Google Penguin Refresh in the UK

Google Penguin Refresh in the UK

Blog Google Algo Update Google Penguin News SEO SERPS

Tonight at 22:30 we are seeing huge movement in the Google UK SERPS. As we predicted we thought the Google Penguin update might take another couple of weeks to feel the full affects of it in the UK as Google had announced approx 2 weeks ago the roll out had finished.

On October 10th 2016 we report that we were seeing some big changes in the organic results and previously Penguin affected sites were showing signs of improvement. But tonight we are seeing way more than even compared to the 10th October.

My guess is the data is finally hitting UK data centres and over the next week or so you should be seeing solid positions.

I hope you’re seeing more ups than downs, but remember guys even if you do get hit by the Penguin, never give up you can always recover.

Google Penguin Dataset Fluctations – But Penguin Recoveries Are Happening Right Now!

Google Penguin Dataset Fluctations – But Penguin Recoveries Are Happening Right Now!

Blog Google Algo Update Google Penguin SEO

Hey everyone I decided to hold off posting anything about the latest Google Penguin 4.0 algorithm update until I had collated enough data to report properly, and not just another click bait post.

So what do we know about Google Penguin 4.0 update

Well officially according to Google it rolled out on the 23rd September 2016 but many including myself believe it may have rolled out even soon than that. We tracked ranking fluctuations weeks and week before this and later in this blog we will share with you dates throughout the year where we tracked massive but temporary ranking improvements.

This is what Google has to say about the Penguin 4.0 Real Time Update

  • Penguin is now real-time. Historically, the list of sites affected by Penguin was periodically refreshed at the same time. Once a webmaster considerably improved their site and its presence on the internet, many of Google’s algorithms would take that into consideration very fast, but others, like Penguin, needed to be refreshed. With this change, Penguin’s data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we recrawl and reindex a page. It also means we’re not going to comment on future refreshes.
  • Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.

Let’s break this down in more detail and what Penguin 4.0 means for SEO’s and webmasters right now.

‘Penguin is now real-time’

get out of penguin jailThis now means if you’re website gets caught out for manipulating it’s organic search rankings then it can be as quickly corrected. More importantly though it means those who were hit by a previous generation of the Penguin algorithm and were waiting on a refresh to clear any penalties against them, as long as they have cleaned up their link profile and haven’t continued to spam will finally be free!

Google makes a big point of mentioning it’s now granular rather than penalising an entire website.

I think this is one of the most interesting points about the latest Google Penguin update. Previously spammers would feel the full wrath of Google should you get caught out. But now they are quite clearly telling us all that if you spam or try and cheat with paid links etc then you shouldn’t expect your whole site rankings to get killed off.

How Google Penguin now looks and deals with link spam

This is the biggie without a doubt and I could write about this all day but I will keep it short and sweet.

Google tells us that now it won’t penalise you but in fact will ignore suspicious links to your site. Hang on a sec!

No more Google Penguin Penalties, ever?!?!?!?!

google penguin 4.0 devalues links rather than penalizes

Yep according to this post Gary Illyes at Google said that they now look at signals that suggest spamming or link manipulation and will just devalue the links rather than penalising for them.

Goodbye link spammers and negative SEO problems then?

Looks like Google sorted that issue out then. But it does also make you question is a rolling Penguin update even that important if it just ignores spam? There are two types of websites right now that this applies to.

1.) Sites that already have a penalty from previous Google Penguin updates

2.) Sites that are yet to spam and have no issues.

So for the first type of website which have had Penguin issues, once the update has fully rolled out and all data is refreshed they are free from the evil Penguin.

The second type, the good guy not doing anything wrong then this really has no affect on them. Because if Google Penguin now devalues spam then it with neither harm or positively affect your rankings anyway.

The ones that slipped through the net

So far so good then with the Google penguin 4.0 update it seems. But what about serial spammers the seem to have slipped through the net? I discussed this in my last blog post about certain websites we’d found to be link spamming and getting away with it.

Techniques such as using link networks (SAPE/PBN’s) but cleverly using no relevant business keyword anchor text. Thus being able to keep off the radar from Penguin and the manual spam action team at Google.

Will Penguin ever catch up with the no-good-ers?

I think Penguin will only continue to evolve and catch black hatters out but right now from what we have seen those who choose to link spam using a bit more grey matter are getting away with it and dominating search results.

So that’s what we know about Penguin 4.0 so far and what it means right now for SEO’s.

Evidence of Google Penguin Recoveries

This is the really good news and also some pretty strong evidence that contradicts what many believed a Penguin recovery to really be.

The U.S were reporting Penguin recoveries a little sooner than we were seeing here in the U.K – We started to see these on Monday 3rd October 2016. At first the results of obvious recoveries were hit and miss but over the next week we saw many sites recovering and showing huge ranking and traffic increase.

Don’t worry about ranking fluctuations Google has a lot of data to go through

If you’ve been seeing fluctuations in your organic rankings over the last 2 weeks then don’t worry as Gary Illyes once again has said this is normal and to be expected.

During parts of the week we reported as many as 8 fluctuations per day, with rankings moving up and back down to their last seen position, pre Penguin 4.0 roll out.

google penguin recoveries and ranking fluctuations


Strange results in Google search for your domain?

I thought i’d mention this incase anyone else had seen strange indexing issues with their website.

For one website we are tracking who’s site has seen a huge Penguin recovery in the last week with traffic increased by as much as 50% their home page was not listed in the results if you searched

This site has no manual actions and I wouldn’t expect it to either as it has a very organic and clean link profile. Plus it’s rankings for every other page have increased massively. Plus what’s even more interesting is when using a mobile browser or even mobile device tethered to a laptop the home page is indexed and has been reindexed twice since we noticed the error.

I think there must be others seeing pages missing, even their home page/root domain but if you do don’t panic as there are no penalties from Penguin anymore, we know that anyway and it looks as those there are just some holes still in Google’s dataset.

Biggest Google Penguin Recoveries We’ve Seen

One site we look after was hit with a manual action in 2012 and Penguin penalty in 2013. We began the long drawn out task of auditing all of their inbound and outbound back links. Once we were certain on the offending links we started to reach out to websites asking them to remove them, and where we couldn’t get them removed disavowed them. 2778+ referring domains removed in total.

Waiting patiently for Penguin to refresh, we expected huge improvements in their rankings, but sadly it never came.

Recovery without link building as the primary SEO focus

Without building links, just a few organic ones the site has now fully recovered. Even with very few back links, only good content the website has made a full recovery.

During the early part of this year the website traffic started to increase and peaked in July (this is a seasonally effected industry)

traffic increase





Their website traffic hit almost the same peak as it did when they were spamming, over 45,000 unique visitors in a month.

Then came Penguin 4.0 last week and everything changed

I must be clear nothing else has been done just added more good content and concentrated on getting the on page SEO in order.

Last week everything changed for this website (which I’m not going to publish). Suddenly where it had once ranked page 1 but not been seen for almost 3 years was now back. Plus more importantly with all the new content it was getting a lot more long tail keyword traffic, over 30,000 search terms in fact as apposed to 200+.

So this leads the question can you recover from a Penguin penalty without link building and still rank page 1?

YES, Yes you can! We’ve seen it in more than once too.

We’re seeing sites previously panned in search with no SEO since and no links whatsoever now ranking where they once did.

Don’t give up on your penalised website, you can recover fully and even higher than you did before.

I say this because i’ve read so many times where business owners have been told by SEO’s just give up and build a new site on a new domain. But if you’ve spent thousands on building your site and just as much if not even more getting it to rank well just throwing it away shouldn’t be your first decision.

We’ve now recovered more than 50 websites in the last 24 months and more in the last 2 weeks.

If you’re site isn’t doing as well as it once did or has taken a hit recently then talk to us and we’ll try and help.

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Is Google already rolling out or testing it’s penguin update?

Is Google already rolling out or testing it’s penguin update?

Google Penguin

I’m sure we are all sick of reading about the pending Google Penguin 4.0 update but it’s something that many people are still discussing and wanting to know more.

We’ve covered many blogs about Google Penguin:

We’ve also covered SERP fluctuations in the UK over the last few months and strange results showing up then disappearing but what we all really want to know is when is Google going to release the new (improved?) Penguin update which is said to be an ongoing part of the core algorithm.

Why Google Might Have Already started to roll out the latest Penguin update and not told us?

I have a theory well it’s more of a speculation but it may be possible that Google has been testing the new penguin algorithm for months now and just kept it a secret.

Prove it!

Ok well until Google say’s ‘penguin is live’ then we can’t officially prove it but here’s some interesting information that might make you think otherwise and Penguin is slowing being rolled out or tested.

  1. Many site owners, SEOs and webmasters all reporting massive ranking fluctuations since January.
  2. We have seen websites previously hit by Penguin recover in the last 6-8 weeks. we are talking about sites not on page 1 to top of page 1 overnight. These sites are not currently doing any SEO or link building and seem to have just recovered of their own accord.
  3. Seeing weird stuff in the search results. Now I know this is far from evidence of Penguin but we’ve seen before that just before an algorithm or core update takes place we see weird data merging and bizarre features in Google search results. These usually do not last very long, from a few hours to a few days. But it’s another clue that Google might be making some pretty big changes. This always happens with Google Places in fact. When a significant change happens to Google Places such as the removal of star ratings, colour changes to the layout, 7 packs to 3 pack we always see oddities in data such as wrong cities or country results in Google Places.

Why would Google keep it quiet about rolling out it’s next major Penguin update?

They might well not be but think about it this way does your business leak all of its information publicly before everything has been tested?

Would you release a product that has not been finished?

No! Neither would I and maybe that’s one reason why all these strange goings on in search are penguin related. Just maybe Google is testing to see how it affects search for the good and bad before it announces to the world the next version of the Penguin algorithm has been released.

I would bet money that when we do hear that announcement Penguin 4.0 is live that in fact they’ve been testing it for months before announcing it’s ready.

Google Penguin 4.0 isn’t just another update it’s a lot bigger than that.

The difference we are expecting from the Penguin 4.0 update is that it will work on real-time basis. It doesn’t necessarily mean you get a bad or good link from a site on Monday morning and at 9:01 you get a penalty or ranking improvement. From how we understand Penguin 4.0 to work it will crawl a site check the outbound links to your site then make an alteration to your organic search positioning depending on the quality and legitimacy of the link.

i’m not saying Penguin 4.0 is definitely here but I think it could be very likely it’s already being tested live and will be released/announced very soon.

Massive Ranking Fluctuations in

Massive Ranking Fluctuations in

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We didn’t see much going on over December, well in the scale that everyone in the US was reporting on Twitter for volatile ranking changes. But this week has been a brain melter for SERPs in

Huge fluctuations in this week

  • We’ve seen everything from websites taking 7 of the first page results.
  •, .ca websites being displayed in
  • Hourly ranking fluctuations by as many as 5 positions

Why are my website rankings fluctuating so much?

The truth is no one really knows but those at Google HQ. But if I were to have a stab in the dark i’d say it’s the 3 core algorithmic updates the US saw a few weeks back finally rolling out in the UK.

Could Google Penguin rolling out in the UK?

Sure! But I don’t think it is. It’s too random, we’re not seeing consistent results in some cases it’s just plain weird. We always tell clients that during an Algo update that things can get a bit crazy and it’s kind of normal now to see some dancing in the SERPs. But they usually settle down after a few days or a week in most cases. At one point i saw virtually no .co.yuk websites for a localised search at all and even saw retailers like – and believe me there is no reason for that search i did to show Argos.

Yes! I deleted my cache and web history and wasn’t signed in to Google either.

Why I don’t think it is Google penguin rolling out or being tested

The reason I’m less likely to believe it’s Google penguin is because some of the sites shouldn’t have even shown.

I also tweeted Barry Schwartz who said he wasn’t seeing any chatter.

I guess only time will tell if it’s permanent or maybe Google is just having a melt down because someone spilled coffee on a server somewhere 😉

Check out Mozcast for the Google weather forecast


Anyone seeing ranking fluctuations? Is it Google Penguin finally?

Anyone seeing ranking fluctuations? Is it Google Penguin finally?

Blog Google Algo Update Google Penguin SEO SERPS

Happy New Year to everyone, we hope you’ve all had a wonderfully relaxing Christmas and ready for some exciting stuff to come in the world of search engine marketing in 2016.

Bit of a recap to tail off 2015 with Google’s mysterious algorithm updates in December.

There was a lot of chatter on twitter and the forums over December with a lot of people reporting ranking fluctuations. Mainly good from what we could see.

But no Penguin update before Christmas Google said

Google shakes things up in Jan 2016

If you’re even half as anally retentive as we are about SEO then you’ve probably seen lots of movement in search rankings this month already.

We are seeing previously penalised website hitting page 1 again, and we are talking from not in the first 10 pages to page 1.

If it’s not penguin rolling out something seems to be happening with the Algo.

Share your thoughts with us!