EzineArticles was one of the sites impacted the hardest by Google's Panda update in the U.S. back in February. As we said back then, once Google expanded the update into other countries, the sites that saw their traffic drop off would be in for an even bigger shock.
Data out now from both SearchMetrics and Sistrix seems to confirm that EzineArticles was indeed hit yet again. SearchMetrics, looking at UK search data has EzineArticles with a drop in search visibility of as much as 93.69%. Sistrix, looking at Europe, has the site as its number 2 loser with a change of -78%.
Shortly after the initial U.S. Panda update rolled out, EzineArticles CEO Chris Knight discussed it on the company blog, and started laying down some guidelines for moving forward - aimed at increasing quality of content.
Changes included: reducing the number of article submissions accepted by over 10% – articles that "are not unique enough", no longer accepting article submissions through a WordPress Plugin, a reduction in the number of ads per page, raising the minimum article word count to 400, "raising the bar" on keyword density limits, removing articles considered "thin and spammy", putting greater focus on rejection of advertorial articles, and submitted articles required to be exclusive to the submitter.
In early March, Knight told us, "Beyond what we shared in the blog/twitter, we're going to return to not sharing specifics on our traffic or ranking."
Knight did post an update on the blog in late March, saying they lost between ten and thirty-five percent of traffic. "This update went after 'thin content'," he said. "This is low-quality derivative content. In fact, we agree with Google on this update, and we’ve made sweeping changes to our quality review system – our editorial guidelines our internal processes."
EzineArticles has been quiet about the new update so far. No new blog posts or tweets referencing it. They are still pushing the quality message, however. Here are the latest tweets from the EzineArticles Team:
Search for the crossroads between your interests & what your readers want. Your writing will never get "stuck" when these things intersect.
It's worth noting, that in addition to just rolling out the same update from the U.S. to other countries, Google has made some adjustments in the U.S. as well. These new adjustments affect about 2% of queries, according to Google. They include the use of Google's recently launched domain-blocking feature (in "high-confidence" situations).
So, in other words, if enough people have blocked EzineArticles from their search results, it is possible that Google is taking that into account. We've speculated that this has happened to Demand Media's eHow property, which survived the initial Panda update, but is on the new lists from SearchMetrics and Sistrix.
Clear winners in this round of the update (based on data from SearchMetrics) are several Google properties and their competitors, as well as video sites, news sites and blogs, and even a few porn sites.