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Latest Google Algo Update – A Disaster?

April 26th, 2012

So Google have rolled out their latest algo change and suddenly the forums and social networks are buzzing with outrage, and for once I can see why. Google’s intentions may be right and proper but for once their application has been an absolute shocker.

EDIT: The new update is called the ‘Penguin’ update. Panda-monium would have been more appropriate.


There are examples all over the place. (A lot of this will depend on your location) but some of the more common ones are a search for ‘make money online’ is bringing up an empty page at number 1 spot on Google.com and a brand new blog with no content at number 2 spot in the UK.

A search for ‘paypal france’ in the UK brings half a page of Viagra results from position 5 down.

There are tales over the web of legitimate white hat websites (whatever they may be…) getting dumped completely from Google’s search index and replaced by spammy, adsense filled junk sites. I’ve seen movement with my own sites, one site which I had pretty much forgotten about has popped back up into position 1 and made a couple of affiliate sales. And I have to be honest, it’s not a very good site – a built it a few years ago when testing some auto blogging software, built a load of forum links to it and then left it, it was just a test site, now it’s number 1 for its main keyword. Ridiculous.

I think one of the issues with Google is that they don’t do enough manual reviewing, they rely too heavily on their famed algorithm, and this time they have tweaked it far too hard. This has destroyed some businesses, Build My Rank went out of business overnight after the majority of their site was deindexed.

So, what do you think? Do you have examples. good or bad, of rankings changing dramatically? Are Google heading in the right direction, or is this just playing into the hands of Bing et al? Should a search engine be able to wield this sort of power – encouraging businesses to grow for several years and them wiping them out overnight? Would love to hear your constructive thoughts.






5 responses to “Latest Google Algo Update – A Disaster?”

  1. My traffic is down 80% since the change. It has been a disaster. So frustrating to work so hard to have it squashed.

  2. peter says:

    cadlibrary.com is such a site which lost 90% traffic.

    Did rank for years as a authority site. Average visit duration more then 3 minutes…

    The site ost all the longtale traffic because google see pages using the keyword in title and url and just a file for download with preview now as SPAM…

    does not rank anymore in top 100 for keywords like autocad drawings or CAD blocks…

    The daily traffic went down from 1500 a day to <100.

    It is a pitty that google cant make a difference between usefull, related content and spam.

    • Markcb says:

      Thanks Peter. It certainly seems that the algo has been adjusted far too much, maybe Google will admit a mistake and readjust again soon.
      Another common one being mentioned on the networks atthe moment is the number 1 result for ‘something

      Now that’s quality content for you!

  3. Steve says:

    My decade old site has been hit in some way by every Google algo update, but this one is the destroyer extraordinaire. We lost 10,000 long tail key phrases since it started rolling out in March. (March or the Penguin?) Our sales have been virtually wiped out. Not a spammy site, just good, useful and unique content. Google wants everyone to love them, but when they destroy your business overnight after you’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars over the years on their Adwords program to help them get where they are today, and they dump you? Well love is going to be the last thing they get from webmasters and users alike. This one is going to have huge economic repercussions for the entire webmaster world. We can hang on one more month, then we will lose our home. Say goodbye to the last bastion of free enterprise.

  4. Oh man, the algo update has caused massive headache at the company I work for. Sites have just dropped, seemingly being punished for things that were done years ago.

    I honestly don’t think Bing can compete though. I used it yesterday and it was TERRIBLE. Google provides the results I am looking for, Bing doesn’t. For example, I was searching how to remove the site title from all pages in Joomla. In Bing, the first result was jooma.org and similar for the rest with no real sign of my answer. In Google, the first result was a potential answer.

    Google is still the best search engine hands down. It sucks but we just need to:

    a) adapt
    b) prepare well in advance for algo updates

    For example, with Panda the US launch provided so much leeway for the UK many could have prevent a lot of the disaster that ensued. For example, one .com site received a lot of traffic from the US and was hit by Panda and this was visible 2 – 3 months before it was released in the UK. For UK-only sites, we could have doubled down and did what we could before the second wave (which trashed a lot of rankings and, consequently, businesses).

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