Penguin Recap 23/05/13 – Porn Sites Lose But Google Still Fails

The 2nd generation of Google Penguin filter was launched in the early hours of yesterday morning. The filter penalises sites with low quality inbound links and goes further to end the dominance of spammy SEO techniques. Details are now emerging of those sites worst hit and this report by searchengineland.com sums it up.

The industry that really took the brunt of this update was (no surprises here) – Porn. Traffic losses exceeded 40% in some cases, and it wasn’t just porn that was affected, websites across every industry were hit to some extent with 2.4% of all search queries being affected. The sites above in particular are all incredibly spammy, so on the face of it, this Penguin update did a great job right?

If there’s one thing you should know about Google algorithm updates, it’s that somewhere along the line, Google gets it wrong. Here’s a quick overview of where there are clearly major failings from their side.

Last week in our Inbound Debate on the upcoming Penguin release, we mentioned two markets as a bit of a ‘litmus test’ to see how well Google really did at fighting spam. The two markets we suggested looking at were Payday Loans and Binary Options; both notoriously black hat and spammy. Below are Google’s search results for the two keyword terms, it’s not pretty.

PayDay Loans

9 out of 10 results on the front page for this search term are spam-fuelled. The only difference here is that an article on the Guardian website has managed to climb from nowhere to 10th. Take a look at the first two results, currently my-dadloans.co.uk and paydayloanzio.co.uk (likely to be gone by the time you’ve read this); paydayloanzio.co.uk was registered as a domain at the end of March 2013 while my-dadloans.co.uk was registered… TWO days ago.

Their link profiles are atrocious and the sites are still able to dodge Google’s algorithm through 301 redirects and hacking.

Black hat prevails.

Binary Options

With this market there is more of the same. What is interesting though is that we see yet another article for an authoritative media outlet making the front page (in this case, Forbes). These first page results are entirely different to what they were before the Penguin update; however while the old spammy results were chucked out, they have been replaced by 9 similarly-spammy results and a Forbes article.

While I’m sure Google has made some headway into fighting spam; unfortunately they still have an impossibly long way to go. It was a romantic thought to think that this update would be revolutionary for Google and for SEO. Keep up those white hat tactics guys, your day will come!