Google Penguin 1.1 Update Underway? Google Says No.

May 14, 2012 • 8:55 am | comments (51) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

Google Penguin UpdateThere are some reports of major shuffling going on in the Google search results as of yesterday. I believe from the reports that it may be a Penguin update - but I do not have confirmation from Google on this yet.

Update: A Google spokesperson told me there was no Penguin refresh or update yet. Google said it was not a Panda refresh either and there is no update as far as they are concerned. Interesting... continuing story below...

There are WebmasterWorld threads and if you scan the Google Webmaster Help forums you will see tons of threads about ranking changes in the past 24 hours or so.

One of the WebmasterWorld threads has one guy claiming he recovered from being hit by Penguin. He said yesterday, "I had around 30 sites hit by Penguin on the 24/4, yesterday the first one resurfaced back to number 2 for it's keywords which is encouraging."

He even explained what he did to "recover":

What did I do - the site was just 15 pages, the inner pages were all thin content boiler plate stuff, so I deleted them all to see what would happen and left the home page which is 500 words of original content.

Links - did i touch incoming links, no I am going to try anchor text dilution on some other sites where I suspect this problem but did not create any more links on the recovered site.

Now, you have to be careful with this recovery reports because who knows if the site was truly hit by Penguin or a weird penalty. They did say his traffic dropped on the 24th which is a good sign of it being Penguin.

But there is a huge increase in reports of traffic and ranking drops yesterday on the discussion forums. The question is, is this related to Mother's Day or an algorithm change?

I will email Google for a statement on this.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and Google Webmaster Help.

Update: A Google spokesperson told me there was no Penguin refresh or update yet. Google said it was not a Panda refresh either and there is no update as far as they are concerned. Interesting...

Image credit to ShutterStock for shuffling penguin

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05/14/2012 01:12 pm

Not seeing any movement myself. Looks to be a false alarm.


05/14/2012 01:29 pm

So because it hasn't effected you it's a false alarm? Ok. One of my sites rankings dropped from 7th in UK to 36, and is now ranking 9th in US when it previously ranked outside the top 50. Not touched geo targeting.

Takeshi Takahashi

05/14/2012 01:40 pm

One of my sites has been doing very poorly since early January, and the first rollout of Penguin did me no favors. But last Friday the 11th, I bit the bullet and deleted a large chunk of my pages that might have been deemed low-quality. This recent refresh has given my site some sizable gains. Most surprisingly, I'm now ranking on the first page for my most competitive term, where before I wasn't in the top 50. Definitely seems like G has done something; there's cautious optimism here.

Meredith Nunnally

05/14/2012 01:43 pm

I am also seeing some bouncing around. One of my sites fells off completely after the Penguin implementation. I was ranking 2nd for a very competitive term. I've returned to 5th today, but only when my settings are to a local city. We still aren't showing for a nationwide search.


05/14/2012 02:22 pm

Was your site definately impacted by Penguin (i.e. rankings drop on or shortly after 24th April)?

Liv Jones

05/14/2012 02:46 pm

Google is really beginning to make me hate the animals at the zoo.


05/14/2012 03:06 pm

Hi, What about those pages that you deleted made them low quality? I believe I could have the same issue with my site and am debating whether or not to delete those pages.


05/14/2012 04:19 pm

this could very well just be a panda refresh - thin content and low quality content is panda's domain not penguin (unless there was keyword stuffing on those subpages or something like that) also this has been happening since last week

Neville Pettersson

05/14/2012 04:40 pm

I concur, I check my WMT daily and the backlinks haven't refreshed yet. The BL's I deleted are still showing. I'm eagerly anticipating the next refresh :-)


05/14/2012 05:35 pm

hope they do a refresh as I have made a few different changes to each page so I can hopefully work out what I had done wrong (and the general consensus with SEO experts was not a lot). so just waiting for the update now

Barry Schwartz

05/14/2012 05:44 pm

Update for everyone: Google spokesperson told me there was no Penguin refresh or update yet. Google said it was not a Panda refresh either and there is no update as far as they are concerned. Interesting...


05/14/2012 06:19 pm

I believe this is a QDD rollback for "more authoritative sites" or the algo changes itself inserting diversity, and or norot making spammy pages less fresh and the algos de-selecting those less fresh pages for more fresh pages - so technically not penguin or panda or an update - the new state of affairs

Ryan Burnsworth

05/14/2012 06:49 pm

We have actually seen this too. My company's main site seen a decent decrease in ranking for 4 keywords overnight. I also seen one of our client's websites, whom was hit by Penguin, increase in organic searches overnight. I agree something is going on.

Nicholas Kneuper

05/14/2012 08:33 pm

To me, it sounds like a fair amount of people were hit by the Panda Update and (mistakenly) thought it was Penguin. I don't blame them ;)

Takeshi Takahashi

05/14/2012 08:35 pm

I can't give specific examples, but I can tell you that these pages were most assuredly not within the Best Practices guidelines, either in production or value.

Search Engine Watch

05/14/2012 09:54 pm

Jonathan Allen here from Search Engine Watch - nice spot Barry. We've seen the same thing on sites we were looking at - they have returned to the positions they lost last week. To be honest, the whole thing reminds me of algo updates of yesteryear (pre-panda) when the SERPs would always go skewy for a week or two and then suddenly everything would settle down. Maybe this is just the same thing? Which does suggest a rather major algo change took place nonetheless.

Barry Schwartz

05/14/2012 09:55 pm

Yea - maybe. But I specifically asked Google was it Penguin, if not, was it Panda, if not, was it something else?

Ant Wakefield

05/14/2012 10:27 pm

As in, they're never doing a penguin refresh again? That doesn't seem right. Knock out loads of websites that over optimised and then never give them a chance to clean up their act? I know of a LOT of great legitimate sites that got caught in this 'atomic bomb' style of update.

Barry Schwartz

05/14/2012 10:31 pm

They will do penguin updates. But this wasn't one.

Brad Dalton

05/15/2012 01:14 am

The penguin update is listing php files and subscription files with no useful content on the first page of Google! What a mess.


05/15/2012 02:07 am

Penguin update has given Big Brands and Big Spammers full control of the SERPs. It's funny how Google knocked the middle class guys out, while the big boys get away with murder. When users start complaining (as they have), you know it the update failed. Semi-Rollback in progress?

Anurag Sharma

05/15/2012 03:57 am

Google is playing with us...

Tim Webster

05/15/2012 06:06 am

Oh its something going that for sure! I have my flagship site drop about 30% in rankings. I hit me right around 3:30pm today. In fact I had thought Google blacklisted my site, but everything is still indexed. Long story short, I havent been effected by any of these P&P updates....until today. Major bummer.


05/15/2012 06:41 am

The change has happened to local results. Local results might be ranking better now


05/15/2012 06:47 am

All of these recent google updates seemed to fail at one point, at least in my case. Authority sites like Paid Directory Listings started to dominate the ranking. So sad that google update puts these kind of sites first, and the real, genuine local businesses that deserve to be on the top spot for their local search keywords are pushed down way way below to the 10th page or so. And what's worse is that you can't expect local businesses to pay membership to all those directories on the first page just to get their brands listed....Sad. This update that is supposed to combat paid links ironically placed sites that offer paid links to an advantage..

Web Media Tree

05/15/2012 07:48 am

i there any chance to see new algorithm in google


05/15/2012 08:21 am

on page is dead what i feel. off page link building is very important now. on page keywords doesn't have the effect now. ex: type "seo" in and see on 1st page u can see Eparadise website. Now there is no title of "seo" still it comes.


05/15/2012 08:25 am

thanks to know all in details here..


05/15/2012 09:03 am

Just random then? I've not seen any movement over this time.

Nathaniel Bailey

05/15/2012 09:44 am

"there is no update as far as they are concerned" So does that mean there is no update or does that mean they have been playing with settings or something but don't personally want to class that as an update? Is that exactly what they said to you Barry and did you ask that question after the response? An update or playing with settings would certainly explain some of the changes we have seen (positive changes again), for example, our company site is now ranking #1 on for web design Kent where as it was #3 over the weekend and all the others in the top 6 have shuffled around a bit too (we only watched the top 5-6 for that term so cant say what's happened below that).

Barry Schwartz

05/15/2012 10:01 am

My understanding is that there were no updates or changes at all made.

mayur kawale

05/15/2012 11:37 am

I have same openion, but still I am confused. If I will change the title of page and site would get bad traffic down. So what is exactly should we do.

Liam Carey

05/15/2012 11:55 am

I have noticed that Google is dropping some of my previously indexed pages from the web on a daily basis - you can see it via the sitemaps report. So far I have lost about 3% of my indexed page total. Interesting....


05/15/2012 04:10 pm

there are penguin updates is running on, because its hamper my website drop huge traffic for 25 days, my website is

Russ Offord

05/15/2012 06:45 pm

This makes sense. It could very well be other algorithms kicking in 'after the fact' of Penguin / Panda to reduce the amount of non-fresh or spammy sites. Is it possible that the adjustments of existing algos can have this sort of effect? Perhaps the SERPS could fluctuate up and down as the existing algos determine search engine user behaviour / interaction quality of the newest SERPS after the latest Panda and Penguin updates... or do the algos not ever function in this way?

Image Whisperer

05/16/2012 01:04 am

Oh my! How dependable are we become on big G. is scary.


05/16/2012 05:22 am

Well i can only suggest that you go for semantic titles not the keyword based ones. However if u have a decent traffic, then don't change the titles. And even if there is a drop do check it for at least 1 week and then required do the change.

Usman Butt

05/16/2012 09:22 am

If your website results are affected by Google Recent Update (Penguin) contact us today for free website Audit and get your website back to first page.

Dewaldt Huysamen

05/16/2012 10:38 am

Hey @rustybrick:disqus do you reckon if you have too many anchor text links with the brand name it will also be deemed spammy, this is if the brand name does not contain commercial keyword ex. does not contain seo but just the company name. I have site that has over 75% of backlinks exact match seo as footer links or blog roll, I am now changing these anchor text to CompanyName. Should I only drop this to about 30% (SEO) anchor text links. Also adding description to the wordpress blogroll links as then I believe google bot will see it as links surrounded with text, even though text is only seen by visitor when mouse is hovering over link?

Rebecca Rachmany

05/16/2012 06:51 pm

So they laid off all the developers or moved them to other departments? Not likely.

i never said that lol

05/16/2012 06:53 pm

everyone boycot google lol


05/16/2012 10:50 pm

My guess is that this is at least a partial roll back. Every area of Google has had a chance now to see how it affected their bottom line and I bet the adsense guys and gals have started making waves. The current terrible results are probably great for the adwords team but the adsense team will be sharpening their daggers and looking for the spam team. Now it just depends on whether the adwords increase out weighs the adsense decrease.

Paul Appleyard

05/16/2012 11:48 pm

Although I know you don't mean that Google is actually logging in to your ISP and removing your pages, it's funny how many of us consider that a page may as well be not on the web at all, if they aren't in Google's index.


05/17/2012 01:58 am

hope to see some steps taken to benefit all the webmasters around the world


05/17/2012 04:57 am

Agree with Alan!

Dewaldt Huysamen

05/17/2012 05:26 am

Hey @rustybrick:disqus check out my article with screen shot proving Google has double standards with the Penguin update


05/17/2012 01:14 pm

I think the answer to this weird thing may be the notorious WMT Unnatural Links notices. Maybe a big number of those penalties just expired? Would explain Google's communication.


05/18/2012 12:57 am

This algorithm is just a bit well er crap.


05/24/2012 10:59 pm

It’s a very confusing time right now, or it seems to be. I’m skeptical of those who say they have answers on many of the blogs and I like this list with your take. I guess I can infer something from your ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ answers, though more detailed answers as to why would be great, even if they would show up only on the paid newsletter to which I happily subscribed.

David L.

05/26/2012 05:16 am

This is nuts. You mention your disdain for the updates to some people, and they rant about how "Google doesn't owe you a living." No kidding they don't owe you a living, but saying so is kind of like saying that a grocery store doesn't "owe" you food. Google's job is essentially to promote good sites and demote bad ones - they're not doing well at that other than for large, already-established web properties.

mayur kawale

01/29/2013 12:33 pm

tx Megan for your replay ...

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