Update-Bell: Googles Pony update is shaking the SERPs

Pretty smart that we have an internal update alarm bell. It always rings when Google is shaking the SERPs with its updates. And on Saturday it was ringing like hell. And we don’t agree with others that this is not an update, our statistics show that this must be some kind update.

It is a little to early to show a detailed analysis, but we are already checking the winners and losers of the update. I wanted to give notice as fast as possible, the refreshed set of data will be available on friday in our Suite and Essentials, there you can also check if you have been affected or not (which you should already see in your traffic statistics).  But we didnt want to wait, so here is a small preview. And with the refreshed data we will also see if it has addidtional impacts or if Google had to roll it back, which they did from time to time. The first data is based on our mini-keywordset containing 250.000 different keywords that we monitor internally in addition to our software to identify google updates.

In general it looks like pages out of different verticals are affected. And some pretty hard. For us it looks like a quality update also affecting longtail keyword set, and we just named it Pony update. In German we have a saying “Das Leben ist kein Pony Hof”, which means in English “Life is not a bowl of cherries”. That’s why “Pony” should fit. 😉

And to say it was just a small change is simply wrong. We talked to some on the loser side and they really lost a lot of traffic, so this must be a change.

Here is the list of some losers:

domain difference in %
foodnetwork.com -28,88
foxnews.com -24,48
usatoday.com -20,61
dishonline.com -69,12
toptenreviews.com -22,82
ew.com -26,28
filehippo.com -35,21
mydish.com -31,03
armorgames.com -35,67
pogo.com -25,48
verizon.com -41,55
promoutfitters.com -78,30
hopstop.com -80,64
allurebridals.com -73,88
wikia.com -20,07
pbskids.org -38,96
bcbsil.com -89,44
shockwave.com -35,70
randmcnally.com -22,90
yellowpages.com -31,77
babycenter.com -26,22
directionsmag.com -98,28
cheapoair.com -20,93
epicurious.com -26,71
nick.com -27,83
mcafee.com -26,51

Looking at the list of winners seems to proof that this must be an update. Like with the panda updates, where we already noticed the same, there are not big winners, but a lot of small winners that move a few positions up in the SERPs. So we wont show any winner list, this is something you can check soon in our Software for yourself.

So what do you think about this update, we are looking for your ideas and suggestions what this update is about. Let us know in the comments what you think, and dont forget to monitor, measure and analyse 😉

Yours Marcus

PS: The update was on November 17th, and that was my birthday.. It there a correlation..?

Who’s writing this stuff? My name is Marcus Tober and I’m the founder of Searchmetrics. Because we really love to analyze every kind of online data, we can give you more insights than any other company in SEO, SEM and Social Media. It’s not a job, it’s passion. You can find me also on Google+ .
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Comments (34)

Comments (47)

  1. 2012/11/22

    I noticed a huge jump around for my personal website keywords, my top level page has now jumped from #7 to #49 and my Blog has come from 100+ to position #7. This is clear that something has happened, I wish Google would release data to tell us how to improve etc

  2. 2012/11/22

    We are seeing some big ranking changes in The Netherlands as well, though I can’t realy make up which type of sites increased in rankings. Results seem diverse.

  3. Joe

    Interesting stuff. I wonder what the fall out will be?

    I think ‘pony’ is rhyming slang for something but can’t quite remember what…

  4. 2012/11/22

    The update was on November 17th, and that was my birthday.. It there a correlation..?

    There’s correlation but not causation 😀

    I notice a ranking boost on a few website between November 14th and 16th.

  5. 2012/11/23

    Froids man!!!

  6. 2012/11/23

    I always get suspicious when Google starts moving serps around just before Black Friday. I wonder who is going to be the big Black Friday winner. Google will be one of the winners that is already guaranteed.

  7. 2012/11/23


    mmmh… I registrered my ranking boost for italian keywords in Google.it, and here there’s not the Black Friday 😉

  8. 2012/11/23

    There is no update today, But Yes there were little changes on 16-17 November.

  9. 2012/11/24

    I lost 20% of my traffic by google. Keywords have not changed position, but strangely traffic fell. I’m starting to believe the pony update. = D I’m from Brazil.

  10. 2012/11/26

    Hi Marcus, happy birthday with a few days late.

    We were wondering in the french forum webmaster-rank.info if your post was concerning specific gg data center (UK, USA??) and if your have any other information yet.

    Btw, you named it pony which is quite funny, after Panda and penguin, why not ah ah

    Cheers to you and your community 😉

  11. 2012/11/26

    Update was great for me. Jumped to page 1 on a couple keywords and page two on couple others. I just checked and I have dropped back a couple page ranks, but still happy with whatever they are doing!
    Thanks for the blog

  12. 2012/11/26

    Google pony could be a great update name !

  13. 2012/11/27

    I did not see anything on the websites I manage… So I just discover there was an update actually.
    Did someone figure out what signals were targeted?

  14. 2012/11/28

    my page has now jumped from 35 to position 19.

  15. 2012/12/01

    I can say that this new algorithm change pony?

  16. 2012/12/02

    Yep, I’ve definitely seen some changing in serps on a few sites. And in my humble opinion not all god changes. But that’s how it is. I’ll just have to get back on the high horse and work even harder 🙂

  17. 2012/12/02

    on 30 Nov my site rank going down from first page to 160 position.

  18. 2012/12/28

    There is any update on this algorithm change? i see a lot of sites which have been affected and they don’t seem to recover.

  19. 2012/12/28

    I’ve seen sites that have lost more than 90% of their natural traffic in french

  20. 2013/01/08


    I also saw my website rank has been move upward after this week,
    But from last 2 weeks the ranking for few keywords goes down and down, is they had did any new update?

  21. 2013/01/18

    Not everyone noticed a change. This may take a few months.

  22. 2013/02/21

    We noticed some changes signinificativas within 60 days of hard work.

  23. 2013/04/10

    In that month some keywords had a great boost, but in the next months they go down slowly.

  24. 2013/08/20

    Love keeping on top of all the changes.

    Are you guys keeping an up to date public list every week of top winners / losers?

  25. 2014/01/09

    great update name thanks

  26. 2014/07/29

    Haven’t heard of Googles pony update before, stumbled across this blog accidentally but found it really interesting cheers.

  27. 2014/08/16

    It’s impressive that you are getting thoughts from this article as well as from
    our discussion made here.

  28. 2014/09/22

    Just wondered if you read any SEO experts? I can’t find good information which I can action
    Bookmarked your site, should help me keep up to date
    with your posts

  29. 2014/10/13

    I noticed the change and the site of my agency lost a gande positioning . Already have worked with positive results to reverse the decrease in traffic .

  30. 2015/06/23

    i remenber that my site jump 45 to 18…
    wow for me is very well!

  31. 2017/01/12

    We are seeing some big ranking changes in The Netherlands as well, though I can’t realy make up which type of sites increased in rankings. Results seem diverse.

  32. 2017/04/09

    Hi Marcus,
    I wonder who is going to be the big Black Friday winner. Google will be one of the winners that is already guaranteed.
    This is clear that something has happened, I wish Google would release data to tell us how to improve etc

  33. 2018/11/22

    Great post!

    Well If stuff dident chance the SEO game would be a little boring, woulden’t?


    Steffen H. L. Fonvig

Trackbacks (13)

Comments (47)

  1. 2012/11/22

    […] lista divulgada aqui mostra uma queda que varia entre 26 e 90% do tráfego de alguns site […]

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    […] Tober van Searchmetrics geeft aan dat er vanuit hun data duidelijk gedistilleerd kan worden dat er een update is geweest. Uiteraard hoort daar weer een passende naam bij: Pony Update. Zoals het nu lijkt, is […]

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    […] si parla da qualche giorno di un nuovo aggiornamento di Google. Alcuni credono sia pura fantasia, altri invece ne sono talmente convinti che gli hanno addirittura già dato un nome: il Pony […]

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  9. 2012/12/31

    […] This from search metrics, is about the best I can get on the subject. It looks like another quality update of sorts. __________________ Tsuyoku arou kokoro midasazu, saigo no negai sae kanaerarenu yoru ni. My BusinessDMS blog. Forum Rules and FAQ's at a glance […]

  10. 2014/03/19

    […] Piszę „prawdopodobnie”, bo oficjalnego stanowiska Google nie ma. Informacja wyszła z Searchmetrics. Tak czy inaczej, zmiany są bardzo widoczne – można więc przypuszczać, że Google po raz […]

  11. 2014/08/24

    […] a recente atualização de algoritmo do Google, que alguns profissionais da área têm chamado de Google Pony, percebeu-se dois fatores que fazem a diferença em um projeto de […]

  12. 2016/02/25

    […] USA Today que des sites plus indépendants et qualitatifs comme Armor Games ou FileHippo. Le site Searchmetrics a décidé d’appeler cette hypothétique mise à jour Google Pony. Google ne confirme rien mais […]

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