Google Panda Update: Antitrust Connections Being Tossed Around

Chris CrumSearch

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Ah, the Google Panda update. The search story of the year. It just won’t leave the news will it?

As recently reported, Google could be facing a massive fine over antitrust complaints in Europe. The European Commission is expected to issue Google a 400-page document talking about its alleged “abuse of dominance.”

While in my opinion, it may be a bit of a stretch, a new Guardian article is drawing a connection from this to the Panda update. The piece talks about an Irritable Bowel Syndrome site that was hit by Panda back in February, and then jumps to:

Any day now, the European commission is expected to announce whether it will formally object to what some see as Google's abuse of its power in the way that it treats smaller sites that offer the same sorts of services as it does.

If that happens, Google could be forced to comply with strictures on the way it treats rival sites offering particular sorts of search – for news, products, maps, shopping, images or videos – rather than pushing its own on the site. Alternatively, it could face fines of millions of pounds.

The piece goes on to quote Adam Raff, co-founder of Foundem, a vertical search engine who has filed a complaint against Google:

"Panda is a collection of disparate updates," Raff says. She says that though panda was widely touted as an attack on content farms, "it also marks an aggressive escalation of Google's war on rival vertical search services. First, vertical search services are in many ways the polar opposite of content farms" - because they link to multiple different sites, rather than containing content on one site.

"Panda wasn't just deployed in the midst of these investigations; we suggest that it was deployed in direct response to them. By bundling these diametrically opposed updates together, the 'content farm' elements could be viewed as providing cover for the vertical search targeted elements."

I guess that’s one point of view.

While on the topic of Panda, a WebmasterWorld member (Content_ed) has an interesting story up about moving his good content from a Panda hit site to a site that was actually boosted by Panda.

“I moved a half dozen pages that were drawing a few hundred visitors a day from Google on my Pandalized (down 80%) site to my Panda pleased (up over 300%) site this weekend,” he says. “It took a little over 24 hours for Google to start indexing the pages on the new site so I'm not sure if Monday results represent a full day. Of the half dozen pages, three were slightly above their pre-Panda level (year-over-year) on Monday, and three were around 20% under. The average Google traffic for the six pages Monday was around 250 visitors each.”

It’s something to cosider, given HubPages’ strategy of subdomaining to separate out the better stuff.

WebmasterWorld moderator Tedster had the following response to Content_ed’s post: “A lot may depend on the number of pages that each site contains. If you moved half a dozen pages to a domain that contains hundreds or thousands of other pages, you may see no changes with future Panda iterations. There's also a chance, since Panda has a site-wide influence, that these pages were not the source of the Panda problem on their original domain. In which case, you made an excellent move.”

With that, I’ll leave you with an infographic about Panda from Cognitive SEO:

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.