Google Update Still Brewing: Penguin? Panda?

Sep 6, 2012 • 8:37 am | comments (60) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

Google Brewing Penguin UpdateI've been trying, trying hard, to get Google to give me a statement. Normally they respond within 24 hours with a yay or nay on my question if there is a Google update. I've emailed them three times and no word back.

This morning, I am seeing another surge in SEO and Webmaster chatter around a possible Google update. The chatter is coming from two WebmasterWorld threads and the uptick in communication around this started late last night and early this morning.

Just to bring you up to speed. A week ago today, we reported on update rumors, which Google has not confirmed or denied. On Tuesday, we provided an update on those search results fluctuations and emailed Google again, with no response. This morning, I am seeing even more speculation and emailed Google early this morning asking again for a response. So far, nothing.

So either the Google PR team is on vacation, the Google PR team hates me, or something is going on but they cannot comment.

I suspect that yes, they Google PR team hates me (hate is a strong word), but also yes, something is going on, they are testing things and a full roll out is about to happen.

I suspect a Penguin refresh. We are expecting the next Penguin update to be jarring and jolting and we know we hadn't had a major refresh in over three months, since the Penguin 1.1 update.

I can be wrong, I am often wrong, but something big is coming and I feel it in my bones.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Omri Shabat

09/06/2012 12:47 pm

This is some real Game of Thrones type of things right here... Winter is definitely coming (literally and metaphorically)...

Shaad Hamid

09/06/2012 12:53 pm

I'm sure they don't hate you Barry :-)

Praveen Sharma

09/06/2012 12:57 pm

May be they are busy in feeding PANDA and PENGUIN, and will come out with both of these simultaneously.

David Iwanow

09/06/2012 12:58 pm

Penguin has been dormant since May so maybe it's coming out to play? Seen a bit of random traffic spikes and some sites seen an increase in crawls but nothing consistent to make a call for certain

Bhupendra Shekhawat

09/06/2012 01:08 pm

Google PR team is not on vacation they are bring something new

Sam Sinton

09/06/2012 01:45 pm

We definitely saw some strange goings on yesterday in our vertical (UK based), but nothing that I could yet describe as "jarring & jolting". Looking forward to the update (I think!)


09/06/2012 01:56 pm

I'd say they more fear you. You are one of the only people I know that don't bow to them publicly. I know on SEL you have to write it the way Danny wants it, but you always report the no nonsense stuff here (SERT). You call G on their shit, which is recently an ever growing pile.


09/06/2012 02:13 pm

Nice post.


09/06/2012 02:22 pm

I can no longer be teased with possible Penguin updates my lil heart can't take it no mo.


09/06/2012 02:33 pm

Why spreading rumors?... why? just to have one more post? come on. show some responsibility


09/06/2012 02:43 pm

I'm seeing some changes in my SERPS, but my guess is that if this was a Penguin refresh we'd have more people shouting from the rooftops about recovery. But then, there's the possibility that we still don't know how to recover from Penguin. Matt did mention that some sites should just pack up and start over...he just didn't say how many. It would be nice if Google got back to you though Barry! :)


09/06/2012 02:47 pm

You must be a Google insider tell us more!

Winson Yeung

09/06/2012 03:05 pm

Lol I guess the 3th is more realistic. Something "new/changes" are on their way

Barry Schwartz

09/06/2012 04:03 pm

I cover forum buzz, it is what I do. I emailed Google 3 times! 3 times! No response. Did you read the whole blog post before commenting or just the title?


09/06/2012 04:15 pm

whole post - that was my point, since you did not get any responsem why spread rumors? could wait another day or 2 , a couple of threads in webmasterworld is not yet a forum buzz in the seo world :) (with respect of course)


09/06/2012 04:24 pm

Scaremongering is what we call it what hapens, happens and if you've done things right you've nothing to worry about!

Gregg OREO

09/06/2012 05:25 pm

Having been in the P. R. business for over a quarter of a century -- I can "smell" a dead fish. Whoever is Anonymously pouring out this "chum" about GOOGLE and its Tribe of Penguins, is simply paid to do so( by using a most seducing manner known as speculative "gossip"). In other words, all of this "Woe is Me, I shall never know!"is so much the bleating of a dramatic Scarlett O'Hara-- and not done as convincingly as Vivian Leigh did. I concur with the bogus-identifying Clark Gable, whose character was quite a shrewd Poker Player, "Frankly, My Dear, who gives a damn!" GREGG OREO


09/06/2012 05:33 pm

Check for yourself, results are different. Something is happening... Thanks for the post Barry.


09/06/2012 05:55 pm

im monitoring over 100 sites, no results are diffrents... also im not seeing anything on the forums i read... everyday there are people telling they lost / gained ranking , so what... when theres a big update we all know without doubt. Keep up the good work


09/06/2012 06:01 pm

Ugh. That really would make things difficult. It was bad enough that the original Penguin was sandwiched between two Pandas.


09/06/2012 06:12 pm

I don't see the problem with writing this post...there are a number of people speculating on a Penguin refresh, so it's worthwhile to write about it. The problem is when people take it as more than speculation.

Barry Schwartz

09/06/2012 06:14 pm

I waited a full 7 days. I did my part.

Arvin Gerhard Cortez Angeles

09/06/2012 07:06 pm

"the original Penguin was sandwiched between two Pandas" gave me a vividly disturbing picture.


09/06/2012 08:50 pm

Hi Barry, nice post. To be honest, getting to the point of not even stressing about google, it's getting so ridiculous. favour please - how do you create the excellent vector images like the one for this post ? Photoshop ? Thanks.

Barry Schwartz

09/06/2012 08:52 pm

I use Photoshop. It isn't vector.


09/06/2012 08:59 pm

Thanks - just curious where do you get the elements to put together and can you recommend any tutorials or did you learn on a course or yourself ? Thanks.

Barry Schwartz

09/06/2012 09:02 pm

Mostly ShutterStock.


09/06/2012 09:25 pm says nothing. interestingly it said lots happened over weekend. I wonder if the webmaster chatter lags behind what mozcast sees?


09/06/2012 09:29 pm

Reading that Greg was a wasted 25 seconds of my life

Guy E

09/06/2012 09:50 pm

Um, if you read this blog regularly - you know that Barry comments on what he sees and nothing more. Yes, it's speculation; but its speculation that gives us more of an edge to know what MIGHT be happening and prepare for the worst..

Guy E

09/06/2012 09:51 pm

I've seen a lot of movement with one of our sites in particular that I've only started working on again with it being dead over the past 12 months. It was ranking on the 3rd page for a popular "slots" related term, but is now back on the 30th page... not happy! Let's see what happens..


09/06/2012 10:27 pm



09/06/2012 10:45 pm

I think Barry is on to something. I actually visited this site as well as Searchengineland a couple of times yesterday because I saw a big drop in referrals from Google. I'm now questioning whether I did something (I made some minor changes a couple of weeks ago) or whether it is an algorithmic change. Back around when Penguin launched, I saw a spike in traffic and yesterday that spike was taken away. I can only guess that this is a Penguin update.


09/06/2012 10:49 pm

Thats right Barry you are the Googlemeister :)


09/07/2012 01:28 am

I think after next penguin update google MFA full banner ad sites will be ranked in organic top1 (in same way as 'credit card' results now, it will named new smart AI google graph). Matt Cutts tell us before what adwords ads is better than organic results, so now we know what the way his brain works. And adsense finally will stop converts. What about penguin update - I not see it, same traffic as before.

Daniel Martin

09/07/2012 05:18 am

May be Google focused on updating the next algorithm(Penguin 1.2 or 2.0). I think this is the fact for your discussion.


09/07/2012 05:48 am

153 tweets right now - we obviously need this type of posts. True doesn't change anything, but I check in several times a day because Barry gives nice summaries which saves me time. So please keep posting this type of posts! Thanks!


09/07/2012 06:07 am

yes Barry you r right saying .. something big is brewing


09/07/2012 06:17 am

I'm no pro at this so it's good to know it's not only happening to me. My blog (it's only about 6 months old though) was ranking in the top 10 for a couple of terms on local searches and now they've dropped to the 5-10 pages of google. My main keyword is still holding strong at 1 though. Might have something to do with local searches.


09/07/2012 07:36 am

Google PR team will not comment on something means secret!


09/07/2012 11:27 am

I agree with you second...I understand that Barry covers speculation and posts like this make sense to me, it's just that they are little bit


09/07/2012 11:32 am

I agree with you second...I understand that Barry covers a lot of speculation but to conclude something big is cooking up just because Google is not returning emails is exaggeration. And yes, I also think Google team are pissed off any time they see Barry's email...

SEO Atlanta

09/07/2012 12:19 pm

SEOMoz ranking results were offline for at least 24 hrs. Hmmm. I've seen results change dramatically even when a "refresh" or update was NOT announced. IMHO, make sure you are hooked up with Google Plus since Google LOVES it shows it on the SERPs.

Todd Herman

09/07/2012 02:37 pm

Not really sure how much more Jarring or Jolting they can get? Waking up with ranking loss nightmares sucks here guys n gals, lol. Since Penguin release we have not been effected one bit. How can this be? Three rules: Keep it natural keep it clean Keep it niche or social related Keep it contextual and diverse Keep your content 2.5 to 2.7% keyword density optimized.

Jeff Downer Indianapolis IN

09/07/2012 02:46 pm

Perez Schwartz? lol

Kevin Spence

09/07/2012 03:01 pm

Don't put too much stock in MozCast. It can be a helpful tool, but at the same time, it didn't even blip with the last Panda refresh.

Aranzamendez Design

09/07/2012 04:37 pm

Well, maybe there's a penguin update this week because I see some certain improvement with my targeted keywords for my website..


09/07/2012 06:42 pm

There was an update for sure (sometime in the last 7 days). Manage around 400 sites and noticed huge drops and increases.


09/07/2012 10:11 pm

You are right to some extent but this mainly works for editorial sites. It's hard to use a one size fits all approach when it comes to websites. Shopping sites, forums, comparison sites, data analysis sites etc. have a harder time following all these rules.


09/08/2012 11:45 am

I had an important site that was on p 1 since 2004 suddenly do to p 2 late August- my guess is it´s the template (same template on many pages spoas not to irritate the customers) - Google now starts seeing that as "duplicate content", each page has to look and sound entirely different now. And they are certainly weeding out people who are not paying them... I am starting to mind my Bing results more lately, it is becoming hopeless with Google - sure hope it´s glory days are over. They are cultivating paying masochists, telling the rest not to be evil. Site is recovering btw after many template changes...


09/08/2012 11:47 am

They hate everybody but what difference does that make ;)

Glenn D. Bearsky

09/10/2012 08:43 am

I concur, Barry. I'm seeing 'See-Saw' traffic patterns across dozens of sites the past few days - money keywords I ain't seen in months magically reappearing then vanishing within hours. A re-sampling (or more accurately a PRE-sampling?) I got the feeling in my bones too: Like we're in the back seat of a car getting Felt-Up - and either Googy is about to fall in love with us, or dump us out on the pavement!


09/10/2012 08:02 pm

Last 2 weeks days avg. position for 1 of our target terms (we had near pos 5 avg in sept), lets start w/ Aug 16 forward to Sep 10 : 4.5, 4.6 ,4.8 ,4.5 ,5.3 ,7.2 ,6.5 ,6.8 ,8.4 ,7.0 ,5.2 ,5.4 ,7.3 ,9.6 ,8.5 ,7.1 ,6.1 ,6.8 ,5.2 ,8.0 ... how is this possible!?!?!


09/11/2012 12:11 pm

feel and update coming in my bones.

Ben Guest

09/11/2012 05:56 pm

Well, that is suppose to be an Infrastructure/Hardware failure issue not related to anything Google. Suppose to be...

Ben Guest

09/11/2012 06:34 pm

Yea, and because it has 17...4 responses. Don't hate the player. Hate the game.

Scott Ludtke

09/12/2012 10:47 am

I find it amazing that people sit and wait for this "update". What for? Can you do anything about it once it is launched? Probably not. Everyone has been put on notice about these updates and that you need to get your act together or be crushed. Obvious signs of some sort of recent update are clear (i.e. scrambled results of Places and organic intertwined) and whether or not it was just a tweak or a complete refresh is completely irrelevant to my continued writing of fresh content and attaining backlinks.


10/06/2012 05:10 am

Yeah, I agree, something is broiling. 's traffic virtually gone to non existent. I cant put it down to anything else but a possible update.. They shoudl release an official update so we all know where we stand.


10/06/2012 05:13 am that is. One thing to mention though, I configured Structured Data following Googles guidelines, not sure if this would effect rankings though?

Lizee Helene

09/09/2013 08:52 am

i was having a great traffic and all of a sudden on 7th Morning my traffic fall from 160K to 80K and now its going worst everyday... don't know whats wrong with google.. i had first spots on most of the keywords and now i can't find myself in google...

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