attack. I don't know what to do???

Andrew Thompson

09/27/2012 07:17 am

Same here. If you find out, let me know! :-(

Matthew Shuey

12/27/2012 11:52 pm

Over optimization my ass! If you use Google Sites it's doesn't apply! Feel free to spam the crap out of your competitors as long as your spam is on Google's network. Like for instance one of my competitors has over 30 Google Sites all targeting the same keywords all keyword stuffed with the same content. Even if you report it it doesn't matter. Google can not apply their algorithm to their own network.


04/15/2013 10:24 am

I'm not surprised that Google has taken this step. There was so much low quality SEO going on. Poor quality links, in poor quality content on irrelevant websites!!

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