Founded in 2005, we're a strong boutique SEO consulting group with big experience and
industry recognition. We invite you to browse the site and learn more about who we are,
and more importantly, what we can bring to your business. Partner with us.
 
 
 

I Think Google Will Reverse (Some Of) Penguin

Articles from

Follow me on or Twitter (@billsebald)

Like this post?  Why not tweet it! 


Like us on Facebook for one daily SEO industry article in your newsfeed.

A clarification before we begin.  I don’t think Penguin will be eradicated or the name becomes a distant memory like Joe Piscipo (spelled wrong in case Joe has himself on Google Alerts – I’ve seen his arms!), but I am referring to pulling back on some of the areas that are overclocked, and reversing SOME of Penguin.  There was some confusion by people who jumped at the title without reading the post.  Fair enough, so I’ve tweaked the title for those I’ve infuriated.  You’ve made my day.

I don’t know if Penguin is a penalty or a tweak (Update 7.28.2012 – you’re reading a post that’s a bit outdated; Matt Cutts said this is not a manual penalty) – I don’t care.  At the end of the day it is a furthering attempt to organize the index to show less webspam.  Either by downplaying some factors or emphasizing others, it’s a calibration nonetheless, and one that has thrown more babies out with the bath water than I have to believe was intended.

Penguin With WeaponThe best time to go on vacation is when Google makes a big algorithm adjustment.  Ignore the posts for a couple weeks. When the dust starts to settle, and you see the end result is publically declared “bad rankings” across the board, it’s pretty hard for a company not to be reactionary.  Google, who is usually pretty staunch, has to be listening to this one.

The SERPs look like they did a few years ago, when Google was getting heat for favoring big brands, which ultimately came from high domain authority.  That didn’t bode well for them then, and it will be worse now.

These Google engineers are smarter than I’ll ever dream to be, but I truly believe that the algorithm they created is a monster.  A series of thousands of gears built upon each other, so deep and complex that a master blueprint doesn’t even contain it.  Until a Googler tells me otherwise (and even then I’m sure I’ll doubt), I think a lot of their search quality meetings end with, “Ok – let’s make that change and see what the hell happens.”  I don’t think they will ever understand the true extent of what even a simple tweak will do. Forget this 3% or 7% shit – it’s clearly been a variable number with a huge “give or take.”

So, I think Google will silently develop another tweak and pull this one back.  Maybe the requirement will be to pull back an offending Panda update that just isn’t meshing well anymore in this jumble, or pulling back the scrutiny lens on anchor text (including internal). I don’t know.  But I do believe that headlines like As Google Tweaks Searches, Some Get Lost in the Web, from the Wall Street Journal, get passed around in the C-suite pretty quickly.  Google knows perception is reality, and doesn’t want to be seen beating up the little guy.

If Google does reverse Penguin – and by “reverse” I mean pull back some of the overclocking errors, I have to think (and hope) there’s a down-turn in current domain authority factors, and a real algorithm thread that truly values this “quality content” we’re told by every SEO post to create.  But without parameters, who the hell knows what a confused algorithm will consider quality.

I’m going back on vacation.   Let’s see if Sebaldamus is right on this one!

Update 7.28.2012 –  They still haven’t.  Damn.  The Google Dance is still on high.  Results are still favoring brands, and SEOs are scrambling to develop more link tools to make a quick buck (like link removal tools).  Penguin is starting to settle in, and as Wil Reynolds said at Mozcon 2012, it might have been the best thing to happen to our industry, and might actually improve the reputation of the SEO industry while allowing us to benefit Google.  If they can just make the rankings good, well, that would be super.



    Comments

    The comments are do-follow. However, any comments that use keyword anchor text as the name will be removed.

    1. Matt
      May 22, 2012

      That makes a lot of sense. Definitely agree if they do it, we probably won’t ever hear an official statement.

      Reply


    2. Matt
      May 22, 2012

      That makes a lot of sense. Definitely agree if they do it, we probably won’t ever hear an official statement.

      Reply


    3. Steve
      May 22, 2012

      Interesting viewpoint, Bill. However, I can’t see them reversing the changes, but maybe fine-tuning them a lot.

      To state the obvious, Google obviously had something in mind when they unleashed Penguin – some idealistic view of how they wanted the SERPs to be after this (otherwise surely they wouldn’t have done anything at all) – and so surely it’s just a case of them perfecting Penguin until they get it to be what they had in mind.

      Hopefully that means the perfect combo of sites that deserve to show at the top of the SERPs without having relied on spammy tactics. Whether such an ideal can be reached… I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

      Reply


    4. Steve
      May 22, 2012

      Interesting viewpoint, Bill. However, I can’t see them reversing the changes, but maybe fine-tuning them a lot.

      To state the obvious, Google obviously had something in mind when they unleashed Penguin – some idealistic view of how they wanted the SERPs to be after this (otherwise surely they wouldn’t have done anything at all) – and so surely it’s just a case of them perfecting Penguin until they get it to be what they had in mind.

      Hopefully that means the perfect combo of sites that deserve to show at the top of the SERPs without having relied on spammy tactics. Whether such an ideal can be reached… I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

      Reply


    5. Keith
      May 22, 2012

      Going on vacation in a few weeks, although it has nothing to do with Penguin. Great points all of them, and one that I think Google shouldn’t ignore. Is there any one single person at Google who truly understands the algo from beginning to end, it’s almost asking a geologist who studies rocks to talk about the mere atoms and quarks the rocks are made of. That’s the “building blocks” of the algorithms that often go unnoticed when rolling out these huge sweeping changes.

      Reply


    6. Keith
      May 22, 2012

      Going on vacation in a few weeks, although it has nothing to do with Penguin. Great points all of them, and one that I think Google shouldn’t ignore. Is there any one single person at Google who truly understands the algo from beginning to end, it’s almost asking a geologist who studies rocks to talk about the mere atoms and quarks the rocks are made of. That’s the “building blocks” of the algorithms that often go unnoticed when rolling out these huge sweeping changes.

      Reply


    7. Mark Kennedy
      May 22, 2012

      @ Steve, I agree, just like Panda, there will be more and more Penquin updates until they “think” they get it right. They won’t reverse it, just keep messing with the dials.

      @Bill I think there is definitely some truth in your statement…

      “I don’t think they will ever understand the true extent of what even a simple tweak will do”

      That’s why there are so many algo changes in the first place. Some are just bigger (and more public) than others. So I think we’ll see another Penguin version, sooner than later. Maybe even before you get back from vacation.

      Reply


    8. Mark Kennedy
      May 22, 2012

      @ Steve, I agree, just like Panda, there will be more and more Penquin updates until they “think” they get it right. They won’t reverse it, just keep messing with the dials.

      @Bill I think there is definitely some truth in your statement…

      “I don’t think they will ever understand the true extent of what even a simple tweak will do”

      That’s why there are so many algo changes in the first place. Some are just bigger (and more public) than others. So I think we’ll see another Penguin version, sooner than later. Maybe even before you get back from vacation.

      Reply


    9. Dan
      May 22, 2012

      Whether or not they know the algorithm fully or not, I’m yet to see any massive change in SERPs for our clients. Which is great so far… means we’re doing a good job.

      It’s quite an issue for Google to be faced with coming up with a solution to people ‘manipulating’ page rank. Things have been this way out of necessity. However, I bet if you asked Google to define what is relevant for a search term, they’d have a tough time doing it.

      Considering things like context and what constitutes positive or negative opinions would be a really tough ask.

      It’s the best search engine we’ve got. I’m grateful. Me and 97% of other Australians (apparently) seem to think so too.

      Reply


    10. Iain
      May 24, 2012

      It’s funny, everyone’s going nuts about Penguin and I’ve seen nothing in rankings or traffic reports to be concerned about, over 20-30 clients, whatsoever.

      Sometimes I wonder if I’m missing the point altogether.

      Reply


    11. Thomas Brewer
      May 24, 2012

      I believe you might have missed the point.

      Reply


    12. Cathie
      June 12, 2012

      It seems to me that Google is taking aim at its own currency: backlinks. No matter how great their content is, small local businesses will not get many backlinks… who really is going to link to them? Even if they can afford to make their sites amazing and chock-ful of fascinating content, they are too small to get much notice or many links.

      So if these small businesses are not allowed to build offsite backlinks to their sites or are penalized for doing so, they will disappear from search results, and no one will be able to find them. Thus the depth and breadth of search results will be diminished and Google itself will have poorer results. Companies who provide great services but who are bad at writing and putting content on their sites will not be found. Only larger businesses who can afford a ton of content writers will be high in the results.

      Already it seems harder to find things that were easy to find before Penguin, and Google search results seem in a bit of a mess now. I found myself searching with Yahoo the other day, trying to find a local company whose name I couldn’t remember. It’s been years and years since I searched with Yahoo. But there was the company I needed in Yahoo’s results and they were no where to be found in Google. They must have been lost in the Penguin update. So Penguin has already hurt Google if people have to turn to Yahoo to find what they need.

      Reply