Google Panda Update: E-Carnage and Changing SEO Strategies
Kaboom! The vicious Panda update from Google swept across the Internet Feb 24, 2011 as terrified SEOs, marketing managers, business owners and search agencies looked at their traffic and revenue numbers with horror and a sickening sinking feeling in their collective stomachs. They opened their Google Analytics or WebTrends or Omniture and saw charts that looked like this trend from a popular article site:
The E-carnage like this was strewn across the Internet. Many bruised and battered business owners posted bitterly on the forums over the weekend about the Monday morning pink slips they would now issue. After the big boom, 100's of prominent sites and countless others were stricken by the sudden drop in traffic. Google announced that their analysis showed greater satisfaction in in the search results. However, the bulletin boards were filled with tales of collateral damage.
A poll showed 40% of website owners took a hit. Check Sistrix for the list of most impacted sites.
Yes, Google had warned about some sort of “Farmer” action aimed at low-quality content (targeting the so-called content farms to which eHow has always been identified as the quintessential farmer). But this went far beyond the Farmers. Most Q&A sites, almost all the shopping comparison engines, travel, automotive, local, ecommerce, UGC dominated sites, large dynamic sites as well as small sites with a collection of completely unique content. Surprisingly, eHow escaped the wrath of Google (for reasons I will speculate on later).
So why a new blog? Why AfterPanda?
This is by far the most significant change in the algorithm I have seen in the 8 years I have been optimizing for search! The impact is far reaching and while it doesn’t fundamentally changes the core of a solid SEO strategy (which was always about good content), the massive long-tail strategies that have been successful for so long can kill your site. All content initiatives must proceed with extreme caution!!!
It is also much different than anything Google has done. It is a site-wide penalty and basically an admission that they can't judge the quality of an individual piece of content.
So, I have much to write about. I have been studying the impact of this update, the affected sites and the ramifications for a month now.
Things I expect to write about in the following weeks:
- Why it is site-wide penalty and how that should affect your tactics
- Why Panda is either partly or completely a behavioral-based update
- Panda has force the convergence of usability and SEO (finally!)
- Analysis of various sites that have been hit and why
- Why certain industries were hit harder than others
- How bad titles can cause a Panda hit
- What is the difference between quality text and a quality search result page