As you may know, Google launched its latest iteration of the Panda update early last week. The company confirmed this for us on Friday. Shortly after that, SearchMetrics compiled lists of the top winners and losers. Some were surprising (as usual), and some weren't.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises was the placement of Hubpages on those lists. Panda enthusiasts probably recall HubPages getting hit pretty hard by the Panda update, as the company hardly let us forget. CEO Paul Edmondson was very vocal about the whole thing in the aftermath of the Panda massacre. Now, HubPages has made the top winners list.
When asked about his feelings on this, Edmondson told WebProNews, "HubPages has always cared about quality. We've done a tremendous number of things to highlight the best of HubPages. Our internal metrics now show significant redistribution of traffic to higher quality pages."
While being vocal about Panda, as mentioned, Edmondson had called out Google in the past for treating its own YouTube property differently, despite YouTube and HubPages having similar models in acceptance of user-generated content - each with its fair share of lesser-quality content. YouTube was actually the top winner this time around too, per SearchMetrics' data.
You may also recall Edmondson's idea to implement subdomains across the site, as to separate content from other content on an author-by-author basis.
When asked about the main factors he thinks turned things around with this latest update, Edmondson said, "HubPages has a tremendous amount of high quality content. Stuff that is so good that they're labors of love. We concentrated on giving the best content the best opportunity."
He didn't mention the subdomaining, but the site implemented this back in July, after some testing appeared to indicate that it helped the better stuff rise in search visibility.
It's really quite interesting that the Panda update was always tied to discussion about content farms, yet with this latest round, sites like eHow, EzineArticles, Suite101, etc. are off the grid, as far as the losers list, and HubPages was even able to become one of the top winners.
Either way, the fact that HubPages was able to do a complete 180 on the Panda scale should give webmasters who have been victimized, a bit of hope. On the other hand, DaniWeb was able to make a 110% recovery before getting slammed again with this update.