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Transcript & Conclusions from SEOMoz’s Whiteboard+ on Google’s Penguin Update

Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Featured Posts, Penguin Update | 8 comments

Penguin - The Webspam Sheriff


Hi Everyone,

For those of us following every conclusion Rand Fishkin has on the latest events on SEO, I have to say this week’s Whiteboard+ on Google’s Penguin Update was a little disappointing.  Why? Well there are a few reasons:

1. It’s too little, too late – a lot has been written about this topic (Including a post here on this blog), including actual and practical tips on how to survive this update & how to bounce back. (see much better resources at the bottom of this post)

2. No transcript? Hmmm…

3. On Google +? Though I have thought about it in the past, it looks like SEOMoz are becoming more and more “Google Allies”, trying to push us all, whether we want to or not, to G+.

4. SEOMoz seem to be ignoring completely the fact that Google haven’t yet picked up on the fact that with a quick 301 redirect you can easily continue what ever it is you’re doing and bounce right back…
(As David Naylor points out in his wonderful article (already brought to you in my post on Negative SEO): “Sometimes you are going to have to bite the bullet and face the fact it’s over, all that work you have done is gone ( 301′ing is still working for now so none branded sites have an out but that hole will be fixed and I feel the pain will be worse than what we are seeing now)”. )

So… no transcript + Google Plus + no actual tips to “save yourself” = I smell conspiracy… I think it’s on Google’s best interest to “recruit” an SEO “trend setter” and tell him what to say, and it sounds like that’s what’s happening, buy hey, that’s just my opinion, feel free to criticize…

But in any case, every resource on this subject is important, so I decided to watch the video and bring you a summary of the points presented by Rand:

What’s Unique + Noteworthy About Google’s Penguin Update (The title is in itself controversial, especially with the “plus” in it ;))

  1. Not focused on improving the quality of SERPs – the focus is to penalize and remove value from sites & pages whose link profile seem to be manipulating the SERPs and violating Google’s guidelines. We’re not sure if it’s a penalty or devaluated links. More about enforcing guidelines & removing value from links and penalizing people for acquiring them then it is about improving SERPs. Google is willing to make the search results worse temporarily in order to make sure people follow the rules/guidelines.
  2. Affects some of the worst spam (total junk, completely obvious networks etc) and a lot of “very light” spam (grey hat: penalize link from client pages (web hosting services, with kws, wp footers) they are missing out on both sides.
  3. Focused primarily on manipulative link profiles – what sort of links are linking to you and who are you linking to (are you involved in some kind of link scheme?). That being said there were a lot of updates happening at the same time, panda 3.5, 3.6, hacked domains bug + another update + the 53 changes Google made in april to the results, so you see a lot of bouncing in the results, so you can’t really be sure that you were hit by Penguin so you want to be researching into everything you’ve been doing recently that could have affected you right or wrong.
  4. Appears to affect a disproportionate level of sites in the marketing/services fields – many of these have a disproportionate no. of links and spam, usual web design city, seo city name etc, however this could just be that we’re in a niche a lot of people talking to each other.
  5. No confirmation (yet) of a “rolling” update (like Panda) Will there be versions? We don’t know, however Google have set up a feedback form for sites feeling that they we’re “unjustly harmed” by this update. This strongly suggests that Google admits that their claims could be correct and they made a  mistake. Right now there’s definitely a lot of data analysis going on at Google for conclusions and possible for future versions.
  6. Lots of “terrible” stuff ranking in the spammiest verticals, including empty/parked domains – a lot of sites that spammers test their stuff on were not caught in this update, essentially moving up when other things have slid down – the backlinks for these sites were created really fast, faster than SEOMoz/Majestic can catch up to them, they also redirect search engines, making them “uncatchable”.

So what’s been said here? Nothing we haven’t heard before, no tips to bounce back…

Well the good thing about this Whiteboard Plus is that people actually did criticize Rand Fishkin this time and got him to admit:

rand fishking is human!

And another good thing is that we got him to “give in his sources” about Penguin:
” I’d probably advise everyone to merely look at my opinions and input as one perspective. There’s lots of smart folks out there writing good stuff on this”

And these sources are brought to you here now:

More Important Resources Can be found in my Penguin vs. Panda Post, and here:

Feel free to send in your comments :)

Today, May 5th, Matt Cutts referred to the Penguin update as “a success”, in an interview with Danny Sullivan. Read it here


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Camilla PAtruno

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    • SEOMom

      Hi Camilla,
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  3. Brandon

    I dont know exactly why, but I find your blog up to date, interesting and informative…

    Ha! that could be my next spun comment spam.

    But, Im missing the website part, and seriously, seems your site has 21 indexed pages on google, I found it in its early stage, lucky me

  4. Quentin Tsironis

    I adore the wp theme, where ever did anyone get a hold of that through?