EMD, Panda & Penguin – The “Trilogy of Search Terror”

Over the past few weeks Google have released an onslaught of new updates dedicated to reducing spam and increasing the quality of their organic results. As if releasing the EMD and Panda updates back to back wasn’t bad enough, Google decided to release their latest data refresh of Penguin yesterday (5th October 2012). Today I’m going to be covering what these new updates mean for you and discussing the close proximity of all three updates dubbed “The Trilogy of Search Terror” by Search Engine Watch.

The Timeline

  • Google Panda “20” – 27th September 2012
  • The EMD Update – 28th September 2012
  • Google Penguin 3 – 5th October 2012

The EMD Update – 28th September

On the 28th of September Google released a new update aimed at targeting EMD’s in an attempt to increase the quality of their SERPS. Matt Cutts was quoted as saying that it would impact 0.6% of English-US queries and that it was unrelated to Panda/Penguin.

Proximity Of Updates

It wasn’t until the 3rd of October that Google had confirmed with SearchEngineLand that there had also been a Panda update on the 27th of September.

What really stood out, was that Matt Cutts had openly announced the EMD update, but there was no public announcement of the Panda update. Leading to speculation that further updates may be afoot.

The Panda 20 Update – 27th September

The most recent Panda update prior to this one, was on the 18th of September. It should be noted that the update on the 18th was only a data refresh, while this release was a complete algorithm update. We were used to seeing updates approximately once a month, but what I find quite shocking about this latest update, is the close proximity between updates (there were only nine days separating this one from its predecessor).

Veteran SEO’s have become accustomed to the recent and quite frequent Panda releases, and most people have adapted their SEO strategies and taken on some form of high level content marketing to ensure their client base is still serviced effectively.

Google Penguin 3 – 5th October

As if the past week hadn’t been enough of a headache, Google decided to release their latest incarnation of Google Penguin. The last sighting of Google Penguin was back on the 26th of May and there had been a lot of speculation on when we next see this update.

Rather cruelly I feel, Google decided to release this update on Friday, after their barrage of previous updates. At least it keeps us on our toes…

How has it affected the SEPRS?

It’s a bit too early to tell just how significantly this trilogy of updates has affected SERPS, but there are a number of excellent posts out there that can guide you through Panda and the EMD update. Unfortunately, as the Google Penguin update was only released yesterday there aren’t many datasets available to us yet, but I’d keep an eye on SEOMoz, Search Engine Land, SE Roundtable and LinkResearchTools as they all offer varying accounts of their personal experiences with the updates and insights into their datasets.


What I can say is that this site thankfully hasn’t been hit, and if anything, organic visibility has increased. Have you seen an impact on your visibility? I’ve helped a number of sites recover from both Penguin and Panda, so feel free to leave me a comment and I’ll see what I can do!

4 Replies to “EMD, Panda & Penguin – The “Trilogy of Search Terror””

  1. A potentially punishing end to what seems to have been a very punishing year algo-wise. I think there’all be a lot of checks that’ll need to be made tomorrow morning somehow… already been seeing effects of panda and emd, penguin might explain a few changes too.

  2. Three of my client sites have been hit badly, I am still trying to figure out from which update. There are no bad links, fully optimized and fresh content, so I am quite confused about what may be the possible reason of this hit.

    1. Hi Jack,

      Sorry to hear your sites clients have been hit, do you have analytics installed on their sites at all? If you’d like me to take a closer look for you please drop me a line via Skype or e-mail and I’d be happy to help.

  3. Your graphics are more accurate than some of the cute cuddly penguins and pandas I’ve seen. Google is wreaking havoc all across the Internet, punishing people who have great content. A lot of scum is rising to the top and they don’t seem to care.

    When they released the first update several months back, people who had great content complained that scraper sites were ranking higher then them. They were ignored and Google continued to make changes. Right now looking for something on Google delivers crappy results a lot of the time.

    Google has to remember their end users and not just go chasing after a few individuals. In my opinion they are trying to build their own profits. I hear there’s another update due near the end of the month. Have you heard that too?

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