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I saw a recent post where several sites were asking about their search rankings. The short explanation is that it turns out that our classifier for parked domains was reading from a couple files which mistakenly were empty. As a result, we classified some sites as parked when they weren't.

I apologize for this; it looks like the issue is fixed now, and we'll look into how to prevent this from happening again.
Christopher Haug's profile photoTrevor Eisenman's profile photopaul walsh's profile photoMathew M's profile photo
Google started out as a very good search tool. Hopefully it never loses that ability.
Eric Gil
+1 for admitting your mistake.
-2 for still not fixing contrast issues with Gmail themes or the contrast issues for icons on Google+
Another -1 for comments still not dark enough....
and -1 for not having a -1 button.....
Thanks for keeping us informed, fantastic communication. Also good to hear It's been fixed.
+Matt Cutts ohhh my god why google update ??? not good. please help how to great someone blog in SE (google) :) thanks matts love webspam :p
Moving my main pages to new folders and changing their names today. Lots of 301 redirects in a last effort to get Google to index the right pages with the right keywords. I'm sure that Google does this to us for sport :-)
Thanks for the quick comments and turn around! :)
Thanks for the info, +Matt Cutts . Can you tell us if there's a way to check if we were affected? I've felt sandboxed for the last couple weeks; was wondering if it was my integration of my twitter feed. Or do we just wait to see? Thanks!
+1 for being up front about the mistake. I can't help think you sometimes take the flack when it isn't necessarily your fault. Saying that, Google needs to get this right, it's not a new problem, and innocent people can lose their jobs when this goes wrong.
-1 for not fixing all my first world problems. And I swear my cheap viagra site isn't a parked domain.
Thanks for the update! But one of our key words "recipes" disappeared completely this time, and haven't seen it come back yet...
You know what's more cool? That you guys actually talk about this stuff sometimes, and provide updates like this one. Thanks!
I wonder what he mad about!.......?
Why would you soil an american icon such as Mario with a soulless conglomerate like Google?
"Is there any way to tell on a basic level why sites get de-ranked?"

+Chris Pick , if we've taken manual action in the webspam team, you should be able to check for a message in . If the site was hacked, it might just take a while to recover.
+Matt Byrne , this was a very recent issue, so if you're seeing something from a week or more ago, that wouldn't be it.
Well, nice to see a lot of +1's on my comment but now it is getting notification Mute :)
Thanks Matt for the update! Its comforting to hear that Google is fair and is willing to investigate and mitigate these actions. As an internet marketer, our livelihoods live or die by Google's actions is some cases. I can't stand parked domains littered with ads, I'm glad to hear that they are finally being addressed and not being indexed so well moving forward.
+Matt Cutts would those be PPC parked domains or generic parked (holding pages)? For some TLDs (based on TLD web survey work that I've done), the level of PPC/holding pages can be over 30% so it is a big problem.
+Matt Cutts We have noticed that Drupal sites don't show up in Google results despite good content, whereas Word Press sites are on top. Can you explain why is so? I appreciate that.
+Matt Cutts thans for leting us know!! does this update have any connection witht the massage u sent to millions of sites owner in webmaster?

I lost my sites' ranking since last 4days so i consider my self in this recent updates ship?
I'd like to read more technical information about this issue, so that we can avoid getting hit again. We lost revenue/sleep/hair due to this issue.
Maybe it would be better if Google will stop playing "big brother that knows everything best" at all. Penalisation is in fact only admitting that search algorithm doesn't work. Thanks God here in Czech Republic is Google not the only player in search engine field!
>I'm sure that Google does this to us for sport :-)

I don't think Matt Cutts is sitting at Google, plotting ways to torture webmasters while laughing manicially..... actually hold that thought ;)
Sounds good, had a website with only one page who's not indexed since 2 days (whereas it was 8th on a premium keyword), hope it will change ;)
Your post give me some hope :D
>I don't think Matt Cutts is sitting at Google, plotting ways to torture webmasters while laughing manicially.....

You're right; Matt seems much more like the "giggling mischievously" type. ;)
Matt .. I think now dictatorships are running beyond the google algorithm .. some web pages are coming dramatically in TOP 10 results which have no feature that relentlessly coincides Organic SEO.
My site dropped from ranking no1 to no70 yesterday morning, before you posted that message.

It still hasn't come back but doesn't that just mean it will come back when Google crawls it next? I really hope so.

The sites that now are on the first page for the keyword I ranked no1 for are mostly garbage sites with little to no content that provide no value at all for the visitor.
Thanks Matt Cutts I was waiting for this news only...
How do you intend to fight the likes of Honestly, I am a little bit terified, surely there are lots of wrongdoers out there who are very much ok with using this sorts of shady techniques. I personally know a person who has already done a research into it: he says it works. How is Google going to differ between person being a spammer or spammed? I can hardly think of any logical input to this kind of algorithm, but you are the experts here. I work on my website over 10 years now, what if someone decides to take me down?
I see everyday tons and tons of spammy sites rank #1 with my original and first time written contents.
My company ( ) works hard BUT scrapers earns every day copying our work.
We are always last in serps and scrapers ranks #1 WITH OUR articles
( in 2012 scrapers still rank sistematically higher than original contents... sounds pretty strange, dont you think Matt? ).
My company is going to fail due to this BUG of Google.
I cant accept i work and scrapers are #1 with our work, really i CANT.
+Giovanni Bianco The source code of your site is a mess... And I don't think this is the place to get advice on how to fix it.
+Giovanni Bianco If you disagree with me that your source code is a mess, you have some research to do.
The bug isn't fixed yet in Canada I've noticed in Google Groupes still lot of canadian site owners are complaining about this issue.
+Philip N. its not a source code problem. If you think is, simply you make a mistake. Im sorry for your absolute certainty.
Hi Matt - Thank you so much for this update. Do you know if the SERPs are still being updated? My friends and I run, which offers reliable spider identification to the public and attempts to quell fears people have on spiders. We recently dropped from the 20s to the 40s to the 50s to now ~170 on the term "spiders". A few months ago we did change domains (proper 301s) from to, but things went smoothly. I'm not really concerned longterm as our site is becoming reputable fast, but it is frustrating to see this. In light of general paranoia around developing .us domains, this recent dramatic change isn't helping. Would appreciate any thoughts you have.
+Ciaran De Buitlear Nothing too out of place in that site from what I can see (limited look). It might be that the people in Google used a greedy regexp to classify parked sites and some of the links could have appeared as similar to those used by some PPC sites.
What about this awful "over optimization" update you guys did that has people that have done 0 SEO ranking on the first page and having wikipedia and facebook pages rank at the top of G now for commercial terms?
Now a days most of the companies offering back links via link exchange or selling link why Google is not proposing penalty on them and why it is not taking the page-rank back
Vaasu K
+Matt Cutts Are you guys Killing Micro Niche Sites too? What is an authority website in Google's view? A website with loads of good content or a website which is updated on regular basis with fresh content.
Acknowledging is the first (good) step to aim healing. Thanks a lot!
Gosh that almost brought tears to my eyes. 
My site getting 16k Traffic ,,Now since last week i lost 6k traffic without any mistake..
Nothing fixed..traffic is dropping gradually..No warning from Google Webmasters Tool still having the same issue..Disappointed.
one of my main sites got hit badly from this update and now its on a reconsideration request. Life!
IF bug fixed,, then Why we have not get back our traffic yet ?
Hey Matt, Good that you/Google have admitted to this error however can you give us webmasters some idea on ...

- when this happened? Help us webmasters to understand when it happened so that we can prevent rash fixes to something that wasn't broken!

- when Google expect this to be fixed? this would save a few webmaster jobs if we can tell our bosses/clients 'IT WASN'T OUR FAULT'

Matt, One thing that needs attention and I have no idea how you can fix or handle... is I have sites that are in very competitive industries and from reading alot of message boards sites are being dinged by competitors spamming the crap out of the site that they want moved down from the top. I myself had this very thing happen to one of my sites. I got notification of un-natural links on the 31st and just ignored it as we had no idea what it was talking about... now about a week ago my site that was a strong #1 2word EMD .com in tons of terms that where related is gone (still indexed, just not showing for terms we are). Kinda does not seem right for a well liked informative site to be thrown away like that so easy if a competitor gets a hair and wants to take you down from the top spot. Btw we spent 500k on that domain and now for I don't know how long it is not making even close to what it was without Google traffic... Hell we are getting more traffic now from Bing and Yahoo and before we could care less about them. Legit business spend a lot of money on EMD .com domains and tend to not be spam have a heart on high quality .com domains maybe? ;)
Yes.nothing improved so far..May be another couple of days and everything will be fine..Hoping for the best and eagerly following this post to find out any sort of solution..
+Matt Cutts My site is also facing this problem since Friday. Site traffic is down 40 to 50 percent. Many articles are ranking down from 3 to 4 positions to 1 page. Although drop in rankings is not drastic but still we've lost 40 to 50 percent traffic. Kindly tell us when the problem will be fixed?
+Matt Cutts mate, If its bug than it should be fixed asap, webmaster and industry has the way to switch over different practices. But people really don't want anymore this +Google+ which gives me results for which I am not looking for.
has anyone that was effected by the google balls up last last had there sites return back to the original serp positions? Mine is still on page 26 :(
+Matt Cutts My website is also facing this problem since Friday. Matt, please can you look it
What kind of sites, this error has touched and what not? What are the penalties for sites to cancel, and what will remain issued at this time - in April 2012?
+Matt Cutts Has this been fixed ? I've lost all the traffic from Google, and it is still not back :(
+Matt Cutts, Thank you for accepting the bug and making this announcement. That gave me a big relief. I have been working very hard last several years, most of my time writing great articles and rest of the time fighting with copy cats and content scrapping from our sites.

Just a few days ago, all of my sites lost traffic by about 70%. This has never happened in the past. Each time there was a Panda update and bloggers complained about losing traffic, I smiled and said to myself "that is what you get if you don't make quality posts". But now it is some one else's turn to smile.

You mentioned the bug is fixed but I don't think it is really. All my sites which lost traffic are still not recovered. is a typical example. This site was originally called and we rebranded it as and we setup 301 redirect as well. But Google failed to transfer the domain authority to the new domain and our new site was pushed down in search results, way behind all the copy cats. I randomly checked hundreds of articles and 99% of them were shown below the sites which actually copied our article. In my last 12 years of webmaster job, I never saw Google making this kind of big mistake in identifying the original content. I was always advising others that Google is really smart enough to detect which is original and which is copied. In fat, I even posted a blog few weeks ago about 'How do Google identify original and re produced article. I filed DMCA and got hundreds of copied articles removed from Google inded in last few days. Hope that will make a difference.

However, the drop in traffic remains the same and we have lost about 70% traffic. Hope it will recover soon and Google would recognize the quality content.

Just see how our organic traffic was affected due to the recent Google algorithm change:

Hope to see our graph back to the original heights soon.
When do the sites return to normal ranking? For one of my main keywords my site dropped from top of page 2 to page 15. All the longer tail stuff dropped about four or five places. Traffic is now zero.
+Matt Cutts whats the point of admiting Google made a mistake and then ignoring everyones question? if you took the time to read the 30+ questions about you would work out you would only need to give 2 or 3 answers to answer EVERYONE!!!! 3 questions ....

1) Is the problem still ongoing?
2) When do Google hope it will be fixed?
3) If our sites have been effected since Friday how can we tell if its anything to do with this problem or another penalty?

I would like to point out we all have jobs to do and as a result of this there are alot of people losing work/contracts/money because of Googles error!!!!

+1 for being +Matt Cutts , and always being helpful, even if you don't have time to answer 100+ comments individually.
i only want to ask this question : Is this problem still ongoing ? Cause yesterday all keywords of my site still on top3 , and today its going down really hard >_< , please answer asap ...
Same here.... I too have
lost my rankings in search engine.
Same here.... I too have
lost my rankings in search engine.
What should i do to get a search engine ranking?
I am from Vietnam, so unhappy for this, still fail not fix. :((
I will be waiting for your results. We hope this will be overcome soon . Thank.
+Matt Cutts Our web sites haven't recovered yet. When should we expect them to regain their ranking? We are one of the leading office equipment reseller in US, our several Web sites have been de-ranked despite our careful and frequent content updates and compliance with Google requirements. It is disappointing, please explain if we'll have to re-work to get the ranking back or it will be done automatically?
My blog with unique, useful contents that i have developed with love ,and definitely not a spam blog, for a year dropped from page one to i don't know where.
Matt, I'm in SEO and web development since 1998 and few years ago I started my own company that focus on these two topics. I was laughing at my biggest competitor in Philadelphia who uses sneaky techniques on their customers websites. I thought that they would get penalized but instead.. my main company website did. I don't even know why, it went from the first page rankings to page 14. Honestly I don't see any reason why would I get penalized. The only thing that was my mistake; I added the same rich snippet reviews to the main page and all sub pages by mistake.. but would it be really that serious?
Not very happy with the recent changes at Google, looks like they are starting to lose their way? I have always white hat SEO'd with solid rankings. While we understand they were trying to do good, it turned out to be the opposite! Poor search results now when browsing, can't white hat SEO my sites anymore and lost traffic. Tried some black hat in desperation and was back up there in 24hrs? go figure... Might be the company turning point Bing have been looking for? Get your act together Google!!! You need to better define the good sites from the bad.
My site got hit with this "parked domain" issue on April 16/17, lost all rankings, but didn't get included with the fix. +Matt Cutts if there's any way possible to pass my url over to the reconsideration department (I filed request yesterday), my site is
Good to see at least one mistake has been admitted and corrected. Only another 99 to go.
How much time it will take to fix this issue....please reply
Hopefully google will get a wake up call soon from government, they must be causing all sorts of damage to companies employing people worldwide. Just when global economies are struggling google does this and leaves us with unrelevant search results and now rewards those webmasters who post spammy links into competitors sites.
What happened?? Everything in google is going wrong since april 24th... Fix it please :( everyone is concerned
Google is totally crazy!!!!! Thanks for ruin me
since april 24th.everything is wrong with resulds, I hope that google fixed the results search soon
ranks are still dropping everyday like noend haha D;! i hope it gets fixed soon because this huge dropoff in traffic is actually costing me money :(
I agree with George my site too have affected badly...Need help from google immediately.
He said that the update affected to the 1.45% of the sites. LOL, 99% I think!! All SERPS has changed
My organic traffic at has also fallen off cliff the last few days :-(
+Matt Cutts is domain value (age/keyword in domain) is degraded now..i see many nonsense sites with no good content coming up in rankings...i have worked on building whole plan on my own site..people copied it and ranking well..i own a unique domain and dropped badly..not at all spamming but still down...even some of my clients who never ever did link exchange/spam posting are also down...some spammers and link buyers we see are still ranking top ...i think value of the domain should always be there of my client who ranked top for 8-9 years has got a drop in rankings...he never did a single link exchange or bought links..but is sad..
What to do... I was recently promoted as marketing director for an adult site to clean up a back linking mess caused by the kid that was doing seo on a very high profile domain. I have been able to remove 1000's of spammy looking links. However just ran into something funny... I contacted a site that had what appeared to be spammy blogs that linked to us and asked if they would please remove the links and gave them all the url's... the reply I got "please send $100US to paypal account ****** for spam link removal". This is turning out to be more difficult than I expected... Ugggg, will the penalty fall off if some of the links are not removed as I am not going to start paying site owners to remove our links...
Hi Matt, I have a question on domain names... it´s legal that someone insert the word google in the domain name? I know that facebook is clamming these matter...
Me too, Matt.
Some keywords from my site were in page 1 or 2, before April 18th. And then it now all disappears :( my traffic dropped hard significantly. What should we do?
Please explain.

Are we all getting underdog by google new update?
google created a back linking war which is now hurting 10000s of site who life off google wrong strategis.
I have one DYING question I am looking forward to Matt answering. What is to prevent someone from intentionally making my sites look like they are over-optimized with "un-natural" backlink profiles? After all, I can't control who links to my site from where. Is there an SEO pro out there I can hire to do this to my competitors for me? I believe the term is "Negative SEO"
Almost my keywords had 1st position before Google change. Now, all of them get out of 100 results. That 's terrible, I had lost about 2000 traffics per day @_@
It happened to me again on 16.04. and it did not recover. Did that mix up with further updates?
+Matt Cutts Well, I appreciate your presence and taking the time that you do to inform us of what's going on. I can't imagine it's an easy task. I do have a question. It's my understanding that Facebook data isn't indexed any longer by Google due to the lack of an agreement being in place. Is that the case? I am specifically curious about Facebook Pages. I don't expect personal profiles to be indexed if they are private, obviously. So are Facebook Pages available to Google for indexing? Please say yes...
Hello Matt,

I believe the issue has resurfaced. We were a site effected for some site where we had many number 1 rankings then they all vanished for some time. After the classifier issue was fixed all our rankings came back. The other noticable things is that the preview of the site does not show when effected.

This has happened again and is identical with the effect that all top one rankings have gone. Also the page preview in the Google index is gone. The page preview shows fine in Webmaster tools however. The same as with the classifier issue.

The site was established in 2005 and we have over 2 million users. We achieved this by providing a great service for our users and also a very original and rich experience for users on our home page.

It is very frustrating when a technical hitch can effect us in such a way. At present in our niche when I look through the first page of Google search results for keywords sych as "Video Chat" , "Webcam Chat" , "Free Video Chat" , "Free Webcam Chat" apart from Facebook , Skype and Google I see a lot of new sites with thin content and only a few words on the home page. How can this be creating a rich user experience that you speak of ?

Our site actually has rich content and we have tried to make it a pleasure for users to visit our pages.

I am really dismayed at the search results. I can see sites that are churning out new sites using the same PR release methods and Google is rewarding them with top rankings when the sites are nothing more than thin content but having PR release campaigns. If it's so easy for me to identify them surely Google can with all it's resources ?

Thanks for reading.
my site has lost the google postion from #1 to #30 , I have not received any email from google statig of any penalization,so how do I find it out what has cause this drop? 
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