Penguin update not only damaged lot of Businesses it also helped people to make money through deceptive means. After penguin update website owners / webmaster scrambled to clean up their back link profile. They sent out 100s of request for link removals to their site. In this process they not only targeted bad links but also good natural links to their site. Reason they don’t know which one is good and which one is hurting their site. Many malicious elements took advantage of this situation. They starting charging money to remove links from their site. Link removal charges range from as low as 2 dollar per link to as high as 50 dollar per link.

Penguin update money making Business
So Google did help someone? No not in the good way but in a way that will damage the reputation of their algorithm. Funny thing here is some of the requests webmasters make they don’t even know those links exist till they get the unnatural links email from Google. Some of the link removal requests were targeted towards links the webmaster did not add at all. Even I have personally sent out emails to links that don’t even know it ever exists. We never created those links nor know whether they existed. We found out about those links only through webmaster tools links data. So Google allowed one more scam money making industry where a site owner maliciously places someone links and wait for it to show up in webmaster tools data. As soon as it shows up and the site owner gets a unnatural links penalty. They request the scammer to remove the link and site owner is asked to pay for the link to be removed.

One example email where we got offer of $5 to remove link from our pages.

Hope you are doing well,
I emailed you on February 20 regarding removing links from your website that
are pointing to my website
If possible, I would like you to update our links from the following pages:
And either remove our link from the page or add a re”nofollow” attribute to the links.

I understand that this task may take some of your time up and we are willing to compensate for that. Please let me know how much it will cost us for you to remove our link from your website. Right now we are paying out $5 per link removal

I would also like to clarify that you are not the only person that we are reaching out too for link rel”nofollow” and link removal process. We want to make sure that our website’s authority will not be decreased due to the new Google updates.

Please get in touch as soon as possible to confirm that you received this email and updated the link information above. The alternative solution for us would be to send a Disavow Link report to Google which is something that may decrease your authority with Google.
Thanks for your time and I look forward to receiving your reply.
Mark ( Name changed )

One more email asking us $10 to remove link.

Dear webmaster/owner of,

Most likely you have sent an email before, however, no response was sent. Unfortunately, I am have to contact you until the issue is resolved.

I am contacting you on behalf of Example company,, regarding your link(s) listed on your website: Please know that we are charging a small fee of $10 to remove any links you want removed from our site.

Please let me know if you want the links removed from our site and if you need any additional assistance from me.

Link location:

Thank you for your time… I really appreciate your immediate attention in this matter. I will be happy to provide more details about Google Penalty and best practices upon your request.”


Latest update on Topseos Ban :

In recent update to their algorithm, Google has penalized and it’s sister sites for “pure spam” . We know for a long time these guys are scammers trying to sell out rankings to large companies. They charge $500 a month listing fee for each category plus additional 1000s of dollars for top rankings. I remember when their owner wanted to start site he approached me to build their site for free. In turn he offered me to keep our site on top rankings in his site. I denied it. They are one of the biggest scam I have seen. Thanking Google for throwing them out of their index. They claim to rank top SEO companies rank wise the truth they don’t do any research and just sell listing to large companies. I got approached both in US and in India where our company operates.

Check out this screen shot from Google’s fighting spam page. spam removed.

I recommend everyone to never believe these sites. A good SEO company is a company that knows it’s industry well. There are no guaranteed rankings and believing outsourced SEO companies will get your site doomed forever.


In latest webmaster hangout John answered more questions related to Penguin update.


Latest webmaster hangout had lot more questions on penguin than I previously thought.

Google is feeling the pressure to bring out another penguin update as soon as possible. I am both nervous and excited because we still handle clients and I am concerned they might lose some positions. But this time we are clean with our links. People keep your sites and your search engine optimized client sites clean hopefully you don’t have to wait one more year if you lose your rankings. This time Google cannot allow competitors to damage our rankings.

First question:

Hello John, Wouldn’t it be better if instead of penalizing algorithms you invested resources in developing and launching rewarding algorithms that would dramatically increase rankings for good websites? ( something like an invested Panda / Penguin )
Essentially we do this, with things like Panda where we try to recognize higher quality content and show it appropriately in search and even with all our other algorithms if at some point we are recognizing lower quality content , we show it lower in search then we show the higher quality content a bit higher so it is always that we have two sides of an algorithm never the case that we penalize all these websites we demote them so nothing else shows up for these websites. But something else will be shown because we need to show something to the users so it is always that there are both sides for these algorithms and that is also something we include in our analysis on how the algorithms are doing and how we need to treat them and it’s not that we are removing sites from search but also we are replacing good sites we test to make sure they are the right kind of sites .
Second question:

Can you please go into a little more detail on why this Penguin refresh/cycle is almost 12 months old, compared to previous data refreshes of averaging 6 months?

I don’t have any specific details to share with you guys and I know the team is working on this so it’s something where we are trying to find a way to improve that overall and that takes more time, so sometimes things don’t move as quickly as you like but that is not that we are completely ignoring the feedback or ignoring these algorithms.


Third questions

Do you upload a disavow to help with a Penguin Update and if you do will you see any difference before the next refresh?

So uploading the disavow file will make those links essentially nofollow links and we don’t give value to them and if we do that we will take into consideration of links in that file. So it could have an affect on the penguin refresh if those links weren’t specifically tied to any penguin related problems it should have because of manual actions , if there is link based manual actions there in place for your site and it could have an affect on the penguin refresh and that if these links are successfully processed by then, so it is something that I wouldn’t relate for penguin but rather would clean up this old link issue that you know about or you don’t want to have associated with your site anymore.

Fourth Question:

Hi John,

Have you spoke to the Penguin team in the last month and have they updated you on any progress? You hinted that a refresh should happen by the end of 2014, is this still looking possible?

We do regularly speak to the search quality teams on these algorithms and we kind of catch up to see what we can do to help them and to see where they are so I am assuming that this is for sure that it will fall within the end of this year, but as always I cannot make any promises on these kind of things because things can change and maybe this is something we might come out next week if everything is ready by then or maybe it will take a little bit longer but I do know that these teams are working on these updates so hopefully we will have something for you guys soon.

Last question related to Penguin update.

Did Penguin 2.1 only look at website’s inbound link profile? Penguin 1 looked at onsite issues as well as links now Panda covers onsite was Penguin 2 and 2.1 changed to only look at link signals?

We called Penguin algorithm a web spam algorithm and it will take into account various webspam aspects so I don’t think it is fair to say that it only looks at links so that is something that we try to take in general. Panda on the other side is a quality algorithm where we try to focus more on the quality of the content and the quality of the website overall so those are essentially 2 different aspects sometimes they overlap a little bit sometimes there are web spam issues because the quality is so low, sometimes they are completely independent and so if it web spam issues and it is a really high quality website and obviously it won’t go along well and that’s hard for us to handly correctly because on one hand we want to discourage webspam aspects on the other hand we want to show great results in searches.


To all those who claim negative SEO never exist. Please answer this question. Imagine today your site is submitted to 10,000 blog comments but you are never affected. Ok I am happy you are not affected but will you always be that way. NO! . Do you know something Google uses 1000s of quality testers around the world to test their search result quality. These people have sophisticated tools to analyze the quality of results and the sites rankings. Imagine someone who is not aware of your site and testing the results where your site is ranking, he checks your backlinks and finds 1000s of blog comment spam. What will he think? What will be the quality score he will give your site? So the situation is like you are never affected by negative SEO but will the quality tester think the same way? NO! he will assume you acquired all those links to gain rankings in Google and eventually it will reach Google’s search quality team. And you end of busted. SO to all those who claim negative SEO never exist or negative SEO has zero impact think again. Google has given the killer button to our competitors by unleashing the dreaded penguin update now we are suffering.
Penguin update and Manual reviews

I have heard following claims from people who think negative link spamming never exist.

1. Negative SEO is waste of time.
2. Pointing 1000s of low quality links have zero impact.
3. Google filters those links and knows how to identify negative links posted by competitor.

This is just a sample but there are many more claims.

May be short term these claims can be true but remember long term your site reputation is completely damaged when someone submits your site to 1000s of spam blogs. When your links pop up in tools like Ahrefs or your competitors will notice and report to Google. If a search quality tester checks your site he will flag it for negative links. There are numerous indirect damage to your site.

And to all those who think negative link spam is waste of time. I will do it now and again if it damages the reputation of my competitor. If my Google ranking is No.8 and I want to damage sites above me I will spend few bucks and send 1000s of low quality blog spam to those sites. Even if it doesn’t damage them immediately I know long term it is a disaster for them.

We all want the latest upcoming Penguin update to address this. It should remove the killer button from our competitor. We don’t want anyone controlling our on-line reputation.


We are still waiting for the big update Penguin. But all we get are small updates like Google killing Private Blog Networks and now they brought in my favorite Panda update. I like Panda update for one main reason it targets quality contents. All the sites we own and operate have quality contents. I never resort to junk stuff and Panda update has always helped. I want all affiliate sites to be killed they are just a disgrace to Internet. There are no reasons why anyone want to go to an affiliate site to buy products. We like to go to the product sites directly rather than a third part site.
Panda 4.1 roles out-Not Penguin

Panda update and Penguin update has huge difference. Panda targets on page factors like information and its quality. Penguin targets quality of links a site has. How the link quality is how the backlinks are etc whether the pattern is natural or unnatural.

Panda update should have something to do with the recent PBN penalty update by Google. Most of the private blog networks have thin or very low quality contents. Panda works the same it targets low quality content sites. Thanks again Google for bringing this up. We want more quality sites to rank. But again I stress don’t allow our competitors to have the kill button like the way you did with Penguin update.

This is the post from Google+ from a Googler

“Earlier this week, we started a slow rollout of an improved Panda algorithm, and we expect to have everything done sometime next week.

Based on user (and webmaster!) feedback, we’ve been able to discover a few more signals to help Panda identify low-quality content more precisely. This results in a greater diversity of high-quality small- and medium-sized sites ranking higher, which is nice.

Depending on the locale, around 3-5% of queries are affected.”


Some private blog network spammers have blogged saying their sites were punished in the latest PBN penalty update. These are updates we love to see from Google. We know there are many SEO companies who hold a lot of PBNs. I am happy now this is targeted. We hate to see PBNs power other big sites. Usually Private blog networks are used to boost ranking of SEO client sites or other sites operated by themselves.


This is the type of update we want to see from Google than the killer penguin update which gave the killer button to our competitors. After a long time I am appreciating Google. Come on Google bring it on , kill these spammer websites. Let the good sites rank.

More discussion here about this update.

This is the message sent out from Google through webamster tools to these spammers.

This Content will little or no added value

This site appears to contain a significant percentage of low quality or shallow pages which do not provide users with much added value ( such as thin affiliate pages, cookie-cutter sites, doorway pages, automatically generated content, or copied content )”

Even black hat forums are discussing about this world. I only want to tell these spammers one thing. Go To Hell. Well done Google.



As expected yesterday’s webmaster hangout had question about Penguin update. A user asked

 Did Google use the disavow data on the last penguin update on 03/10/13 Penguin 2.1? And if Google runs Penguin again will the disavow data be used? 

John Mueller’s answer yes Google used disavow link files for penguin updates. Also he agreed that penguin hasn’t been updated for a long time and it is due anytime soon. Probably may be.

One more interesting question:

We were unable to recover our site since 2013 OCT and suspect penguin ALGO. We already removed all unnatural links. But still not revoke the penalty.

And the answer from Mueller.
Penguin update has not run quite sometime, you can recover if it could be picked up in near future. When the algorithm runs again sites will recover. But you need to see if the problem is not just about links. It could be contents too. So probably you need to check your contents to make sure other factors are not affecting your site.

One thing is very clear from this webmaster hangout video. Google agrees sites will recover only if Penguin update refresh happens. That is what we all were thinking and that is what is proved from Google’s own mouth.

Time to watch out is 30.20


Post penguin update new websites have sprung up like thorny shrubs. They are everywhere now. Most of the results are dominated with junk new sites. 5 page sites outrank 100 page quality sites. Courtesy penguin update. Reason all these junk new sites are ranking because they don’t have unnatural links. Or infact they don’t even have links when I last checked some of those sites. Sites with excellent quality information that users want to look are buried deep because they have few unnatural links. This is the scene in search engines now. If you don’t believe me check yourself. Check some medium competitive areas. Take top 30 sites and check their whois data. You will be ROFL. Many sites you will notice were registered post 2012. Some great sites registered before 10 years are nowhere to be found.

Penguin update likes new websites

This is the situation of Google now. All they want you is to build new sites and abandon old sites affected by penguin update. Already with billions of junk pages in Internet Google wants to add few million more junk sites. If that is what they want we will do that, thank you Google no worries.

I recommend everyone who lost ranking in penguin to abandon old sites and start new ones. This is from a SEO guy who has been looking and living in this Business for 10 years.

But wait we are about to see a new penguin update soon. So may be Google realizes their mistake and release some top quality sites and penalize real junk sites.

In my opinion all sites buying text links from good sites for search engine rankings should banned. Money power should never be allowed to influence results.


We always wonder why Penguin update is way more damaging than Panda. Answer to that is straight forward. Panda targeted the quality of the sites content. Penguin targeted links. Most of the affected sites had good information even if the information was not best. But almost all of them had unnatural links. So the question does Google has the right to punish a site just because it has unnatural links?


Best way to punish such kind of links is to find the right links and devalue them. Also it is easy to identify terrible unnatural links and semi unnatural links. Comment Spam, buying links, too much article and directory links, counter links, word-press theme links etc should be considered highly unnatural. Those sites can be punished. But those who have unnatural links like limited blog links, friendly site links etc should not be punished.  Now Google unleashed a new beast that can destroy good genuine sites. I have personally ordered my team to send 100s of low quality unnatural links to some good ranking sites as an experiment. Waiting to see what happens. Till now not much impact but we really want to see what happens when penguin update / refresh comes out. We expect those sites to go down if Google continues to go after uncontrolled artificial links. There is no defense for Google calling negative SEO doesn’t exist.  We have purposely targeted less web savvy sites. We are confident the sites we targeted don’t even know what webmaster tools is all about. That way they won’t know what their links are and how to disavow any potential bad links they see. Google has given us the weapon and we want to see if it really works.

Panda on the other hand is the best algorithm Google can ever make. It targeted low quality pages that did not add any value to the Internet. We always wanted the best page to rank and Panda is the best algorithm update to fix that problem. We really want more updates like Panda that adds value to the Internet. Panda changed the way we see Internet it improved quality over quantity. It showed this world can do better with contents. Top class semantic identification of content quality. Amit Singhal’s post on Panda was one of the most enlightening post I ever read. It revolutionized the way Internet works. We want more updates like that not the sick and damaging Penguin which gives control to others to damage our sites.

Google cannot allow deserving sites to be damaged because it has unnatural links. We wanted to knock out 2 sites above one of our client sites. I will make sure we send few 1000 negative links to them. We don’t care if it works on not. I know it will affect them to some extent because that is what Penguin update is all about. Bad links to a site and the site is doomed though it might have some of the best pages in Internet.

I appreciated the excellent algorithm update that bing did recently. Their aim was to weed out bad sites not punish sites so that it increases Google revenue. It is no more in Google’s interest to use their old motto “don’t be evil” . In fact I can’t find that slogan anywhere these days. Now as larry page said in an interview “commercialization is Innovation” . They want to commercialize everything without giving any regard to users. Users like to see information not ads all the time. Google should remember 85% of internet users still come online for information not to buy products. Coming to some people’s arguments that Google has the right to do what they want because it is their search engine. That is absolute nonsense. Google has every right to do what it wants but it cannot allow others to control our ranking. That is a major offense by Google.

We are counting days and still there is no official word when the exact date Penguin update will be. But I am confident it will be anytime soon probably on the 1st year anniversary.


We are awaiting the next webmaster hangout that will happen on 26th of September 2014. Expect some may be possibly statement about the upcoming Penguin update from John Mueller.


If you want to join or listen to that hangout let me know. I don’t want to wait till the end of the video to hear a may be possibly statement from Mueller.

Guys get ready Doomsday for webmasters is near by. Sky will fall soon get your sites safely.