Google: By The Way, A Panda Update Is Rolling Out Alongside The EMD Update

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Google: By The Way, A Panda Update Is Rolling Out Alongside The EMD Update
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Last Friday, Google announced the EMD update. It was billed as a small and minor update, but the effects seemed to be fairly large, with many webmasters claiming to have been hit. Google’s Matt Cutts made it a point to say that the algorithm change was unrelated to both Panda and Penguin.

He then said it was not the only update that was rolling out during that timeframe, noting that Google makes changes every day (over 500 a year). He didn’t happen to mention that there was a new Panda update, however. Finally, he has dropped the news that there was indeed a Panda update going on at the same time as the EMD update (and it’s still rolling out).

Were you impacted by one of these updates? Are you able to discern which one it was? Let us know in the comments.

Search Engine Land reports that Google released a Panda algorithm update (not a data refresh, but an actual update) on Thursday, and that it impacts 2.4% of English search queries (and is still rolling out). That’s significantly larger than the 0.6% of English-US queries Cutts said the EMD update affected. So, it seems that the majority of those claiming to be hit by the EMD update were likely hit by Panda (which would explain those claiming to be hit, that didn’t have exact match domains).

Here’s the exact statement from Cutts that the publication is sharing: “Google began rolling out a new update of Panda on Thursday, 9/27. This is actually a Panda algorithm update, not just a data update. A lot of the most-visible differences went live Thursday 9/27, but the full rollout is baking into our index and that process will continue for another 3-4 days or so. This update affects about 2.4% of English queries to a degree that a regular user might notice, with a smaller impact in other languages (0.5% in French and Spanish, for example).”

Couldn’t he have just said that in the first place? Google had to know the confusion this would cause. Since the original Panda update, Google has made more of an effort to be transparent about algorithm changes, and it certainly has been. It seems, however, like delayed transparency is becoming the trend recently.

For months, Google was releasing monthly lists of updates that had been made the prior month. The last time, they left people waiting before finally posting a giant list for two months’ worth of changes. It seems that Google is doing this again, as we have yet to see lists for August or September (assuming Google is about to release these lists).

Either way, it appears the Panda continues to wreak havoc on webmasters. Wait until they get a load of the next Penguin.

For those sites that were hit, obviously if there is not an exact match domain involved, that makes the problem a little easier to figure out, at least in terms of which update the site was actually hit by. It seems unlikely that the EMD update would have done much to impact you if your site does not use an EMD. Which leaves Panda (and of course, any other updates that Google hasn’t told us about – they do make changes every day, and often more than one in a day).

While Cutts said that the EMD update is unrelated to Panda, that is not necessarily the case, depending on how you view the comment. Algorithmically speaking, I presume Cutts means the two have nothing to do with each other. However, in concept, the two are very similar in that they go after low quality. So, doesn’t it stand to reason that if you improve the quality of your content, you could actually recover from either update? That is assuming that the EMD update is one that can be recovered from. Let’s put it this way: if it’s possible to recover from the EMD update (which most likely it probably is), improving the quality of your site and content should be the main objective.

This just happens to be the same objective for recovering from Panda. Of course quality is subjective, and Google has it’s own view of what this entails. Luckily for webmasters Google has essentially laid out exactly what it is looking for from content, specifically with regards to the Panda update.

Googe has pretty much given webmaster the rules of the road to Panda recovery, even if they’re not official rules. You’ve probably seen the list before, but if you were never hit by the Panda update until now, maybe you haven’t. Either way, here are the questions Google listed last year as “questions that one could use to assess the quality of a page or an article:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

Of course, Google uses over 200 signals in all, but that should get you started on thinking about your site’s content.

And with regards to the EMD update, remember, Google is targeting “low quality” EMDs. Not simply EMDs in general.

We’ve provided tons of coverage of the Panda update since Google first launched it. To learn more about it, feel free to peruse the Panda section of WebProNews.

Do you think Google has improved its search results with this algorithm combo? Is Google being transparent enough about algorithm updates for your taste? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Image credit: Rick Bucich

Google: By The Way, A Panda Update Is Rolling Out Alongside The EMD Update
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  • http://www.Vitamasters.com Michael G.

    Since the inception of the 1st Panda update my site has lost over 70% of it’s business, I have tried to compensate, but very little in the way of improvements has helped, I did manage to improve my traffic but the volume of sales is still way down, this site has been running since 2002 and at this point it looks like Google has driven a stake through it’s heart.

  • John

    May be Panda or EMD update has also smashed our traffic down by 66%, sale are also down. After reading more i think may be we have been hit by the Panda update on the 27th Sept as our 12 year old ecom site started to slowly drop visitors from that date, but it was more like a day-of-the-week difference. On the 29th sept we dropped 75% traffic which has settled to a 66% today. I dont understand how or why Google would penalise a matching domain name of 12 years old like ours.

  • http://www.vesta-tech.net Manila Website Designer

    Google update is goodgle. very bad for search engine industry if web users getting the same results everywhere, everyday.

  • http://www.mortgagebroker.com.au Dave B

    You know people, our family business (just my wife and I) is an Exact Match Domain. We have been number 2 in Australia and number 6 in the World for our keywords for 6 years now. We have paying members, paying advertisers and we have worked so very, very hard to be where we are in one of the most aggressive industries on the planet, finance!

    Page 1, number 2 last week. This week PAGE 52. Can you believe it???

    We have literally in the past month relaunched our new site spending thousands upon thousands of dollars and now to be honest if we dont recover my little family will go broke. All because some techo geeks THINK they know how to run a business.

    Upset, you bet I am.

    Thanks for letting me speak.

    • http://www.krinalmehta.com Krinal Mehta

      Hard to say but a not so good site is still ranking on Page 1 I see mortgagebrokersaustralia.com.au – How come not yours then ?

  • Gabriel

    The more I research the more convinced I am that “EMD” comes from “Earning Money Domains” because most of the sites hit were small businesses and affiliate sites. As a business you have no other good alternative to get traffic than PPC advertising, like Adwords. Is this just a coincidence? Does Google really care about “user experience” or just about money? Why do they display the paid ads before the search results since they care so much about the relevant results? How relevant is a website that paid Google money to appear on top? I guess the guys there inside the Google team forgot the value of money, and how hard it is to start a business. I don’t say they should care, but at least they should not do EVERYTHING possible to shut down small business. After all, Google would not exist without our sites.

  • http://www.londonphotographer.co.uk Dan Burman

    DaveB – I couldn’t agree more.

    For years, I’ve been page one for “london photographer”, and based on what google said was ok at the time, I spent some money and effort buying the keyword domain http://www.londonphotographer.co.uk

    Now, out of the blue, they’ve decided that businesses like mine with keyword urls should be heavily penalised for going along with their rules. Now they decide… It’s just unbelievable. And now when you do that search loads of photographers aren’t coming up – instead organisations that do not reflect the needs of that search.

    I understand why google is constantly trying to beat spammers by changing its rules, but a lot of these decisions seem arbitrary and an abuse of their monopoly position. Wouldn’t matter so much if they couldn’t completely destroy small businesses with these tactics, but they are.

    In fact, it seems more and more that the only people who benefit from google’s constant changes are spammers and very big businesses that can afford to keep an inhouse team to keep up with all this constant fiddling.

    If we all start switching our search to the other engines, maybe they’ll start to listen. So many results are poor these days anyway.

    • http://www.dirtworks.net John Meshna

      Agreed. I’ve been moving over to Bing but Microsoft isn’t much of a friend to the people of this world either so either way we’re feeding the monster.

    • http://www.krinalmehta.com Krinal Mehta

      Seems like this guy londonphotography.org.uk was more fortunate then

  • John

    My site was top ranking for several great terms. On Oct 6th I logged onto google and the site was gone.


    i also had another one on the same server simultaneously hit


    I had another site (productname)manufacturers.com which didn’t get hit and is the worst site out of them all, its literally a template with a bunch of content I wrote pasted to the front page. The others are fully complete sites, pages of content, tons of products.

  • Hetal

    Hey thanks a lot for update as i was about to buy expect match domain for my business….But after reading all comments i am totally confuse should i have to buy EMD or not…….Viewers – please give your suggestion…


  • http://colouringpages.net.au ecp

    If you have quality sites – you shouldn’t worry about any of the updates done by Google. Thanks Chris for your time>

    • http://www.dirtworks.net John Meshna

      Wrong. These updates are destroying the internet and killing off thousands of small businesses. Who going to decide what quality is? Consumers or some baby faced puke like Matt Cutts?

    • Tai Kung

      @ ecp I think you do not know what you are talking about. What is good content? Initially, there was the pagerank, then backlinks, then emd…remember dude, the terms were all started by Google. When one tried to play God, I hope they get what they want.

  • Tai Kung

    Honestly, I’m sick of seeing this Cutt’s face. Fat and ugly.

  • http://taxaudit419.com lance wallach

    We do not do this for a living,SEO. I, Lance Wallach, Google me LOL, help people sold bad insurance tax type products fight the IRS and sue the bad people. This is the first time I have read from this site and it is very interesting. We have a lot of sites and publish on the sites many of my articles that I write for publications. We also sometimes post on other sites. Since we have more business that we can deal with, we do not look for more. I have noticed that many of my sites have just hit the first page. Is it because of these new Google changes? I am sorry, and it seems to make sense, all the comments that I have just read. Good luck to all of you. Lance Wallach, first time and thanks for the very interesting stuff.

  • http://www.guarantorloans.co chris davison

    Hi Chris
    Ok, a lot of people are not going to agree with me but for us, the various panda and penguin updates (particularly the minor weather report on Sep 27th’ish) have actually given us the kick up the backside we needed to amend our sites.
    One of our sites dropped from page 1 to page 6 so it has hit us hard, however we have no had chance to assess the damage and you know what? Our site had thousands of identical anchor text links, hundreds of low quality posts (less than 150 words)and hundreds of posts which were only slightly different from each other. In summary, the site had lots of low quality content which we are in the process of amending.
    So whilst it is a very hard lesson for us to learn, it has given us the opportunity to really dig deep into that site and finally turn it into the site it should have been.

  • http://www.wfieldsforpets.com Kristin Fields

    I have a relatively new e-commerce site. Playing the stock market is looking easier to me compared to SEO. I spend a lot of time reading to learn, but am confused when I look at competitors’ sites and see all of the tactics that are supposed to be frowned upon. I don’t want to invest money in expert services until I know enough to be a smart client.

  • http://www.actressone.com Krishna

    i trusted that information present on the article for panda updates

  • http://blogdumps.com Wolfbernz

    I am not sure what to think about Google’s last updates. It appears that most of the list above would not apply to a blog directory!
    BlogDumps.com, a blog directory site, over the last six years has gone up and down in page rank but never to a zero. With that said all the update did was take away the people that wanted to advertise on our site due to the page rank drop. What happened is we lost the revenue that was helping pay for the servers.
    When I search Google and other search engines BlogDumps has not lost it’s place in any of them and people are submitting their sites everyday. So why the page rank cut? The site is still number one in many of the key words that we want it to be. I am not going to change everything to try to get the page rank back because it won’t be long and they will have changed everything once again and our rank will go back up just as it has in the past six years.

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