Google Panda Update: Cutts Confirms Another Tweak

Chris CrumSearchNews

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As previously reported, Google's Matt Cutts tweeted out on October 5 to "expect some Panda-related flux in the next few weeks, but will have less impact than previous updates (~2%)."

SearchMetrics has since shared numbers for sites it found to have bounced back. DaniWeb, which originally tipped us off to the most recent major Panda update (commonly referred to as 2.5), saw a recovery even before that.

When asked if there was a "minor Panda update" on October 14 (Friday), Matt Cutts replied on Twitter:

@maheshhari late last night, yes. 2 days ago via web · powered by @socialditto

Indeed, a number of webmasters reported over the weekend in various forums that they experienced some level of change that would coincide with Matt's response. Some saw ups, some saw downs, and others saw little to no change.

Search Engine Roundtable has an interesting look at people who have lost their jobs because of the Panda Update. Barry Schwartz, who runs that site, ran a poll for which he got 250 responses, with the following results:

Panda Jobs Poll  

This isn't the first we've seen of the Google Panda update killing jobs. You may recall earlier this year when Mahalo's Jason Calacanis announced he had to reduce his staff in response to the update. More recently, we've seen Demand Media implement a drastic reduction in new article assignments for its freelance writers as part of a larger effort to increase the overall quality of its sites like eHow, which has (or at least had) the reputation as the kind of site the Panda update was designed to have an impact on.

There's an entire thread about unemployment caused by Panda in Google's own Webmaster Central forums. The initial question asked in that is, "How many people are now unemployed due to Google's launch of the Panda update?"

The response listed as the "best answer" is: "How many people are employed because of all the free traffic that website[s] get from Google?"

The guy that started the thread said he started with 15 layoffs (3 administration staff, 1 editor, 9 writers and 2 artists).

One SEO manager said, "I have more clients today after Panda, so I am happy with it."

Despite Demand Media's reduction in article assignments, and starting out as kind of the poster child for what not to do in terms of what the Panda update goes after, the company has also kind of taken the poster child role for how to move on from Panda, in terms of diversification of traffic sources and becoming less reliant on Google, and instead putting more focus on quality and driving traffic from social sources and content distribution partnerships.

The lesson here is that while Google can be a tremendous source of traffic, you'd do well to put the effort into creating and improving upon other sources. Google is not going to stop altering its algorithm. Even if you've managed to do well so far with regards to Panda survival, you could be hit by another iteration of it, or some other algorithmic change entirely.

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.