Since Google launched the controversial Panda update in February, anxious webmasters and publishers have been waiting for the day when it would go from just a U.S. change to a global change. That day came this week, as Google announced it had expanded the “search quality” algorithm worldwide for English language users.
Many sites were reported to have lost major traffic and search rankings as a result of the U.S. roll-out. We’ve expected these sites to be further devastated as Panda made its way to more countries.
Side note: just in case there is any confusion (there has been in the past) since Google didn’t use the word “panda” in the latest announcement, Matt Cutts did call it that:
Believe it or not, not everyone’s quick to comment on how their traffic has been impacted. EzineArticles was one of the sites that was hit hard, and quickly began making changes to its content approach following the U.S. update. They talked about this on the company blog. No new blog post yet.
The last time I reached out to CEO Chris Knight for comment on the site’s traffic post-Panda, he didn’t want to offer any – although he did provide another update on the blog in March.
Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis, who had to resort to layoffs because of the Panda update did comment on the situation. “We were impacted starting on February 24th and haven’t seen a significant change up or down since then,” he tells us. “We support Google’s effort to make better search results and continue to build only expert-driven content. This means any videos and text we make has a credentialed expert with seven years or 10,000 hours of experience (a la Malcolm Gladwell).”
He pointed to the following examples:
“Everything we’re doing is now expert driven. Period,” Calacanis says. “Google’s Panda update has ended the age of casual, non-expert-driven content. We’re hopeful that as Google continues to tweak their algorithm our experts and their content will be rewarded.”
Morris Rosenthal of Foner Books (a Panda victim whose story we looked at here and here) tells us, “As far as the algo goes, I think my initial take was 100% on. It’s just brand names and social sites now. I’m even seeing Google Answers ranking for many queries, despite the fact they shut Answers down in 2002! But it was ‘social.'”
Last week, we looked at a report from marketing firm iCrossing, which seemed to indicate benefits for big brands as well.
We’ve reached out to Suite101, and Demand Media for comment on the update, and have nothing so far.
Google’s Amit Singhal told webmasters, “Based on our testing, we’ve found the algorithm is very accurate at detecting site quality. If you believe your site is high-quality and has been impacted by this change, we encourage you to evaluate the different aspects of your site extensively. Google’s quality guidelines provide helpful information about how to improve your site. As sites change, our algorithmic rankings will update to reflect that. In addition, you’re welcome to post in our Webmaster Help Forums. While we aren’t making any manual exceptions, we will consider this feedback as we continue to refine our algorithms.”
Following the initial launch of the Panda update, we looked at some things that are known and some things that are possible, with regards to what publishers and webmasters should take into account. Given Google’s specific reference to their quality guidelines in the latest announcement, this seems like the best place to start. Here’s Google’s list of “specific guidelines”: