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Why Panda is the New Coke

Are Google's Results Higher Quality Now?

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Why Panda is the New Coke
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Editor’s Note: The author of this post, Morris Rosenthal, runs Foner Books – a site which was heavily impacted by Google’s Panda update. WebProNews took a closer look at his story here. It’s an interesting look at how a legitimate author with seemingly high quality content, but perhaps not the most modern site design, took a big hit from the update. We don’t know that this is the primary reason, but Rosenthal offers his thoughts on this in the piece.

Do you think Google’s results are better post-Panda? Let us know in the comments.

I was still in college back in 1985 when the Coca-Cola Company changed their secret formula and launched the New Coke. The company had become concerned over competition from archrival Pepsi-Cola, especially with regard to locking in a new generation of brand loyal soda drinkers. So Coca-Cola created a sweeter formulation they hoped would appeal to young drinkers and embarked on extensive taste testing. Armed with incontrovertible evidence that the majority of soda drinkers preferred the new formulation over both Pepsi and the original Coke, the company discontinued their flagship drink and rolled out the New Coke. We all know the rest of the story.

After a decade of dominating the Internet search space with their eponymous Google search engine, the search quality engineers at Google began to worry about public discontent over search results. The complaint that grew louder and louder in the Internet community was the presence of Made For Adsense (MFA) sites winning top rankings in search. Adsense is the Google program that pays publishers to host advertising brokered by Google on their website. The bar for becoming an Adsense publisher is extremely low, so sites producing hundreds of thousands and millions of pages of meaningless garbage sprung up with the sole purpose of making quick money for their owners. Many MFA sites feature copyright infringements, scrapings of other web pages and low quality syndicated content.

So Google engineers concluded they needed a new way to provide consumers with relevant search results and began working on a search algorithm upgrade known as Panda. The goal of the Panda update was to introduce a quality filter for the search rankings based on, of all things, blind taste tests. While Google doesn’t share details about their internal engineering processes, they admit to recruiting hundreds of testers to grade a sample of web pages based on such criteria as, “Would you be comfortable giving this site your credit card?” and “Would you be comfortable giving medicine prescribed by this site to your kids?” I term this a blind taste test because Google gives no indication that their testers were asked to actually search for solutions to real problems and then judge the quality of the answers provided.

Next comes the tricky part. Google engineers tried to quantify how the scores they were already calculating for websites agreed with the quality judgments of their taste testers. By figuring out which parts of the score correlated with the winners of the website beauty pageant, they hoped discover a new recipe for relevant results. According to Google, the new weightings actually made sense when they looked at the results, and on February 23 of 2011 they rolled out the Panda update, creating a New Google.

Back in the Eighties when Coca-Cola was running their taste tests, it turned out that people chose the sweetest drink. Thanks to the efforts of search analysts who make a living monitoring Google results, we know what types of websites those Google testers chose. The sites that benefitted from the Panda update were a laundry list of brand names including: Amazon, Walmart, Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers, government websites and Sears.

And the how-to site so many searchers love to hate, eHow.com, was a surprising winner in an update that was intended to wipe out content farms. By employing hundreds of testers Google learned this important truth. Asked to grade random web pages, average people will trust those where they recognize the name or approve of the aesthetics. Slapping a familiar looking eCommerce template around a couple hundred words of scraped content is the Internet equivalent of adding sugar.

All of which would be small cocoa beans in the Internet world if not for the collateral damage caused by the Google update. Thousands of Mom-n-Pop websites, a sampling of which have been singled out for praise by universities, mainstream media, NGO’s and government agencies, have been given the heave-ho by Google with U.S. search traffic falling by 50% or more. The author of this article, whose homely Foner Books website was featured in a 2008 article about laptop repair in the New York Times, has seen U.S. Google traffic website fall by half. Many of the sites now appearing above the author’s site in Google search results are copyright infringements on the author’s work monetized with Google Adsense, and in many cases, those infringements have been syndicated to hundreds or thousands of other MFA sites.

Adding injury to insult, a Google search Laptop Repair Workbook, this author’s most popular eBook, now brings up a piracy directory in the #1 slot. Visitors to the piracy directory are randomly redirected to a fake anti-virus site that immediate tries to infect their computer.

Google spokespeople, in their public pronouncements, insist that the Panda update is a great success, and that consumers are happy with the new results. I haven’t seen any surveys, but I’ve been reading the sole web forum thread started by a Google employee for publishers who feel that their website has been unfairly treated by the update, and there are 750 votes against. There are also no replies from Google employees through any channel of communications.

Out in the broader world of discussion lists, publishers who were affected by the update often accuse those who weren’t impacted of drinking Google’s Kool-Aid. After fifteen years of writing and publishing online and off, it tastes more to me like the New Coke.

 

 

Have a post-Panda story? Share it in the comments.

Why Panda is the New Coke
About Morris Rosenthal
Morris Rosenthal has been publishing online since 1995 and has authored a dozen nonfiction books, including McGraw-Hill's bestselling "Build Your Own PC" series. He has been active in the small business community for the last decade, founding Internet groups with over 1,000 members for professionals in the computer and publishing businesses, and blogs about self publishing at http://www.fonerbooks.com/selfpublishing WebProNews Writer
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  • Str82u

    If I understand your comparison, blindy, people prefer the “sweeter” junk food sites until they were told about it and it was too late?

    Are the sites that rank higher with your content older domains? I find now that Google’s duplicate content filter is not as accurate in the results I’m most familiar with; poor quality sites that didn’t have the content first are still winning due to age. One case where the meta tags and much of the page content is only differentiated by a single word can only be there because of it’s age; a month ago the site was buried.

    • http://www.fonerbooks.com Morris Rosenthal

      Str82u,

      No. One of my two sites that is heavily scraped and being beaten by copyright infringers has been online since 1996, the other since 2000.

      Morris

  • http://www.viewzu.com Doc

    We will have to see how this plays out over the next few months.

  • Bob

    I seriously doubt Google will remain top search engine for long. The silly statements and actions coming from their engineers trying to fight spam are just laughable, out of this world. Those guys have no common sense. All their anti-spam and algo. development teams should be fired as well as M.C. They have ran out of ideas and the bad guys are winning. Google is trying now to grab a river with their hand creating devastation all over with that stupid Panda algo. What kind of a moron thinks a piece of code can differentiate original content from duplications all over? Of course you are going to kill 90% of the web! The web is made of duplications!

    The ole Google of the early 2000s is gone. They are not a search engine anymore. A search engine indexes and delivers content matching search queries. What we have right now is a cesspool of self serving results. Either that or some local result you never asked for.

    Page taking charge won’t make G any better. It is way too late. The fat, greedy boys will always have a say and the ole CEO screwed up that company so bad nobody trusts it anymore.

    Advice to Google:

    1. Stop trying to fight a minority of spammers! Search results were just fine; excepting your self-serving results! The complaints you are acting upon come from spammers themselves and site owners not getting good rankings, NOT THE REGULAR USERS WHICH ACCOUNT FOR 95% OF YOUR USER BASE GOD DAMN IT! These users: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4MwTvtyrUQ

    2. Get rid of Google Local, Maps, etc. at the top of the search results.

    3. Stop delivering “local results” unless specifically asked!

    4. Quit implementing these big Tsunami updates. Do it slowly.

    Google better get their act together soon. Facebook is getting into search. They are doing their own No-Fly Zone over Google. They say they are not targeting the chief, but you don’t believe that, do you…

    • Ted Mashburn

      Google is fine at returning the big ‘good’ sites (amazon, ebay) and the big ‘bad’ sites (scraper, virus).

      They seem to be really struggling with the 80% or so of everything else.

      Unfortunately, I can search amazon or ebay at the site myself, and I don’t usually want to go to a scraper or virus site!

    • http://www.salsurra.com Sal Surra

      Great comment! I couldn’t have said it better. Google Places, Local, and Maps are such a crime, yet pushed all over the place like its the sole destination for all local search.

      They need to provide tools to help webmasters that want to do things right but are not aware of the issues they are facing. They blindly roll out updates with no real idea of what the consequences will be and how they will effect real business. They only look at it from the spam point of view, but not whether they made the search better. Sure, they may have reduce some spam, but their results are actually no better and in some cases a lot worse.

      They need to go back to being a search engine, instead of trying to become a portal, which they are. If that is the case, and all we get is Google’s scope of properties, then why would anyone use them at all? It’s like the old AOL when you signed on but only got what AOl wanted to give you, and where did that get them?

  • Search Quality

    Google new algo is a bug failure.

    My work is in research which brings me to Google quite often.

    After the Algo update release I’ve seen so much duplicate content in the first page of Google’s search results. I normally don’t write on forums, but it is annoying to see my favorite Google search engine showing really poor results.

    Take a look at these examples-

    Example #1: “Difference Between Objective and Subjective”

    1st result is from differencebetween dot net
    2nd result is from this URL – http://www.englishbiz.co.uk/popups/objectivity.htm, It just shows a bright blue background and is actually a popup window
    6th result is from this URL – http://nishurs.blogspot.com/2011/01/difference-between-objective-and.html, It doesn’t have much content.
    8th result is from differencebetween dot com

    Example #2: “Difference Between iPad 2 and Laptop”

    1st result is from differencebetween dot com
    2nd result is from differencebetween dot com
    3rd result is from differencebetween dot com
    4th result is from differencebetween dot com
    8th result is from differencebetween dot net

    Is it okay for the same company to buy and use domain names with multiple extensions seemingly to monolpolize the first page of Google search results?

    I found dozens of examples like this using popular keyword domain names and writing articles solely to get the top of the Google results when other websites are pushed back even though they offer valid content related to the query. I find myself skimming over the results and going to the 2nd or 3rd page to find results with the quality content I used to find on the first page.

    If you look at the websites promoted at the top of the results, keywords are stuffed into each corner of the pages and ads placed all over the pages. Don’t you think websites like those shown in my examples are the real content farms?

  • http://europeforvisitors.com Durant Imboden

    Our editorial travel-planning site, Europeforvisitors.com, also got hit by the Panda Update after nearly a decade of Google love, with a 35% drop in U.S. Google referrals. Our top pre-Panda pages are still our top pages; they’re just getting about a third less U.S. less traffic because their positions have been usurped by weaker pages from large corporate sites. For example, we used to rank #2 in the U.S. for “Venice travel,” but we’re now #7–despite the fact that we have what is arguably the Web’s most extensive and up-to-date travel-planning site for Venice, Italy.

    I’m guessing that Google’s new algorithm is assigning too much weight to total site traffic (which would tend to reward large general-interest sites like Fodors.com and TripAdvisor) and/or too much weight to what might be termed “corporate authority” (which would help to explain why sites like Amazon, Sears, and WalMart reportedly are profiting from Panda).

    One quibble with your post: The Google Webmaster Central forum thread that you cited wasn’t meant to be a discussion; it was meant to be a place where owners of affected high-quality sites could post their URLs for Google’s engineers to review. Unfortunately, that thread has become filled with rants that have made the thread less useful as a repository for reports of “false positives.” I don’t blame Google’s employees for not participating in that thread; any replies would just add to the clutter.

    • http://www.fonerbooks.com Morris Rosenthal

      Durant,

      Google had the full ability to control the thread, it would have taken just a few minutes of somebody’s effort to delete silly posts and ban the trolls. They don’t do that on purpose, it doesn’t fit in with their Olympian view of the world. All Google support is centered around getting unpaid volunteers to make unwanted suggestions to webmasters. Many of them are just trying to irritate people.

      Don’t drink the Kool Aid:-)

      Morris

      • http://www.butteredham.com/blog/ Aaron B.

        They even could have had an employee pop in once in a while to say, “Hey, thanks for all the feedback.” No one expects them to answer detailed questions about specific sites there, but by going completely silent they give the impression that they aren’t listening at all. (A cynical person might even suspect they created the thread to gather complaints into one easily ignored place.) So the commenters might as well dump their frustrating results in detail and see what patterns they can figure out amongst themselves.

        • http://www.butteredham.com/blog/ Aaron B.

          And by the way, the worst trolling on that thread came not from the complainers, but from some of those unpaid volunteers, who insisted that everyone hit by Panda and protesting innocence must truly be doing something nefarious, even if it’s not clear from looking at their site what that is, and despite the fact that no one can define what the newly-punished nefarious practices are.

  • Sara

    I will say this…the first top results are almost the same as pre-panda. The rest of the results are just so crappy. I really dont’ understand how google can call this crappy update successful. i am also seeing a bunch of useless forums near the top.

  • Jacob R.

    I’ve seen a lot of great websites disappear on this algorithm run. I believe this change has benefited the well recognized brands, smaller sites and scraper sites. Sites that were in between have vanished. What I don’t understand is why Google is punishing original content. Morris Rosenthal brings up one of the worst side effects of this Panda roll out. Google allows content theft to proliferate and is making money through these smaller scraper sites that are on top. Simply because these sites “look better” than the original content creators?! Google is aiding and abetting thieves and continues to make money through these sites. Shouldn’t Google be liable? I think they’re headed for a class action lawsuit if this continues. I’ve seen example after example of content theft going on with original sites getting pummeled. These mom and pops spent years developing their sites and content, slaving away, coming up with their own unique material and keeping with the rules. Their designs may not be perfect, but to yank their livelihood right from under them without warning is just plain ruthless.

  • http://www.accompli.com.au Jon

    I completely agree – Google became successful because they created a search engine that made access to valuable content easy… They are now using that power to wipe out entire businesses… I’m getting sick of google with their one rule for some and another rule for others mentality… Big name sites like amazon etc.. seem to be immune to these changes because they are flagged as such (although google wont admit it)…
    Googles motto of “do no evil” has slowly changed over time to “do whatever we want” – It will eventually hurt them.. none can continue to treat the public with such contempt and get away with it… Perfect time for Bing to start getting something right and re-claiming some of the market…

  • PPC

    I hope Google shoots themselves in the foot, so to speak.

    They need an ego adjustment.

  • http://UseBiz.com Jeff Schneider

    @ Bob

    ” The ole Google of the early 2000s is gone. They are not a search engine anymore. A search engine indexes and delivers content matching search queries. What we have right now is a cesspool of self serving results. Either that or some local result you never asked for.”

    We could not have said it better. We know Googles weaknesses and our competitive Start up has formulated a superior Marketing Strategy to theirs. We will be launching when the timing is right, and we are Oh so close. Stay tuned, “Goliath Meets David”

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

    • http://www.salsurra.com Sal Surra

      You’ve got me excited! Keep us posted if there will be a new search engine that could produce good results.

    • Beamer

      Like Sal, I am excited as well. It is really time for a true search engine that gives users relevant results for their search queries. Not an engine that thinks it knows what the user wants. An engine that is non-arrogant, non-manipulative and non-dictatorial.

      If I may make a suggestion…don’t hire any Google employees. Hmmm, a wave of nausea just hit me.

      I recently saw two well known koolaide-drinking Google minions state “You have to play by Google’s rules to be successful.” (Okay, now I am heaving.) This outrageous statement couldn’t be further from the truth.

      May your new search engine be everything you want it to be. May the users of the internet flock to your engine and overthrow an arrogantly manipulative internet tyrant dictator monster.

  • http://kettlebellhandles.info Ray

    Sorry to hear about your unjustified (and probably unjustifiable) drop in traffic. Google increased my traffic overall, but decreased it to my ‘money’ pages, so it’s a wash…

  • Anonymous

    Morris,

    I feel your pain. As a content publisher of well-written, expert quality content for years, I too got the slap across the face from Mighty G.

    I can believe nobody from Google has responded in that thread (I read it when it was a couple of pages old). Their forum is filled with supposed experts that will help you when you need it, but all I’ve seen (for years) is a bunch of pompous jerks who try to make themselves look better than you by putting you down.

    Back on the topic, have you requested any type of reconsideration?

    Good luck and keep us up to date!
    Anonymous

    • http://www.fonerbooks.com Morris Rosenthal

      Anonymous,

      I put in for reconsideration through WebMaster Tools almost immediately. No response, no results.

      Morris

  • Anonymous

    The following is the exact copy of a message I sent to Mr. Segal of the NY Times earlier this afternoon and it contains both a link to a blog post by a highly regarded web hosting company owner and findings of my own research while trying to learn why other lesser or no content sites outrank our 12 year old all white hat content site.

    Dear Mr. Segal, it was your article in February that brought JC Penney’s gaming of google to the attention of the world, for which I congratulate you.

    However, Google, in it’s ongoing effort to maintain stock holder credibility introduced a “new”, one year in the making algorithm on February 24th which was “supposed” to address the millions of junk pages full of fluff that are created to capitalize on google’s very own adsense program (ads they pay publishers to display for which the publisher gets paid when someone clicks on them).

    In that “new” and improved algorithm they affected thousands of long term, highly regarded websites and gave little or no recourse to the web site owners who have put years and in my case over a decade into their sites.

    Two things I want to bring to your attention in this email. The first is a recent post to the main blog of a web hosting service that has had thousands of their dedicated web site owners suffer at the hand of google. Ken Evoy is a highly respected and long time contributor to the Internet community and I think his post is worthy of a few minutes of our time – http://blog.sitesell.com/sitesell/2011/03/itas-dont-be-evil.html

    The second thing is what I have found in researching not only the 90% loss of revenue we have experienced since February 24th and our site is about 12 years old.

    My research, although not scientific in nature, but about 20 different URL’s went into it uncovered that Google now seems to be relying more on the directory listings of Dmoz.com and Yahoo.com “Directory” for the top results than their much touted ‘new algorithm”.

    In about 18 of 20 searches for various keyword phrases I discovered that the top results ALL have at least one Dmoz.com directory listing and in about 50% of the cases they also have a Yahoo Directory listing or listings.

    It would seem that while Google was pinging on Bing in the national press about a month or so ago, they could not come up with anything more original for their own TOP results than to depend upon whether a website has a listing in Dmoz.com and/or Yahoo’s Directory.

    I do not have the time or resources to expend on further research but having found a 90% correlation on just 20 mostly unrelated searches tells me that there is definitely more emphasis being placed on an outside source for top search results in Google than they are placing on their own much adorned as the best of the best algorithm.

    • Anonymous

      I wasn’t aware of that correlation. I’ll have to check that out in my niche.

      Hopefully it was jut a coincidence. I’ve been trying to get a couple of sites listed in DMOZ for literally years. Nobody edits the category so I’ve been SOL. If they’re going to make this a ranking factor, then they should staff the submission queues!

      Cheers.

  • http://shipping-container-homes.freestylelife.co Ben

    excellent post. I know many people who are not happy about the new algorithm changes, and many of them are web marketers and affiliate marketers.
    Non of my sites have taken a knock because of the changes, but I’m just keeping my fingers crossed.
    Inevitably, as always with change, some people (and not always the right people) will lose out. It’s what happens when change happens.

    Ben.

  • Sugar Causes Rotten Teeth

    I have a home improvement advice website where I put my 35 years in the trade to good use giving how to advice. The Panda algo change now has bumped me from the top spot and has a E-How article that links mine as a reference written by a journalist with a BA in Journalism in the top spot.

    Unfortunately for the Google Search User the E-How article that lists my site as a reference doesn’t even cover the topic of my article. The poor Google Search User is left with rotting teeth from the whole experience.

    Fortunately I heard that FaceBook will soon be introducing Fluoride Search hopefully before the Google Search Users get down to just a Toof!

  • http://www.niravpatel-seo.co.cc Nirav Patel SEO

    Hiiii,

    Panda Update ? I think we all need to understand that this is a part of Google dance…

    Before couple of day I have seen my ranking goes down but today I found some fruitful result.

    I really enjoyed during the reading of this post and clear about many things – thanks for sharing…

    Cheers !!!

    • http://www.fonerbooks.com Morris Rosenthal

      @Anonymous,

      I haven’t seen correlation with DMOZ/Yahoo. My two sites that got smashed were in both, my newer hobby site that escaped was in neither. Haven’t heard it mentioned elsewhere either.

      I’ve had decent luck getting media attention, comes down to one thing. When you write a reporter, you need to be 100% sure of your facts and submit the proofs. Then they can go from there and build a story around them. Reporters are under a lot of deadline pressure, they don’t have the time to do statistical type research, they focus on talking to people and asking questions – journalism.

      Morris

      • Anonymous

        I posted the correlation based on doing research for my own 12 year old site’s falling from grace and in doing so I did research on the many sites posted to the link in google webmaster forum asking if you have been affected. If the site named their URL and provided some of the search terms they used to rank well for and no longer do, I looked at the sites that are now ranking 1-3 and found about 70% having either no DMOZ registration or if they did the site that outranked them had both DMOZ and a Yahoo Directory listing. I did this with about 30 or so site (not scientific by any means).

        But somehting that really surprised me in looking through DMOZ was how many listings Ehow.com has been able to get registered. If you simply do a search in DMOZ for ehow.com you should find they have 39-41 listings????

        How the hell is that possible? Most people have difficulty getting their main site’s URL registered. Could it be ehow has someone on the inside?? Just speculating but something sure does not seem right about this and since they have so many listings, would google’s new algorithm give them a bump overall due to the number of listings they have there?

        • http://www.fonerbooks.com Morris Rosenthal

          Anonymous,

          I think anybody can sign up as a DMOZ editor, and then they can add what they want. Plenty of eHow contributors may have done this on their own. eHow encourages aggressive SEO techniques.

          BTW, you might enjoy my latest video on the fiasco:

          http://youtube.com/fonerbooks

          Morris

  • http://www.ecoselectwindows.com Windows Seattle

    At this point I would have to say no. But I’m keeping an open mind to it.

  • http://managemydream.com/ software solutions

    Yes, though not to our expectation.

  • BlessedDamozel

    There has been a great change in the SERPs and it has really improved.

    I don’t mind Google putting one or two MFA sites or duplicate results because we find these duplicate results on other SEs too. MFA sites altogether can’t be useless. Haven’t we happened to get to a site (bearing the topic of our interest)unknowingly. Have Google obtained every users view? I simply do not understand why Google reacted on some people’s view who may have really be dissatisfied with Google because their site is not showing up for a particular keyword. There are many people who do not have the complete knowledge to use google. General users are not search specialists.

    I think though not sure ( not sure because I lack evidence to prove what I think)that the fair that search result issue has been raised by the competitors, spammers and all of those who envy Google’s revenue.

    Now, there is no meaning in envying anyone’s revenue. Google is the first search engine. Until Google was launched we never knew what search is and would have never been. Well, its true that we should be done with the old things but Google is not an old stuff, it has been involving since then. Google did not make any remarkable achievement in last few years, expect Chrome and Android, because it devoted its time in useless and non-sensible works like reacting to useless comments and views.

    A majority of Google users have no complains against it.

    What a brand is???
    Anything that is popular. Do you think people want brands to be displayed in search results??? If anybody knows the brand, he or she will simply insert the brand name in search box and I am cent per cent sure that Google shows the brands website at the top.

    And if body inserts a question, it is natural that Google will drive it to a site where either the whole answer is there or a few keywords present in the query are there, it may or may not be what you might be looking for. Don’t people type out wrong questions??? And yes of it, Google shows the site most visited at the top as it simply indicative an user inclination. Because many people have visited the site for a particular keyword Google naturally thinks that users are satisfied with the site and displays its result at the top.

    It is just like if 10 of your friends like a particular spot to shop and I know about it then I would expect you to drop in the shop, even if you may or may not love shopping there.

    I completely find Google to be fair.

  • http://UseBiz.com Jeff Schneider

    We are noticing that Google is very aggressively attacking BLOG BACK LINKS ! This kind of action is only alienating their Business Owner Base. We are determined to support Bloggers and Business Owners best interests with our start up, and we would appreciate your support.

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

    • Beamer

      You definitely have my support. Looking forward to The Great Metal Tiger and the pouncing upon of the Google ogre monster.

  • Kent

    How about something like “Google Wipeout”…something that completely eliminates one from ever being taken to a dormant site… To much wasted space out there with dead domain names…There should at least be a basic requirement of being a legit website to be listed in any www search…I always begin on page 4 or 5 of a google search anyway just to weed out most of the internet salesman trash… Nothing worse than having to wade knee deep in a pile of repetitious google listings just to find out how to boil water…

  • http://www.mrmediagroup.com Misae

    I think back to an earlier search engine parasite model – the price comparison sites. There was a time when Google results were littered with Nextag, Shopzilla, Bizrate and other such site prior to retailers, product review sites, blogs and the like. Whilst these sites added some value it was also questionable whether they were the first thing you’d want to see in results. Google implemented an update which specifically blasted the entire genre of site and now it’s most common to see them using AdWords as an entry point.

    It’s exactly the fact that historically Google have been able to deal with specific genres that makes me think the latest update was a badly executed job with as much fail as win in it.

    I think Ted Mashburn’s earlier comments are bang on:

    Ted Mashburn says:
    March 22, 2011 @ 4:11pm at 4:11 pm

    Google is fine at returning the big ‘good’ sites (amazon, ebay) and the big ‘bad’ sites (scraper, virus).

    They seem to be really struggling with the 80% or so of everything else.

    Unfortunately, I can search amazon or ebay at the site myself, and I don’t usually want to go to a scraper or virus site!”

  • http://www.dublinovernight.com Eamon Moriarty

    The Morris Rosenthal story is the perfect illustration of where Google is going wrong.
    Google really seems to have lost the plot entirely and unless they listen to the growing dissatisfaction they are likely to go into rapid decline.
    Both searchers and website developers are beginning to look elsewhere.
    I agree with the view that they should immediately get rid of local listings and ‘places’ by default. It should be made an option which you can choose.

  • Tony

    Adsense is nothing but SPAM It has caused this entire problem. When I look for the lowest prices on packaging I want a site that doesn’t go from adsense page to adsense page clicking stupid links that make someone a penny. People have put up millions of webpages for no other reason than to trick you into to clicking an ad link to get paid. They have no interest whatsoever if you are out to save money or find meds for your mom or looking for tech support. Why offer a product or service when you can make money just publishing pages. Google is the problem not the answer.

  • http://www.ferreemoney.com/blog/tools/mobile-local-fusion/ Neil Ferree

    Good post Morris! I think the jury’s still out on Panda. I’m not surprised eHow gained in prominence but I am surprised Yahoo Answer did? I subscribe to the formula that Quality Content will trump MFA and all of the auto-pilot junk models readily available to marketers. Clearly, if one does good KW research, deploys good on-page optimization SEO techniques, their site and content and SERPs should fair well in the post-PANDA marketplace.

  • http://www.super-solutions.com Ira Wolfe

    It looks like I might be the exception here. For 10 years I’ve posted my weekly newsletter, monthly articles, and hundreds of products on my website. Many, but admittedly not all, pages were optimized – at least to some degree. For years I was frustrated that my content was often copied by colleagues and skimmers and my content on their site ranked well above mine. Since mid-February, my website traffic has increased 25%. The only thing I can attribute that to is Panda. So for me… Panda worked. But like others mentioned, stay tuned!

  • http://www.makemoneyteam.com Raymond

    My website is around 40 pages of the best free advertising sites and free webmaster tools that I have tested, along with articles that I wrote plus a built in user forum. It is a 6 year old site and Panda cut my traffic by half. There is nothing spammy about my site, it is 100% written by me and to date it has around 7000 to 10,000 inlinks. I have worked very hard on the site but year after year, update after update Google seems to make things as difficult as they can and Panda is no exception. Sure my site has quite a few affiliate links but it also has alot of good information that I wrote personally so I don’t see why it deserves to be kept down.

  • http://www.familyfirst.com Marijo Tinlin

    Since the Panda roll out, we’ve seen a hit of almost 35%. Our site is one of the oldest family-oriented websites on the internet with over 4,400 pages of legitimate content. I write a daily feature that is a real story between 400-900 words. I’m a real writer and I write about real people and we are getting hit hard by this change. The revenue from the site is down by a 1/3rd as well. This Panda change was not good for us.

  • http://www.drjeanette.com/natureworkshops.html Doris Jeanette

    A big NO. I actually went to Yahoo several times this week because I could not find quality stuff on the topic I was searching. Google is on the way down.

  • Chelle

    When I started out in the interent business, a couple of years ago, I registered two domains and purchased a “feed script” of various blogs. I fiddled around with the sites a little and added adsense – all part of a learning phase. I basically forgot about these sites – they’re really junk made for adsense sites and focussed on doing things the “right way”.

    Lo and behold come PANDA, I’ve had more visitors (and adsense clicks) in the last two weeks than I’ve had in over two years. No – it doesn’t feel good at all, because I have spent the last few years building up some good quality content sites which have taken a nose dive in visitors.

    Besides this though, I am starting to use Bing and Yahoo more regularly too now – I am just sick to death of getting e-How results. I notice older articles are also appearing more than ever before, which in some instances isn’t a problem. But when you’re looking for the most up to date graphic design desktops, to be served articles dating back to 2000 is just laughable!

  • http://www.no-bs-marketing.com/ Paul

    “Recruiting hundreds of testers to grade a sample of web pages?” You have got to be kidding me. Google really seems to have lost its way on this one. I can’t imagine a less reliable way to separate the online “wheat from the chaff.”

    What about tweaking the “linking algorithym” a hair or two? From the very get-go, it was the novel way of attributing authority to a web site according to the value and credibility of its in-pointing links that made Google great. Yes, it’s definitely more difficult to determine what links are authentic these days, but it’s not like Google doesn’t have the money, the manpower and resources to make it happen. It IS their business, after all.

    New Coke is right.

    Bang on, Morris.

  • unknown

    You guys are your own worst enemy. You complain and complain over and over about Google search results. When Google ups and does something about it you complain even more.
    There is a war going on between internet marketers and Google and you guys just love to fan the flames. Well guess what.. there are going to be casualties so stop crying about your lost of ranking and traffic when you’ve brought this upon yourselves. Some people just can leave well enough alone can they?

  • http://www.washingtonopenmri.com William Kisse

    As the person responsible for SEO I can absolutely tell you that I’ve tried my best to do all the “right white-hat” things to get good rankings.

    With the latest update this effort to follow Google’s guidelines really paid off.

    About time that those of us who have always followed the rules are finally rewarded.

    Thank you Google!

  • http://www.littletravellers.com alex

    Panda did not work the way they have intended to and im sure we can expect another one in few months time…there always will be winners and losers but what angers me sire like ehow do not have passion about any subject they just simple pay other people to write something about a subject and they have worked out how the google algo works…
    Im no longer a google fan now im using yahoo and it bring better results!

  • http://livinglifeboomerstyle.com BoomerStyle

    Your article has very good points and am in agreement with you. We publish all original content in our online magazine–which Google says it loves, and we add new content almost daily to our site. Our URL was purchased for 10 years and we have been online for three years. Google to our PR from a 3 to a 1–which means, according to them, we don’t have much useful content.
    We see our content plagiarized all over the Internet and just like you said, they post our articles as well as other people’s original content…don’t even bother to give attribution–let alone ask for permission to repost, they use the articles strictly for advertising and they rank higher than us.
    Google reminds me of so much of what is wrong with our society right now–those of us who work their arses off to give truly good quality service are given the finger while those who copy and paste get a free ride.
    Thanks for the article. Appreciate it.

  • vybixa

    I wrote in these hallowed pages not long after the Panda update that the widely documented downside(s) attributed to it would with time (just like the precursor May 10 update) level out and bring the cream to the fore in good time. I said this not because I was an immediate beneficiary of the Panda update, but more in hope. It turns out I was wrong since I have been falling down the rankings as time goes by. I can not put a finger to the reason why the Panda would do this to my NON content farm site(s), but fact remains, I have even slipped out of the top 10 and now languishing on page 2 and falling for my longtails that previouslyranked top 5.

    But then I noticed some change the other day. I did a search on the big G for my longtails, like I ususally do, and voilla! I was top 2, first page. The joy was shortlived when I noticed that I was logged into my google account, and on doing the same search moments later after logging out, I was listed on page 2 again. (I am planning on clearing my entire cache and carrying out these tests again)

    For me, the experience tells me the algorithm is actually trying to do a good job. When logged in, it throws at me more relevant results, however, it also raises the question as to how many people search google while logged into their profiles,and if that, how many searchers actually have google profiles. On the whole, I PRAY that the Panda will deliver my MANA in good time, though I am begining to think it is a pipe dream.

    Finally, I thought I’d shareone last tidbit with you. Just prior to the Panda rolling out, I experienced a surge in traffic for my sites averaging about 30%-40% more. I have tried to pinpoint this and it “seems” this occured (and sustained) for a period of about three weeks. I had put it down to my SEO effort in the preceding period, but it seems google cleared their cached pages when rolling out the update, thus my “surge”. I can report, too, that my search traffic is now LESS than the pre-surge levels.

  • http://www.fonerbooks.com Morris Rosenthal

    I wish I could embed a video in the comments, but here’s a link to a YouTube video showing Google’s wonderful new results as I described in the article. My aplogies about the production values, the “surprise bonus” only pops up around one in ten times, so I shot twenty videos just to get this one.

    Video of Google results with extra bonus

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      It’s now in the article.

  • http://www.dvd-creator-converter.com/ DVDSoft

    I can not put a finger to the reason why the Panda would do this to my NON content farm site(s), but fact remains, I have even slipped out of the top 10 and now languishing on page 2 and falling for my longtails that previouslyranked top 5.

  • http://www.inwardbliss.com Natural Remedies

    It seems to me that my traffic and my search ranking has improved since the Panda update. This happened too with the previous major update that Google did. My page rank has also been bumped up from a PR0 to a PR1 and I have very few backlinks to my site. In fact I have less backlinks than I had last year so it can only be a change in their algorithm. Hopefully the it is because the content on my site is of high quality.

    I do have some adsense on the site but that is/was never the primary purpose of the site and I noticed the other day as I was going through my site fine tuning…Google was serving up some ads that were totally and I mean totally unrelated to the content.

    I just looked at Foner Books. I love the simplicity of the site. How could Google possibly penalize such a great, user friendly and informative site?

    Just this week, I also had the experience of doing a google search and the first site in the list was a banned site. I can’t remember what I was searching for but it was a technical issue…to do with solving a Windows problem.

    I agree with the comment made in the article. Tastes like New Coke to me!

    Google should read the book Blink to learn how to do a better job of taste testing.

    Gigi Gerow

  • http://www.fonerbooks.com Morris Rosenthal

    I spent another hour trying to get a cleaner video of Google results, here it is:

    Google promoting copyright infringements – YouTube Video

    I also want to thank people for both the postive feedback by e-mail and on my blog, and for the occasional rambling, insulting notes from people who hide behind phony names:-)

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      Video updated in article.

  • http://www.trading-straetgies.info Phil Newton

    I had (past tense) been effected quite dramatically. My site 2 weeks before the change was upgraded from PR3 to PR4 with several other pages ranging from PR3 to PR4. After the changes my site was bumped quite literally to PR0.

    I gave google the benefit of the doubt and left it around 2 weeks to see if it would change while they were tweaking it and still no change from the bump.

    I contacted google using the delisted form for re-assessment and gave a detailed account of my site, what I was doing in the past and ongoing for the future and what I had implemented during the change period.

    2 days later my main page was back to PR4 and also listing in the search from nowhere back to a page 1 listing for my search terms.

    Overall my situation I felt was corrected very swiftly for my site.

    My advice is that if you think you have been unfairly treated by the changed get in touch with google… it certainly benefited my situation. Reading one of the below comments about not hearing back from google. I didn’t hear back from them directly I noticed my traffic and ranking was back to where it should have been.

    Generally speaking if you are doing nothing wrong they you should benefit from changes in the long run, provide good regular content and you will do well. That is my experience

    • http://www.fonerbooks.com Morris Rosenthal

      Phil,

      No change in PR here. Most of my important pages are PR=5 or PR=6. What you are describing is that you got banned for some reason, nothing to do with Panda, and they corrected it. Nobody who has been damaged by Panda has seen an improvement, and many (myself icluded) put in for site reconsideration immediately assuming it was a whacky penalty. It’s not. It’s a whacky algorithm.

      Morris

  • Rick Morris

    I no longer rely on Google so much after the last update. We stayed high in Classic Cars (since 2002) prior to this last (improvement), but now slide between the 70s & 100′s depending on the time of day at Matt’s House. This didn’t happen in all the categories mind you, but only in the ones with high number counts, and that bring the most traffic. Most of the sites that moved upwards are from overseas, or to this point little known it seems. At the same time, my traffic from Bing, Yahoo, and others are increasing, and I have hopes that this trend will grow as more people get jaded with Google’s latest update.

  • JM

    Well, it’s now the best time for a new search engine to appear, or for existing (bing, facebook) to overtake the SE world.

    For me – before the Panda update – results were excelent, I always found the info I was looking for on the first page and I knew I will take only a couple of seconds to find the info I needed. We will see the Panda results very soon.

    The thing with the authority sites is just ridicules, because the real authority sites is only 3-5% of the whole internet. What I mean by that, is that authority sites won’t answer all the human questions. And if less authority sites with the real answer (or even scraped spammed sites which sometimes has a great info too) will be pushed down – then I’m sorry.. it’s time to migrate to Bing

  • Mitar Plot

    “Advice to Google” won’t work.
    As Google grows they are increasingly convinced that they are way smarter and more powerful than us, mortals.
    Years ago I was doing Organic SEO. Most of Google updates was revenue oriented. It is ok, and I support that, until it reaches the point where results suffer.
    In short, Google is more and more agressive and manipulating.
    To be honest, I don’t care for Mr. Rosenthal more than for any other person on the Internet. However, I DO care for ALL of us.
    Google’s behavior is supported by us.
    Our activities, or lack of it, makes all of “them” what they are. Not only Google. Google is rather low harm, if any.

  • Matt

    Oh, dear. Google identify a problem. That might not have really existed. They then invent a way to fix the problem, which then rocks the Google boat and adds some real problems. Which Google will have to fix. These fixes to fix the fix cause other problems, which then must also be fixed, and so it goes…

  • http://www.thebeerladyspeaks.com/ TheBeerLady

    So many people have already said it better than I can, but let me throw in a big AMEN from the peanut gallery. The Google nonsense did horrible things to me, and not just to the website and articles that I publish. I’m now finding Google almost unusable as a search as well. I get garbage results. For a depressing number of searches, I have to wade through multiple pages of shopping sites before I get to anything remotely resembling information. It’s like turning on the TV and finding out that not only do I have 200 channels with nothing on, but I now have to go through 195 versions of QVC and HSN to get to the 5 reruns of Law & Order.

  • http://www.seo-first-page.com/seo-analysis.html seo analysis

    We will have to see how this plays out over the next few months.
    I really enjoyed during the reading of this post and clear about many things – thanks for sharing

  • SusanC

    I hate ehow because every freaking time I click on a likely-looking link from there, the page looks like it’s starting to appear but then it immediately gets overlaid by a page for some product or company in which I have no interest. I’ve re-tried several times in some cases to see the original page, being super careful not to roll over anything, much less click, but it happens over and over. Guaranteed blood pressure raiser. Thanks ehow, you won my dislike!

    I’m more careful now. If it’s at ehow, I try not to click on it.

  • http://www.onewayfurniture.com mitch

    Major failure. All they have done was give the big sites like amazon more real estate. I see irrelevant results all over. Will google admit the Panda update is a mistake? I seriously doubt it. But everyone I speak to sees BING becoming a bigger player because of this update.

  • sam

    This update is much worst than anything I encounter. Many of my indian friends are laughing their butts off seeing that many American make sites are down the toilet and their native speaking content ranked to number 1.
    If Google say this is a success then what and why all my indian friends sites more than few hundreds sites are now up 60%. While my professional site down to bottom of the sea.
    Bing please come to help us. I am switching to Bing.

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