Google revamps Panda search formula: Winners and losers revealed

23/05/2014

This week Google has rolled out its latest Panda 4.0 update designed to drive down low-quality content from its search rankings- with eBay seemingly losing out heavily from the new algorithm, according to new research.

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The US-based data, from Searchmetrics, listed an initial finding of winners and loser charts, based on rankings they continually monitor.

According to the data, eBay lost a huge amount of traffic from Google, much of it from the ebay.com/bhp/ area of its site.

Another huge loser was Ask.com, yes, the search engine, that lost a large amount of traffic in their Questions section at ask.com/question/.

Panda 4.0 rolled into effect on Wednesday, announced via Twitter from Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team.

The search landscape changes daily with Google updating their algorithm over 500 times every year. However, Panda 4.0 just happens to be one of the major ones with an impact that can have serious implications for businesses visibility and revenue.

Search blog site Searchengineland.com forecasts that the latest update will impact 7.5% of (english) search queries. Other languages may well be affected in differing proportions.

One of the key initial findings of the Searchmetrics analysis is that aggregator sites which have little original content have lost search visibility.

These are aggregators which mainly ranked with information from external sources – for example in the area of Coupons, News (especially the celebrity/ gossip sector), Software – and price comparison websites. Also, some forums and weather portals are on the list.

The data indicates that eBay and Ask.com might be among the losers.

Google SERPs: Panda 4.0 Losers and Winners

The lists are ordered by absolute loss / gain, which is shown in the respective column as rounded percentage. Basis of the analysis are domains that at least had a value of 10000 SEO Visibility before Panda 4.0 and that show now a change of at least +/-20 %.

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Analysis: less content = less visibility?

The Search Metrics blog looked into reasons for the rises and falls in Google’s rankings, in a bid to uncover how the Pandsa update worked. In the blog, Marcus Tober, founder of Searchmetrics. said: “As expected, the update mainly relates to the content area. In the loser list you will find a strong number of aggregators who mainly ranked with information from external sources – for example in the area of Coupons, News (here especially the celebrity/ gossip sector), Software – or of course price comparism websites. Also, some forums and weather portals are on the list.

“On the other hand, we also find some of the aggregators among the winners. Particularly strong are some price and product comparison sites, health pages and some local aggregators. The conclusion is therefore somehow unclear. It is possible that the Panda update is still not fully rolled out, so we will keep you updated.

In conclusion, Tober wrote: “Some sites that should be potentially on the Panda loser list have actually shown a positive development. This could be the “learning from mistakes” (also from others), as some of these candidates have (now) written their own content. The losers on the other hand, tend to show syndicated content or even duplicate content. But this doesn’t mean that this is the end of the update. Google proofed in the past that they are able to perform improvements or rollbacks really fast.”

Read the Search Metrics blog here

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