We have been sitting back and waiting to see what the fallout has been from the Google “Panda” update. At first almost everyone talked about content farms and scrapers being the ones that were going to get hit, but now it seems there have been a lot of other innocent bystanders that have been caught in the fallout. WebProNews has an excellent list of articles that show the damage has been widespread. There is even a thread on the Google Webmaster forum with an ever growing list of complainants, and it seems the update has flowed on to the stock market too.
You break the rules you suffer the consequences?
Normally we would say, well, good riddence to eHow etc. Looking at a traffic analysis by Forbes, Articlebase traffic fell took a -83% hit, Suite101 took a -79% hit and so on. However it seems that the impact is not as clear cut as that. Even Jim Boykin, a long time SEO analyst, has been forced to create a long winded explanation of the changes Google went through. Basically he says that if the website looks trustworthy, then it should be fine.
However, again, a little more digging finds that it is not just these points that affect a site ranking, it seems that just ONE BAD PAGE can affect the whole of your website’s ranking. Not only that, it seems that Google has increased the value of some user behaviour signals into the algorithm.
So what has this meant for search results?
In our opinion, overall, these changes have seriously reduced the quality of Google’s search results.
What appears to have happened is that one or two page sites in tightly focussed niches actually perform better than hundred page sites in the same niche, but with broader appealing content. As an example, if you do a search for “Google Panda Update Matt Cutts” you get the following results;
The NUMBER FOUR, FIVE AND SIX RESULTS for this search are empty pages, or irrelevant pages. One result is not even in English. Further down you can see results that are not about the update at all. If you do a search for “Link Building Sydney”
The top two results are actually unrecognised content farms, but because they have so few links to them, and little other content, they still seem to rank high. The next two results on that page are from Sydney University and have nothing to do with link building.
I am sure the list goes on in a lot of different industries. What do you think? Has Google missed the mark?