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Google Panda Update Aftermath: More Created Problems than Solved Problems?

google panda update impacts

Beware of the Google Panda!

Google’s latest algorithm change has affected businesses around the world – in both a good way and a bad way. But reading the stories by website owners makes me think – is Google Panda really successful in pursuing the ultimate goal: Giving the best possible user-experience? I want to believe it, but just like many others, I doubt it.

Amit Singhal, Google Fellow has recently published a guide on how to build high-quality sites on the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog in an effort to help website owners (who some of them are also business owners) to understand how to work things out their way post-Google Panda update.

Is the official guide helpful in building high-quality sites?

The guide is useful. Following the guide will definitely help you create a wonderful site with useful content for its visitors. However, I come into a conclusion that following the guide will not necessarily help your site to be better in term of search engine ranking. The guide is great for humans, but I don’t understand how Google bots can understand such abstract guide.

The guide – in the form of question – includes whether the information presented in the website is trusted, truthful and useful to site visitors; is the content well-edited; and many more. You see, the guide is very
useful, but again – it’s not necessary that following the guide will get your site to rank better.

One issue I read from the guide that is interesting: Low-quality content can drag the whole site down. Amit suggests that it’s better for you to move, delete, or merge the low-quality content to help you rank better.

One of my sites is hit hard by Google, dropping 200 ranks down for the main keywords after the Google Panda update. I used to publish press releases on the site, and I decided to remove them altogether. The result: My site climbs back up and rank better for the same set of keywords. So, in my case, the suggestion works wonder.

HOWEVER, if you take a closer look on the comments published on this particular blog post on Google Webmaster Central blog, also from the webmaster forum threads I read these days, it seems that most of the comments and opinions are rants or at least statements and questions; all funnel into one issue: Google Panda update raises more questions than answers; in other words, Google Panda update creates more problems than offering solutions to those problems.

Mixed results post-Google Panda update

Some do testify that Google Panda update helps them to rank their business website well. However, many are unhappy with the new Google algorithms.

Some “rants” include small business owners whose small business websites rank lower than big sites, accusing Google to favour big brand names over smaller ones regardless of the quality of the content.

One business owner claims to be an expert in his field and publish quality articles based on his experience. However, Google ranks his article lower than an article from eHow that brings little or no value on the same subject. Many other comments and posts also voice similar concerns. This is not a new problem, as it exists way before Google Panda, but even with the update, the negative impact is even greater after Google Panda update.

Another business owner also mentions that he is losing business because Google keeps content thieves rank better on Google than the original content site – even after the Google Panda update, he loses 45 percent of traffic to his all unique, high quality content business website.

I experience similar issue with Noobpreneur.com. One of our articles is being copied-and-pasted in full without permission, even attribution. Despite the scraped content ranks lower than the original ones, it ranks above our other articles. Fortunately, the owner was cooperative and removed the content right away after I emailed her.

Many business website owners question the following: If Google didn’t fix those issues, then what are actually Google fixing with Google Panda?

So, what to do?

I am not an expert in this, but the best thing Google Panda can offer you is something that will push business websites of all sizes to step up their game, by creating better content that actually useful for your business website visitors – something worth linking to by others.

Google ranks sites with the help of bots. These bots are smart but not as smart as us human – we can somehow understand that a site is high quality or low quality, but bots operate based on rules (algorithms) that are continuously developed (Google plans for about 500 updates to its ranking algorithms in 2011.) That’s why Google incorporates user feedback to help with sites ranking.

All in all, Google Panda controversies will continue. Some benefit from Google Panda update, but some others don’t. It’s probably best for us to focus on our content creation.

I have my doubts; Google Panda is successful in some ways to topple low-quality content off the search result pages, but many genuine, quality business websites are also affected by the updates, impacting the businesses profitability and prospects

Google does deliver traffic and business, but there are many other sources of traffic and business you can tap form, instead of focusing all of your efforts in trying hard to please Google.

How about you? Do you believe Google Panda update is for the best for us small business website owners?

Ivan Widjaya
Google Panda controversies

About author

Ivan Widjaya
Ivan Widjaya 2332 posts

Ivan Widjaya is the Owner/Editor of Noobpreneur.com, as well as several other blogs. He is a business blogger, web publisher and content marketer for SMEs.

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  • maz,

    You know what, to certain extent I agree with you. I am actually intrigued whether Google has a particular reason or two on why less-useful results appear on the first page of search results… On a certain search terms, I discover that there are spammy, ad-ridden sites rank on the first page! Since Google is combating those sites, especially with Panda algo updates, I can’t say they do a great job.

  • maz

    got to say as a ‘regular’ user, google has been noticably less useful in the last 6 months – to the point where I’m about to abandon it as a search engine and try others. It’s so bad I’m even thinking about having a go on bing.

  • Lynn,

    That’s also a trend in my case. My traffic is growing steadily, but my AdSense income stays pretty much the same. Indeed, the CTR drops and the eCPM also drops. I understand that with AdSense, we will have our ups and downs – so, let’s hope this won’t be a trend…

    To me, in general, Google Panda helps my blogs to get more traffic, but you are right – I’m not sure whether the traffic Google send is that targeted.

    Please keep me posted about your sites’ progress…

  • I can’t speak for everyone else, but Google Panda updates have not been good for my sites at all. I was excited the first few days after the 2.3 roll out because my traffic and earnings picked up. But, after four or five days, things started going downhill again. In July 2010 my adsense earnings were around $1000 this year, July 2011 my adsense earning were about $800. The weird things are: my ranking (alexa) has improved tremendously, my traffic has remained constant, but my Adsense CTR is taking a beating. Which makes me wonder what type of traffic I’m receiving and whether or not the Ads are as targeted as they were 12 months ago.

  • Hi Astonished,

    Rants are understandable when it comes to Google Panda update. It’s a controversial update, because it only solves half of the problem, while long-time problems were not solved – yet… for example, a site with copied content ranks higher from the originating source of content :/

    Yeah – Google considers big brand more. That’s why Wikipedia and other big names will always rank on the Top 3 – or at least in the first page on any given keywords.

    And you are right – it’s a bot… you can train a bot to do things for you, but human’s ability to see qualities can’t be replaced (Big G does acknowledge this limitation by implementing user feedback feature, allowing you to report any quality-issues from the SERPs.)

  • Astonished

    I think that panda update is the absolute worst thing the google gods have done to date.

    And right smack on the heels of a lawsuit settlement with the FTC – how come no one ever mentions that “little” fact?

    When I search, no matter what for, all I get now is that stupid wikipedia in first place, then several results (yes, several for ONE QUERY) from that annoying about.com, then a livestrong.com keeps popping up with several results and at the bottom of page 1- MAYBE I’ll get an actual web site. So I click on and today for example, I wind up on some horribly designed page from the way old editors that says, “last updated Nov. 2004”!!!

    Oh yeah big G, REAL quality there. I think they’ve lost their colletive minds or they’re up to something with the greedy gov’t Marxists. I mean how can a search engine TELL the public at large what is quality and what isn’t? HELLO, it’s a BOT!

    Thanks for chance to rant!

  • Aprillins,

    Agreed. Google Panda is good, in a sense that it will help biz website owners to step up their game. However, for those who are doing what expected: Quality content, etc. – some of them are still getting slammed for some obscure reasons.

    Nevertheless, Google Panda, in general, is good in giving small sites with great content a chance to go up in SERPs.

    Thanks for your comment!