In case you haven't been keeping up, Google confirmed late last week that it launched a new Panda update earlier last week. You can follow our previous coverage here.
Recent data from SearchMetrics indicates that a couple of Google sites - YouTube and Android.com - were among the top winners of search visibility from the update. The timing of this is interesting, considering recent Senate discussions regarding whether or not Google favors its own content. We asked Google for comment on this, and a spokesperson for the company gave us the following statement:
"Our intent is to rank web search results in order to deliver the most relevant answers to users. Each change we make goes through a process of rigorous scientific testing, and if we don't believe that a change will help users, we won't launch the change. In particular, last week's Panda change was a result of bringing more data into our algorithms."
The Panda update hasn't even been much of a focus in the Senate discussion. It's been more about Google's placement of content from properties like Google Places, Maps, etc.
Aaron Wall at SEOBook uploaded a cartoon, having a little fun with Google on the subject:
This is not the first time Google sites have gained search visibility from Panda. In April, YouTube, Google.com, Google.co.uk, Blogspot.com and Android.com were all named among the top winners (also from SearchMetrics data), though to be fair, a handful of Google's competitors also saw gains.
Paul Edmondson, CEO of HubPages, which was actually able to count itself among the winners this time around after being previously victimized, has talked extensively in the past about how YouTube has seemed to get a pass in areas where others (like HubPages) have been penalized.
In May, he wrote a guest post for TechCrunch, where he said, "One presumes Google isn’t treating its own affiliated sites differently than any other site, but YouTube’s open publishing environment makes low-quality content as prevalent as on any other moderated open publishing platform. Google shows over 13 million indexed videos on YouTube for lose weight (known spammy area) and over 10 million for forex (another spammy area). Apparently, Google’s Panda update has been punitive only to platforms other than Google’s."
Google seemed to inadvertently back up Edmondson's comments when YouTube shared the stat: 30% of all videos account for 99% of views. That doesn't mean that 30% are spammy, but it does say something about what people actually watch on YouTube.