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Update: Google “Bad” SEO Update – Now named Penguin Update

Google, by way of Matt Cutts, announced some weeks ago that a special SEO over optimization update will come. Now it’s live with its first iteration. Yesterday evening Google also published the article “Another step to reward high-quality sites” with some more insights into the update. Interesting stuff that every SEO should read.  The official goal was “to take care” over-optimized websites, containing too many unnatural links, automated content (spinning), keyword stuffing etc. Google tries to kill webspam altogether. The impact on all keywords queries is about 3.1%, which compared to Panda (with around 12%) is much less. But Google said more short-head/visible keywords should be affected.

What’s definitely new and surprising for me was the day of the update. It’s unusual for Google to make a major update on a Tuesday or Wednesday.  Normally Google makes this kind of update on a Monday or Thursday. That’s why I presume that in the next few days we’ll see more updates and this update is just the beginning.

Update: I updated the data tonight so it is fresh and you’ll see more losers and much better correlations to the Google update. You can also click directly in the table to see more data in the Searchmetrics Essentials.

What happened?

I took nearly a huge set of keywords from short-head to medium and low search volume and looked at the current rankings from position 1 to 100 and compared the rankings to April 20th. In the data were also some glitches from the Panda 3.5 update which was going live from April 19th to 20th, Matt Cutts mentioned. But overall you see a trend of those domains which really lost visibility within the Google Penguin update.

In the data I saw some striking losers, which suggests to me there must have been another update today. There is a pattern in the winners and losers table and I’ll give you some insights below the table. Note I analyzed the visibility, not the overall traffic. The SEO visibility only includes calculation on organic rankings. Direct traffic, Social, PPC etc. is absolutely not included.

List of SEO visibility losers (

UPDATE: I updated the table (2012-04-26) with more keywords and fresher data.

Domain SEO Visibility Difference in % 128186 -128679 -50,10 4515 -72248 -94,12 143032 -66286 -31,67 65264 -63770 -49,42 100782 -53439 -34,65 16868 -43554 -72,08 30366 -42772 -58,48 124821 -40846 -24,66 39654 -39966 -50,20 31323 -38387 -55,07 40883 -37542 -47,87 8933 -33676 -79,03 50384 -32243 -39,02 1192 -31367 -96,34 2015 -29850 -93,68 9514 -29339 -75,51 47759 -29281 -38,01 33558 -28644 -46,05 49104 -28268 -36,54 49484 -28153 -36,26 29783 -28085 -48,53 38952 -27989 -41,81 48318 -27985 -36,68 22037 -27534 -55,54 1595 -27269 -94,47 42109 -26965 -39,04 92320 -26162 -22,08 76685 -23355 -23,35 17787 -22175 -55,49 48542 -21948 -31,14 15619 -21672 -58,12 4284 -21096 -83,12 214 -21025 -98,99 27654 -20584 -42,67 74737 -20497 -21,52 13481 -20119 -59,88 41682 -19956 -32,38 6050 -19357 -76,19 1489 -19288 -92,83 68914 -19126 -21,72 44423 -19082 -30,05 25694 -18719 -42,15 5585 -18522 -76,83 15993 -18204 -53,23 6652 -18079 -73,10 8813 -17670 -66,72 13794 -17229 -55,54 54829 -17127 -23,80 827 -17023 -95,37 22190 -16951 -43,31 14936 -16759 -52,88 40126 -16733 -29,43 19251 -16450 -46,08 23960 -16152 -40,27 62290 -15872 -20,31 11762 -15859 -57,42 23640 -15717 -39,93 15151 -15526 -50,61 5606 -15389 -73,30 3207 -15246 -82,62 2564 -14442 -84,92 3732 -14035 -78,99 12157 -13954 -53,44 48204 -13954 -22,45

A lot of these losers are database-driven websites – they mainly aggregate information and use large database systems to create as many pages as possible. Sites such as,, or fall into this pattern. It makes sense that these sites will lose visibility.

Press portals and feed aggregators such as, and were also affected, which makes sense from a Google point of view since these are the website types that are very often created by very aggressive (possibly overly aggressive) SEOs and often contain similar content.

A couple of heavily template-based websites were also affected –, and fit Google’s anti-SEO bill perfectly when it comes automatically (possibly also spun) content.

Furthermore, a lot of sites that copy or rehash other peoples’ content (or are used by their users to do that) were demoted – examples include mayor sites such as, and

First Preview of SEO visibility winners

Domain Win of SEO Visibility in % > 30% > 30% > 30% > 30% > 30% > 30% > 30% > 30% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20% > 20%


On the winners side it’s not as easy as on the losers side to find a pattern. But a lot of brand sites won visibility, which makes sense to Google strategy. Sites like, or lots of other magazines fill perfectly the gap that the losers leave.

The day started exciting and it will end exciting and tomorrow will start again exciting because I have so much data to analyze. 🙂 I keep you updated.

Marcus Tober

Marcus Tober

My name is Marcus Tober and I’m the founder of Searchmetrics. Because we really love to analyze all kinds 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.

115 thoughts on “Update: Google “Bad” SEO Update – Now named Penguin Update

  • Agreed, It’s a bad update for poor webmasters/seo or spammers 🙂

    It has been effected billions of sites and thanks god my client’s sites are not one of them. hmm

    Well, still learning about it. who knows who is the next ?

  • direct payday loan lenders 2012/08/08 at 3:47 am

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  • There are actually loads of particulars like that to take into consideration. That may be a great point to convey up. I supply the thoughts above as basic inspiration however clearly there are questions like the one you bring up the place the most important factor will likely be working in trustworthy good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged round issues like that, but I’m sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls really feel the impression of just a moment’s pleasure, for the remainder of their lives.

  • Google is now supporting paid links or reciprocal links or private blogs. Now SEO is completely depending if you are investing money on buying links and managing own blogs. There are bundle of examples available while searching in Google.

  • A really cool spreadsheet would be how Google treats local directories from period to period. I think the key here is to get fresh, differentiated content on the pages in order to stay ahead of the power curve. Provide value and be rewarded.

  • really useful for effective SEO

  • Hi Marcus,
    I wanted to thank your for this is very interesting article!
    I am amazed at the level of study you have conducted but I can see it will be beneficial to those who aren’t spamming the internet.
    At the end of the day those of us searching for high quality content material that is informative and beneficial to growing our businesses need access to that without the headaches of seo aggressive companies!
    Now with the new updates of Panda, the losers gain a little more of their traffic :(.
    Best regards, Nathan

  • To be the best in the SEO industry, we must be acquainted with in the latest updates in the Google.

  • Website Design Coimbatore 2013/11/28 at 1:44 pm

    this is really excellent information and definitely this will help for those who are looking for updated SEO details…i love it…

  • Excellent information, being quite new to SEO, I’m learning loads by finding useful blogs, gaining an insight to the world of Google & SEO.

  • 2014/02/05 at 8:24 am

    I am appealing and abiding the selectors, they will go arbitrary afterwards this new update! surely!

  • 2014/07/03 at 8:16 am

    Great information. Lucky me I discovered your site by accident (stumbleupon).

    I have book marked it for later!

  • naturall curly hair 2014/07/06 at 2:29 pm

    Would we expect a new update?

  • Foto Nunta Brasov 2014/07/09 at 10:31 am

    Many thanks for this great article.

  • This is really great post by your Marcus. After the panda and penguin update we know that google is working hard to reduce spam links and spam content. Thanks for sharing this informative post with us.

  • auction essistance 2014/07/23 at 7:49 pm

    May I just say what a comfort to find someone who actually knows what they’re talking about online. You definitely understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people must look at this and understand this side of the story. It’s surprising you’re not more popular since you certainly possess the gift.

  • So cool to revisit these old posts, this was the first time the penguin update was discovered little did we know how much this would influence SEO as we know it also love the title Google ‘Bad’ seo update renamed now as Penguin lol it was a bad update at the time but I think Matt Cutts is doing a fantastic job

    now he has to tackle paid links i think

    PS: never knew it was called bad update and im the head of seo at the company i work for oops gonna do more research

  • Huge issues listed here. Now i’m quite happy to look this page. Thanks a lot using this program . having a look forward to hint an individual. Can you you should decrease me a e-mail?

  • This is a good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.

    Brief but very accurate info… Many thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read post!

  • I think Google and their updates are getting way too technical. In 2010 when I was helping to manage some websites – SEO was easy, but now it’s getting even crazier. Trying my hardest to get with the update thingy. All the same thanks for info- well received.

  • I’ve just slapped google update. Whether the reason is what, but someone told me that I don’t give backlink to my site being influential on seo.

  • Wish these updates never happened. It seems like Google is trying to improve revenue by constantly penalizing sites on a regular basis. Ebay improved their SEO and were significantly reducing their adwords spend when then they were slapped with a penalty. This is sad to see happen because Google makes so much money that it doesnt have to resort to this. These updates in theory are great however the reasoning behind them isnt.

  • Anybody knows about last google Penguin Updates.As per my knowledge last last Penguin update happened in August 2012 . Plz if anyone have idea about latest updates and policies for 2015. plz update.

  • Excellent information and definitely this will help for SEO work…

  • ares florentino 2015/01/30 at 8:34 pm

    I remember this day almost as if it were yesterday. I am in love with penguin and totally stand by Google’s update on reducing spam. However I am not a fan of Panda because one of the guidelins that Panda uses to penalize sites in ads above the fold yet Gogle does that themselves on their search site. Its a shame that many webmasters have suffered drop in profits while Google hasn’t. Dont just preach it Google, do it also. Thank you, Ares

  • كورس سيو 2015/03/06 at 12:15 am

    Hope I am not affected by those changes

  • معلومات طبية 2015/12/11 at 12:25 pm

    It’s good to know new updates put forward by Google starting the application and work on them to improve and raise the quality of our website

  • This is the great update. I learned many things. Thanks for posting this great idea..

  • Thanks for posting Wonderful post. I learned many things. Sure Google algorithm affects due to bad SEO. We make sure our site should follow to avoid Google penalty.

  • Daily Sport Matches 2016/01/12 at 2:46 am

    I remember this day almost as if it were yesterday. I am in love with penguin and totally stand by Google’s update on reducing spam. However I am not a fan of Panda because one of the guidelins that Panda uses to penalize sites in ads above the fold yet Gogle does that themselves on their search site. Its a shame that many webmasters have suffered drop in profits while Google hasn’t. Dont just preach it Google, do it also. Thank you, Ares

  • Google keeps changing their algorithms. But, the objective is simple : best results for user.

  • google change algorithm to give the best result for a user. thanks for sharing this article.

  • Tips Decor Design 2016/03/20 at 9:47 am


  • Great article Marcus, really useful for effective SEO

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