SMX Advanced Seattle - Panda Notes and Panda 2.2 prediction
This was my first SMX advanced (either as a speaker or an atendee) and I really enjoyed the level of the presentations and the interactions with other attendees and speakers. Definitely an advanced crowd. It was also great to be on a panel moderated by Danny, with Alan Bleiweiss and Micah Fisher-Kirshner.
Most important thing I noted regarding Panda was Matt's announcement that the next rev of Panda is ready to roll and has been approved and that Panda updates will actually continue throughout the year. What I heard was that the goal of the updates would be to remove more low-quality content (as with other Pandas, the winners will be the ones that don't get demoted and thus leap-frog over the losers).
My Panda 2.2 prediction: Panda 2.2 will be fairly minor in that it will hit mostly low traffic sites (of course it won't be minor for them). With Panda being driven by user behavior, Google does not have enough data on the low traffic sites to reach conclusions on the quality. Which explains the plethora of complaints of scraper sites in the results. My guess is that Google wants to respond to that criticism, just like Panda 2 responded to the criticism that Ehow had gotten away their rampant and excessive farming.
The other thing on my mind is the threat to sites that have not been hit. The threat is very real and at the same time you have Panderized sites scrambling to clean up things, you have many non-Pandarized sites launching new content initiatives which bring the risk of getting hit.
Panda looks very much like there are very discreet levels of hits, with the minimum being about 20% and I have heard of sites losing as much as 75% of their traffic. This means there are thresholds and certainly that there may be sites hanging out right below (or right above) a threshold. If you are hanging below, one bad content initiative or perhaps a performance degradation increasing your GBounce rate (bounce back to Google) could get you hit. Likewise, focus on a just a couple of the right things and you might get rapid recovery.
One other thing I learned at SMX was I need a better Twitter handle. Right now it is "markemunroe" and every time I got tweeted, it went to "markmunroe". I hope Mark Munroe thanks me. My new SEO goal is go get more visibility then this Mark Munroe. Oops, I just gave him a link. Better no-follow it!