Google's PENGUIN Slips On The Ice And Falls Flat On Its Face

Has Google's latest update (Penguin) caused the search engine giant to slip up?

Google Penguin Update

Saturday 28th April 2012

Google Slips UpSomething happened the other day in search engine world. Something seismic, something huge, something devastating to a lot of sites.


It seems that Google wants to tidy up the internet (it's probably Googles fault that the internet is in the mess it is in the first place...but that's for another day).
It seems they rolled out a couple of updates over the past week that were supposed to get rid of spammy websites, landing pages and to promote 'mom and pop' websites more.

What a mess.

What seems to have happened is the spammy websites have been given more prominence and big business websites have been put right at the top of the search engine results whilst the 'mom and pop' websites have been dramatically dropped.

What I have also seen is old (in some cases very old) content moved up into the the top rankings. When I say old I mean 2006 old. Yes, really.

To give some real life examples:
We monitor the big G for the search term 'property for sale in france' for one of our customers (take a guess which one :) ). Now, they have consistently appeared in the top 2 positions for the last 2 or more years. Over the last week or so a new result has appeared in the top 3 positions. It was - go take a look at this site - is it useful, does it provide good information, does it show 'property for sale in france'? No. It doesn't. Just a lot of spammy paid for links (maybe a hint of what Google is actually trying to achieve??). The ads by the way are all served up guessed it ....Google!!
Admitedly the site has now dropped to page 2. But come on Google, really. Should it even be on page 2? Does it provide 'quality content'? Is it an authority website? Does it provide information/services? I think not.

To continue with the above example search term lets now look at the top results.
Whilst our client is still in position 3, a new website has suddenly appeared. One that wasn't there 2 weeks ago. One that wasn't even on the first 10 pages of results for this search term....and guess what? Yes, this result is for a website of one of the biggest (if not the biggest) property website companies in the UK (and the world??). Right Move. At the time of writing this they only had 1300 French property listings. Not exactly an authority site. Also RightMove isn't a 'mom and pop' site that's for sure (I wonder what their marketing/SEO budget is a year - I'm guessing probably quite large)....
So my question would be if it wasn't ranked anywhere before the update (and they didn't have any French property listings) how come it suddenly deserves to be in position 1 (it seems to currently be fluctuating between position 1 and 2)? And what happened to all the 'mom and pop' sites G were going to make sure had some visibility? Gone, thats whats happened to them.

Okay, let's move on.

I was doing some research for an SEO client and was researching some search terms. One of those terms was 'grants for small businesses'. Try it - search (it is UK grants we're looking for).
Have a look at the second result down. See when it is dated - 11 Sept 2009. 2009? Google, we're in 2012 - you SURELY MUST have more up to date information than that!

Another CRAZY example of Google search results - use - this is Googles UK search engine so we would expect UK search results? Wouldn't we? Well try 'dog training Boston' (for those that don't know Boston is in Lincolnshire NOT Massachusetts).

What a spectacular FAIL

We would expect a few stray websites from Boston USA to maybe appear in the search results. But ALL OF THEM (well, apart from the big business that pays lots of money to Google at position 1)!
Before the update we used to see UK Boston results for about 80% of the results.

So much for local search results on Google!!!

That then led me to try searching for information about 'Boston'. Remember, we're still on Be prepared for some QUALITY/AUTHORITY websites...not.
Only 1 result for anything to do with the real Boston (i.e. the one in UK). 1 result only! Fantastic! Now that's what I call quality results.
One of the 'quality results' from Google on the first page is dated 26th February 2010! And I certainly wouldn't class the website as a quality/authority website (take a look - ). Oh, and I am a fan of the band Boston by the way.

I could very easily find more examples of the rubbish that is now appearing in Googles search results (let's face it - try ANY search term and the rubbish will be there), but I simply don't have the time. We're too busy trying to figure out how to make all out clients sites look like large corporation websites - that seems to be the only sure fire way of getting into the search results on Google these days. :)

By the way - some other search engines you might like to try instead of Google that do give reasonable results:
Yahoo UK - Yahoo! UK
DuckDuckGo - DuckDuckGo Yeah, I know it' a strange name and no local searching, but better generic results and they don't track everything you do which Google does.
Bing - Bing UK

UPDATE - 28/04/2012 12:30pm

It seems that Google is still hell bent on promoting rubbish to the top of its rankings.
The landing page we used in the example above ( has gone to position 2 on page 1 for the search term 'property for sale in france'. WOW Google. Keep up the good work!

Google spam results

UPDATE 2 - 30/04/2012 06:40am

Have YOU been hit by the Penguin update - go HERE and sign a petition

UPDATE 3 - 21/05/2012 16:05pm

Jeez! What has Google unleashed with this stupid Penguin update?
One of our clients has a link directory as part of their site. This link directory has good links in it. None of the usual rubbish. The directory does have some very good internal PR pages as well. The TLD has a PR of 4. So we're not talking a rubbish site.
We are now getting emails daily from completely freaked out website owners asking that we remove their link from the directory - now bear in mind it was those selfsame website owners that asked for the link in the first place.

Well of course we comply with the wishes of the website owner and remove the link. But things MUST be really desperate out there. Here's what happened when we didn't remove a link quickly enough (we manage the directory for the client and we took 2 days to remove the link):

From The Website Owner

Subject: Please remove our site from your directory
Date: 2012-05-18 19:25:57

We have been told by google that we have too many links from irrelevant sites. Seeing as we are on "xxxx xxxxx xxxx x" as, we would like this link removed as soon as possible. We have been in contact with Google and they have asked us to submit a list of directories that do not answer us or do not comply with our request. We are compiling that list and since this is far from the first request we have made, we would greatly appreciate it if you would remove the listing as soon as possible.If you require additional information or action by us, please let us know asap by emailing us at Thank you in advance for your assistance,XXXXXXXXXX Owner,

Wow - he has been told by Google that he has too many links from non-relevant sites!

And what is EVEN MORE astonishing is that Google have 'asked us to submit a list of directories that do not answer us or do not comply'.

WOW - Google is in personal contact with this website.....which has an Alexa ranking of 3,568,789!!!!

I wish Google would give ME personal SEO advice!!!

So boys and girls where does this leave us? We have a couple of problems here:
1. Panicked website owners making threats to people (notice that he said Google had asked them to compile a list of sites that don't comply). So what does he intend to do to private individuals that have his site bookmarked on a non-relevant social bookmark site?
What about pages that have been crawled from his site that are in search engines - they are effectively a link to his site - what is he going to do about them? Where is he going to stop? Will he threaten LEGAL action because a site links to his?
2. Where does this leave the internet in general - people suing each other because of links? No-one finding relevant results because no-one is linking to each other? What other un-intended/unthought through consequences is this fish smelling fart of an update going to cause? Fantastic. Keep up the GREAT work Google.

So, for a better search engine experience, do yourself a favour, use a decent search engine: BING

What Our Clients Say

  • “ Visitor numbers to our site have increased yet again. We're getting record numbers coming to the site and as a consequence lots of enquiries for properties. Thanks again for all your help. ” –

  • “BEFORE: No visitors, no sales.
     NOW: Visitors AND sales.
    Thank you!!”–

  • “Within 2 days of GMWS starting work the website that had previously been completely invisible began to appear on Google searches.” –

  • “I guess you are still doing your stuff for us because we continue to get phone calls from people who have found our site” –

Some Of Our Clients

  • website marketing client

    An 'up and coming' pet supplies website we've just started work for. Drop by and have a look round. You might find something your pet desperately needs!

  • Featured SEO client

    A leading French property portal for English speakers.

  • Featured search engine optimisation client

    The leading dog training school in Lincolnshire.

  • website marketing client

    One of the best (if not the best) bed and breakfast's in Burgundy France.

  • website marketing client

    A new French property portal, rapidly climbing the search engine rankings because of the work we're doing.

Our latest tweetAll tweets

Please wait while our tweets load indicator

  UK SEO company  SEO Links -- Resources -- Pay-Per-Click Advertising -- Case Study 1 -- Case Study 2 -- Examples -- Sitemap

Website marketing & visibility in Lincolnshire, Mablethorpe, Skegness, Lincoln, Grimsby, Cleethorpes, Hull, Boston, Spilsby, Alford, Sleaford
We also undertake SEO work for companies in Scunthorpe, Peterborough and Newark.