Google May Be Pushing Out A New Update: Possibly Penguin?

May 28, 2014 • 9:06 am | comments (98) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

Google Update BrewingI am seeing very early signs of another possible Google update both based on chatter at the WebmasterWorld and in other forums and social media spaces. I am also getting private data shared with me by those who are tracking this closely.

Update: Google tells me this is not Penguin or any spam quality control change.

The feeling is that Google is testing a new Penguin refresh and that it may be rolling out slowly. Or that it might be something else. So you know, we had a Panda 4.0 update last week, and then last weekend (before Panda 4) we had a Spam algorithm update. Prior to that we reported on tons of ranking shifts which Google denied despite all the signs of an update.

And now, we are seeing something rolling out yesterday, that had big impacts on some sites.

Here are two graphs of sites impacted by a few things, including Penguin and notice the spikes in both over the past couple days:

click for full size

click for full size

On the 26th, these sites, both without any manual actions, saw huge changes. This was well after the official Google updates.

Last night, Rae Hoffman posted on Twitter that she has seen something going on.

Patrick Gavin, an old SEO and founder of Text Link Ads back in the day, thinks it is Penguin related:

In the updated WebmasterWorld thread, we have users saying:

I think something is rolling out again

I'm seeing a lot of international traffic suddenly.

Yep I recovered all traffic last week and im seeing a traffic drop off now over the last 2-3 hours, hope its not a roll back.

I should note, most of the tracking tools, i.e. Mozcast, Algooro, and SearchMetrics are not showing major signs of an update. Keep in mind, Penguin updates impact mostly SEOed sites, where Panda is felt more by those tools.

Have you seen any change in the past couple days with your Google traffic?

Forum discussion at Twitter & WebmasterWorld.

Update: Google tells me this is not Penguin or any spam quality control change.

Previous story: Google Webmaster Tools Adds Block Resources Debug With Fetch & Render


Gaurav Srivastava

05/28/2014 01:17 pm

After Ebay, who will be the next?


05/28/2014 01:30 pm

I'm putting my money on Amazon.


05/28/2014 02:04 pm

Yes 10 of my Amazon sites dropped 10-15 positions today for most keywords. Same like what happened on the 15th but that recovered on the 22nd, but now it drops again, meh :(


05/28/2014 02:39 pm

Amazon product based duplicate content websites in line.

Vin DiCarlo

05/28/2014 02:47 pm

Hi Ahmed, I can't disagree with you....


05/28/2014 03:18 pm

Get ready! those who went up with the last Panda 4.0, are going back to the ground with this new Google's poison soup coming up. The party last just a few days.. but wait, we are talking about Google, take it easy, this is how they are...

Stephane Brault

05/28/2014 03:23 pm

Yay finally! Goodbye spammers! Hello money!

Stephane Brault

05/28/2014 03:25 pm

I've regained most of the international traffic.


05/28/2014 03:41 pm

Softer side my ass... we have lost 50% 0f our audience and over 50% of our revenue the past week and a half.. after 19 years on line we know the only negative (and rarely positive) affect to our audience comes from the animals in California


05/28/2014 03:44 pm

dream on...


05/28/2014 04:01 pm

The search results for some items I looked for look like a corporate directory. These national corporate chains are using the Amazon marketplace model to sell items they don't stock. Sears, Home Depot, Walgreens are all doing it. No small businesses to be found. What's the point of search if all Google does is return the same national chains for all the products I search for? By the time you add in Amazon for every product ever made, a Wikipedia definition and a couple YouTube videos, there is no room for anything else. Google lacks diversity depth and the appearance of embracing the many small businesses that exist.

Yo Mamma

05/28/2014 04:01 pm

For a brief time last night sites jumped up somewhat, but the big olde box stores still dominate results with almost an entire page dedicated to just them. Boring stuff really


05/28/2014 04:06 pm

A spree of animal attacks continues to terrorize the Google serps! Lets all hide under a rock, Google won't find us there!

Soni Sharma

05/28/2014 04:11 pm

Google is playing horror show for SEOs this month.


05/28/2014 04:12 pm

Quick to the Green Cutts phone! It seems like the only ones seeing movement that post comments on these articles are spammers who have been caught before or are in the process of losing everything. Where are the big brands, what's really going on?

Yo Mamma

05/28/2014 04:14 pm

Has anyone had any luck ACTUAL SPEAKING to someone at 1 (650) 253-0000 (Consumer) Google Help Line?

Soni Sharma

05/28/2014 04:16 pm


Josh Zehtabchi

05/28/2014 04:16 pm

I just came here to laugh at the comments.

Soni Sharma

05/28/2014 04:17 pm

Entertainment is always good...


05/28/2014 04:20 pm

Now we can laugh at your ego


05/28/2014 04:33 pm

They have been embraced...with a little cuddle of death.


05/28/2014 04:35 pm

So pleased you showed up. Now we can all laugh again :)

M cutts

05/28/2014 04:44 pm

I got through to a guy called Larry. He said if a buy him a drink next time he's at Hooters, he'll tweet the alto so my site gets to the top. Nice bloke.


05/28/2014 04:54 pm

Well, at least the old fogey SEOs have chimed in with their $.02. The spammers post here clearly see things moving so I guess the rest of us will get back to work.


05/28/2014 04:56 pm

I am waiting anxiously to see if any European travel sites have been affected by this apparent update. I'm sure he will report that all signs are normal.


05/28/2014 04:57 pm

This must be one heart-attack after another for spammers and everyone that relies on old techniques to make their money. So many changes so fast will leave a lot of people wondering what they need to do differently to find success.


05/28/2014 05:09 pm

Rough night or something? Not understanding this "old fogey SEOs", "spammers", and "the rest of us" business. You know Google hates us all equally right?


05/28/2014 05:10 pm

LOL. Baiting Durant. You are in a mood today.


05/28/2014 05:11 pm

It took 45 minutes and went to a recording of someone laughing then hung up.

L.j. Garner

05/28/2014 05:15 pm

The interesting thing about these updates (or rather, the aftermath of them) is that we only hear stories from those who feel that they were harmed as a result. Surely there are also people who receive a boost from the updates. Where are those stories?


05/28/2014 05:17 pm

Old TV wisdom... Good news makes for bad ratings. Probably similar for blogs and newsletters.


05/28/2014 05:20 pm

Spammers don't care... It costs $15 to get a clean slate (new domain and IP) for spamming...respin the content with a new template and Google is none the wiser. Google penalties only punish White Hat community.


05/28/2014 05:27 pm

My point as always, no one knows when an update occurs until it's confirmed by Google. We can survey Chicken Little in the nursing home or Chicken Little Spammer, the sky is always falling, for the moment.

Josh Zehtabchi

05/28/2014 05:27 pm

TIL: Spammers are sensitive.


05/28/2014 05:29 pm

True... I just checked my rankings and the sky is not falling today, but I am probably in the old fogey category.

A humanist

05/28/2014 05:42 pm

Sorry but I saw ALOT of positive posts on WMW last week after that update, so don't think that's true!

Ashley Stanf

05/28/2014 06:02 pm

LOL at all this "OMG It's SO AWESOME Spammers Got Banned and got heart-attacks" comments. You obviously don't know how it works. If you spam your way to the top, you go in with mentality that you going to get hit sooner a later, so when the sites drop it's no surprise.

F1 Steve

05/28/2014 06:17 pm

Im thinking of taking a trip to Europe, any one know of a European website for visitors that's written by a crotchety old guy with a very narrow view on life that I could visit?


05/28/2014 06:48 pm

I'm too tired to look it up, and frankly don't care that much, but it would be kind of neat to see some spammy links that are pointed to his site. And surely, of course, someone else must have done it.


05/28/2014 06:57 pm

I want Durant to succeed. It would be nice if that was the kind of world we lived in. Unfortunately, despite his beliefs Google is a real $@&!


05/28/2014 07:07 pm

This is exactly right. A clean slate in black hat SEO is only $15 away... Google punishments only hurt white hats, which is why I am shocked that so many white hats think Google is on our side.


05/28/2014 07:21 pm

has anybody thought it maybe just a little more of the payday loan algo rolling out which google said would be happening over the next month or so?

Durant Imboden

05/28/2014 07:40 pm

Google is on Google's side. Google isn't for or against you; it just doesn't want you trying to manipulate its search results.


05/28/2014 07:50 pm

You do know that negative SEO does not exist, right?

Muhammad Noman Khalid

05/28/2014 07:52 pm

Thanks Barry: Yes I've seen this update today and lose more traffic than in last 2 months or more


05/28/2014 07:58 pm

I am recovering from a traffic drop i had when this PANDA 4.0 rolled out. I have seen this change from monday itsef, i am pretty sure something is cooking up . I am not much surprised with all these updates now , it's like one update pushes you up the other one makes you bite the dust . :)

Yo Mamma

05/28/2014 08:05 pm

Trying to 'game' the system is a noble human trait. Its called survival of the smartest (Because you don't have to hunter/gather these days) If Google doesn't like people being manipulative, as you say durant "Google isn't for or against you; it just doesn't want you trying to manipulate its search results" then Google not only doesn't like people, but its founders don't like themselves. Reminds me of a God that once said that it was a mistake to have created mankind, one that couldn't follow a simple order NOT to eat a certain fruit but did anyway. And that's the point durant We all eat all kinds of fruit and we do it to survive Yes, that God chased mankind out of Eden, but we survived. We survived a jealous God and we will survive an evil Google

Greg Dragon

05/28/2014 08:33 pm

Positive effect checking in here... almost quadruple actually.

Durant Imboden

05/28/2014 08:38 pm

Like it or not, Google gets to decide whether gaming its system is a "noble human trait" or an impediment to serving useful search results. If you want to play that game, you're free to do so, but crying "Unfair!" when you're sent to the penalty box is bad sportsmanship--and a waste of breath.

Yo Mamma

05/28/2014 08:45 pm

I'm not crying "Unfair!" about any logical written penalties that are enforced constantly. What Google is guilty of are despicable evil acts. An example is creating rules that it threatens to enforce for many years, but doesn't, then when it does, it destroys the site PERMANENTLY in its Google rankings. PERMANENTLY in its Google rankings That is evil, not unfair AND I stand with God on this one, I care less what "Google gets to decide" There have been many big companies that have folded, that are remembered with disdain, that its founders hide from in shame and Google is now one of them, still cookin tho, its on a fast boil


05/28/2014 09:11 pm

So Google is evil for finally enforcing its rules. Yo Mamma its like calling Yo Mamma evil for finally grounding you for not cleaning your room when you knew the rules were to keep your room clean. Only that you didn't keep your room clean because your mom just likes to nag and never really follows through. Evil mom just evil for finally enforcing the keep your room clean rule. Seriously!! Yes they have the right to permanently ground you if your room is so messy they need to hire a couple of maids named penguin and panda to clean your crap out.

Mark Warner

05/28/2014 09:33 pm

Good techniques don't really change. Things considered "low quality" now were never a good idea.


05/28/2014 09:34 pm

C'mon... Google does not decide human traits.


05/28/2014 09:35 pm

Like online retail

Durant Imboden

05/28/2014 09:45 pm

Yo Mamma mentioned "survival of the smartest." Ignoring published guidelines in the hope that they'll never be enforced doesn't strike me as being smart, and crying "Evil!" when they are isn't a sign of intellectual brilliance. The good news is that, if a site is "destroyed permanently" in Google's rankings because the owner was foolish, a site owned by someone with less hubris will move up to take its place. The result will be a win-win-win for Google, for searchers, and for the site owner who has better things to do than tilt at windmills..


05/28/2014 10:38 pm

Yes but they keep throwing away the neighbors belongs too because Google sucks at punishing the bad... they kinda just punish the mild and the innocent and the bad fail to notice.


05/28/2014 10:40 pm

what if the site was destroyed as collateral damage... happens a lot. Its all good as long as you keep using that tunnel vision that makes things look like Google does a good job when in fact they don't


05/28/2014 10:44 pm

I disagree. As a matter of game theory Google is against you getting the free organic click if there is a chance of getting you to pay for the same click. Google is very much against you. This is demonstrated well by a search for "used cars" where on a typical laptop you typically see only 1 organic link above the fold at the bottom left of the screen.

Yo Mamma

05/28/2014 11:05 pm

You assume that "a site owned by someone with less hubris will move up to take its place" is a better site. A site that the owner has slaved over years to perfect? No, this isn't the case. The replacement slideup site is a lazy site that wasn't a priority. The person didn't spend any time perfecting or improving, its just a template. Or its a big box store site that doesn't specialize in a niche market like the site that was canned. POINT #1 So not only has Google destroyed the best of the best websites, its replaced them with GARBAGE POINT #2 Since the SEO world now know full well that Google is true evil, the days of creating exceptionally good sites are over. Nobody in there right mind will ever again risk everything on a single site. You are so silly to think otherwise. POINT #3 In so doing, Google has showed the SEO world that the only reliable way to gain clients, is PAY PER CLICK, when customers are sent to a mediocre site that has barely anything exceptional about it. POINT #4 Gone are the days of writing articles because the benefit simply isn't there without a good solid signature back to the source, the author. The result is a lose-lose for Google and for searchers Google has single handedly diminished the value of online searching in a period of 2 years. They're now frantically trying to recover because of the backlash flowing into new products that has nothing to do with search, but bear the name GOOGLE

Yo Mamma

05/28/2014 11:09 pm

Sorry James, but I am too old to remember those days. And when you get so old as to lose your father and mother and live a life parent-less, you will look back with some fondness of having had them in the first place

Durant Imboden

05/29/2014 12:23 am

I've never said that Google "does a good job." Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. But I believe that, on the whole, it brings far more value to the Web than the people who try to pollute its SERPs with dreck do.

Durant Imboden

05/29/2014 12:33 am

Many (possibly most) searches are for topics that don't involve PPC. A scientist writing about string theory, a Catholic theologian publishing a tract on papal infallibility, a baseball aficionado publishing his spring training blog, or a travel blogger writing about his round-the-world trip isn't going to buy AdWords or Product Search listings. For e-commerce searches, Google may well feel that its ads should take priority over the organic results. But that doesn't mean Google is "against" e-commerce vendors. If the user scrolls down past the ads (as most do, from the studies I've seen), the user is exposed to organic search results. Who knows? There may come a time when Google simply says "Forget it, we're tired of fighting spam, so we'll no longer give organic results for commercial queries.. If you want to attract customers with a sales pitch, buy advertising, the way businesses do in the carbon-based world." If that does happen, it won't be "evil," it will simply be a paradigm shift. Marketers will scream, SEOs will curse, and life will go on for the other 99.9 percent of the population.


05/29/2014 02:24 am

Seriously? Despicable evil acts? LOL Time to take off the tinfoil hat man. Your comment actually made me 'laugh out loud' , and I don't laugh easily =) Laughing aside, don't call Google evil just because you can't keep a site ranked. It's an algorithm that ranks websites based on what IT 'deems' the most relevant. If you got caught in the crosshairs and MISTAKENLY based your business off Google traffic alone, that was your choice. Innocent websites get caught all the time, it's inevitable. Calling Google evil because of that fact alone is silly. Sounds like you have some serious emotional issues with the field of SEO (ie. getting penalized and/or ranking in general). Maybe it's time to cut your losses and choose a different source of traffic for your business. Just a thought.


05/29/2014 05:18 am Yeah, Thanks to Mr Barry. Saying Yes First and then No.


05/29/2014 07:09 am

fack u indian spammer seo!


05/29/2014 07:19 am

lol of coz it is not Penguin, it is Zebra. Really, 3 major updates in 1 month?


05/29/2014 07:29 am

it's chameleon algorithm update now , it keeps changing! :p


05/29/2014 08:42 am

Thersno information here, ive noticed no changed at all. i dont think anything has happened ?

Only Saket

05/29/2014 09:38 am

whats spam in my comment. Dont use such abusive language it will be disaster for you

Anurag Gupta

05/29/2014 12:00 pm

Mine Penguin sites or the other have no change. Maybe not for Indian sites yet.


05/29/2014 01:01 pm

anna kutte is that u my friend?


05/29/2014 01:19 pm

Today Google in its SERP is showing a multiple choice box asking you to tell them how you are satisfied with the search results. Funny, it took them so long to come up with this.

Jorge Santos

05/29/2014 02:26 pm

I've seen a slight shift on serps but nothing alarming. Maybe another season were Google leave us wondering if they actually changed something?

Yo Mamma

05/29/2014 02:32 pm

Just a thought Adam. You not very worldly are you? Just a typical American that has ever been south of Mexico or east of Florida.

Yo Mamma

05/29/2014 02:34 pm

I've never said that Google "does a good job." You just said "Sometimes it does" Which means you said that Google does a good job LOL Durant you crack me up for an old fart

Yo Mamma

05/29/2014 02:36 pm

Google says: Manual penalty. Time to destroy your sites. You must be black hat


05/29/2014 02:55 pm

"Nobody in there right mind will ever again risk everything on a single site" And that's your down fall Yo Mamma. Sounds like you risked everything on a single site. @disqus_eciz78J9Dd:disqus nobody is saying Google is doing a good job. If innocent sites get destroyed as collateral damage does that mean they should stop trying to fix their product all together? No. That's why we've seen updates and softer releases.


05/29/2014 03:37 pm

We all know that collateral damage does not occur with the Spam Fighting Wing of Google :/


05/29/2014 04:08 pm


Pete Morris

05/29/2014 04:51 pm

Definitely saw a positive effect after the new Panda update. Search Traffic up around 25%.


05/29/2014 05:01 pm

"If the user scrolls down past the ads" --- you do not know what you are talking about. You've just demonstrated your lack of understanding in how online retail works. Please stop pretending to be an expert where you are not.


05/29/2014 05:13 pm

I give you logic and you ask an off-topic personal question with no relevancy to the discussion. Way to deflect. Either way I really want to know what 'despicable evil' Google has committed. And just to be clear, penalizing a website does not qualify as evil (nor does being American). I'm genuinely curious....give me some real world, objective and verifiable examples of Google's evil acts.


05/29/2014 10:55 pm

Point #1 - based on who's opinion? Yours? Obviously there are exceptions to everything - but as a whole Google results have been getting FAR better over the years are are far from GARBAGE. The only people I see complaining about the results, are those who got their site(s) penalized. Show me a GARBAGE result, and I'll show you 100 queries that aren't GARBAGE. I've been involved in SEO since before Google was even Google - and believe me, search engines are much better than they were 5-10 years ago. It's not even close. Your statement is so wrong on so many levels. Point #2 - Again, you assume everyone's opinion aligns with yours. The REAL SEO world does not think Google is true evil. They may not agree with every minor/major decision and action Google makes - but most legitimate SEO's see Google for what it really is - not the evil anti-christ you make them out to be. Sure they make mistakes and I don't agree with a lot of things they do...but evil? Come on. Point #3 - Funny, I've been doing just fine for the better half of the last decade with all of my sites. So have all my colleagues and clients. If you can't keep a site ranked, don't assume everyone else can't either. Point #4 - Well, no wonder you hate Google. If that's really your opinion, I can see why you struggle with SEO. I'm curious what types of strategies you use for your marketing/SEO - I'm guessing it will reveal a lot about why you have such a hatred towards Google. As for your other comments: There is no lose-lose for Google and it's searchers. There is no diminishing value in search over the last 2 years. Have you seen charts that show Google market share in search? They don't agree with your statement, and numbers don't lie. I mean, really - most of your points are either completely false - or just the subjective ramblings of someone who lost their shirt in the SEO game and want someone to blame.

IT Rich

05/30/2014 12:42 am

3 sites of mine affected by panda 4.0 have now increased in traffic above pre panda 4 levels. Started at 9pm GMT

Mintu Kumar

05/30/2014 06:21 am

I felt that last two months traffic is down day by day.. It may be we get another shocked by Google soon...!!!


05/30/2014 08:57 am

Ya absolutely ! Indian spammer SEO guys with terrible english , i wonder what freaking thing would be on the site they host!

Mintu Kumar

05/30/2014 12:15 pm

To hell with your good English!!! You same to be son of Britishers..


05/30/2014 03:36 pm

Rofl ... mintu spammer ! I can understand your frustration and it's natural , i hope google updates their algorithm to catch all these spammers through their god gifted english!


05/30/2014 03:39 pm

i wasn't abusive ... for you poor indian spammers please read below : fack Web definitions Curtain Call: The Hits is the first greatest hits compilation album released by American rapper Eminem. ...

Jay Shultis

05/30/2014 04:39 pm

Uptrend starting in early May and a nice big bump and continued increase in traffic this week.

Mintu Kumar

05/31/2014 05:19 am

Dear, I think Google next update would be take action against with god gifted English guy.!!!! Like you....


05/31/2014 10:23 am

Mintu Spammer cool down!

Mintu Kumar

05/31/2014 11:28 am

Ok.. Dude I am not a Spammer.. .....


05/31/2014 02:49 pm

no hard feelings dude! Frustrated of indian spammers! :)

osman musa

06/01/2014 10:26 am

Quit being racist to Indians. Not all Indians have bad grammar or are spammers. Look at Indians like Amit from, he is making 30K a month. Wonder why Barry doesn't ban these haters that attack commentors.


06/02/2014 03:25 pm

Durant, even those topics that wouldn't involve PPC still result in ad revenue. That Catholic theologian may see ads for "travel to the Vatican" because he mentioned the Pope's residence or ads for "school uniforms" because he described the Pope's visit to an orphanage. The same ads would be shown to that blog's readers, too, perhaps, unless their tracking data reveals that they have other topics of interest to them that are offering more revenue. A guy who has been doing research on suing the Catholic church, for instance, might see ads from attorneys in his area instead of the school uniforms.

Durant Imboden

06/02/2014 03:34 pm

With personalization, it's hard to know who sees what, but in a Google search just now on "Catholic theology," I saw only a handful of ads for theology-degree programs. And in a search on "venice traghetto" (a travel topic), I didn't see any ads at all. A lot of searches are simply loss leaders for Google. By providing results for non-commercial queries, Google keeps searchers in the habit of using Google when they are looking to buy things.

Jitendra Padmashali

06/12/2014 12:58 pm

I really like this update and keep following all new algorithms, Thanks for sharing this information here.

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