|Many Weeks since the Panda Update - Any Improvements?|
It has been 2 weeks now since google's Farmer update on Feb. 24th, for the sites that are affected, anyone see any improvements? For my site, we have started to remove low quality content a week ago, but have not seen any ranking improvements so far.
"are you saying low traffic yet good quality pages? "
Traffic varies, lets be honest. So unless Google compares that page to exactly similar pages....
Indyrank, there is absolutely, positively a sitewide thing, like a chained ball holding it back.
@walkman, indyrank Yes,it seems sitewide to us to. Ball on a chain is a good analogy. I also like the notion of a glass ceiling: the page in question is right up against the glass, full of momentum to keep climbing, but the site issues have shoved the glass in there between where it is and where it could be, and it is restricted from going any further. Fix the problems, the glass ceiling is removed, and the pages slingshot up. I've got dozens of items stuck right now at #1, Page 2, which used to own Page 1. It's like they've all got a chock under their tires, the motor's revving but they just can't move... The pages are fine, there's something outside the page holding them back...
Google should lift this new algo and replace it with an alternative to This Site May Harm Your Computer... "This Site May Waste Your Time." :)
>>>Recently the Farmer update penalized content farms with low quality content. And then the Panda update went after the sites that the content farms (and other low quality sites) linked to.
Wrong in every possible way. First, Farmer & Panda are the same thing. Second, Google SAID Farmer/Panda penalized content farms, but that has proven to be just PR spin unsupported by the facts. In reality a greater percentage of content farms weren't penalized than any other type of site. In fact many content farms benefitted from Farmer/Panda.
Funny article on WebProNews calling Panda the New Coke.
|Second, Google SAID Farmer/Panda penalized content farms... |
Where and When? Do you have a link to an official Google comment saying that? I can't remember seeing one, but could be mistaken...
>>Where and When? Do you have a link to an official Google comment saying that? I can't remember seeing one, but could be mistaken...
You may be right about that. Perhaps they didn't actually say that. The tech media has SAID that Google implemented Panda for that reason, and they say it over and over and over and over again without any actual evidence to back them up. Now people just believe it and regurgitate it, even if it isn't true.
Really Google hasn't said much of anything at all about Panda. They just flipped a switch and walked away.
Which makes it even more ridiculous for people to continue labeling Panda as an update meant to single out content farms.
This is what's frustrating about Panda: I am seeing empirical evidence here on quality: my colleagues in the same niche are comparing notes and it seems that sites that are smaller, with bad ad placements, inferior user metrics, fluffier content and even PAID LINKS are winning. Sites that are larger and by all accounts much better in quality (site design appearance, user metrics, deeper/richer content) are being devalued because of they may carry more ads, are duplicated. Some of the smaller, inferior but winning sites even increased in PAGE RANK even with the existence of paid links. Imagine that!
It's strange -- but sites with obvious paid links but no adsense are doing better than sites with more adsense and no paid links. How ironic!
Tedster, I did see that paper just last night, and the VERY FIRST quality indicator is something I observed on a page in my site that took the absolute hardest hit (-300 positions) on March 10:
|On-Page Features: |
My hardest-hit page had a spelling error in the main header tag (h3) at the top of the page. In-body spelling errors are bad enough, but header tags carry a lot of weight. Nevertheless, I made the change, and eliminated the duplicate title/desc the page had. Within a day or two, WMT showed the page had regained 250 positions. Overall, the site is still suffering, but I do see some traffic improvements over last week. The page was unduplicated (revealed by a snippet search in Yahoo/Google) and ad-free, so I am convinced that the spelling error was the culprit.
I'm just wondering if spelling errors in user generated comments will count with current and future algos.
Please don't penalize me cause one of my readers can't spell. Thanks Google.
I think spelling mistakes are a red herring. Who's to say if it should be spelled "labor" or "labour"? Who's to say that the name of the product really isn't "Eazy Ballz"? I cannot believe that a _supposed_ spelling mistake could cause a 300 position drop in ranking.
Regarding on-page spelling errors, there's an interesting research paper by Julia Schwarz (Carnegie Mellon) and Meredith Ringel Morris (Microsoft) that found very little correlation between web page content quality and grammar errors or typos. I'm sure it's a factor, but it's probably not very heavily weighted relative to many other factors. Still, if you are on the bubble, fixing a typo could be the small shift that gets a page back into the promised land. I think you really have to work on all the factors and improve your aggregate score. It's all about behavioral modification...Google wants you to strive for perfection and if we all do that it'll clean up the web and the crap in the results (at least in theory).
Think the updates just hit the UK.
Luckily my major site benefited, now at no.1 position again for all my major terms.
Not a niche site, niche-ish..15K visitors a month, mostly organic. Had noticed a slight drop in rankings last 3 weeks, was hovering at 5 from our normal 2nd-3rd.
Also noticed my support page, full of tech info, ranks better.
Total inbound links:400 ish..200 directories, various qualities, 70 forum sigs the rest miscellaneous. NO article sites.
I feel blessed.. for now..
|Google SAID Farmer/Panda penalized content farms |
|Do you have a link to an official Google comment saying that? |
I guess it's not official, but cutts said this in the wired.com interview.
|...scrapers were sometimes outranking original sites, and we actually made a change to improve that. We heard complaints about what the outside world called content farms; we had a change that we were working on for months and months that just launched. |
oddly enough, when I search that snippet of text on G, copied or scraped content shows up first...
Thanks ... That's about as official as it gets these days, imo, so I guess in a roundabout sort of way they did say that's what they were trying to do ... I think I read that one and forgot actually ... lol
Are you sure it rolled out in UK ? As I cannot see any drop in traffic yet and I expect it'll come. ha ha (sarcasm)
I really expect for them to roll out the first tweak to Panda before they roll it Out to the UK. I am not seeing any ranking changes in the UK,yet. Can anyone confirm Changes in UK results?
|I cannot believe that a _supposed_ spelling mistake could cause a 300 position drop in ranking |
Look, we're faced with a major algorithm shift with a mission of "quality" assessment. We have been given clues from Google at SMX, JohnMu, and others, a paper that Tedster shared on the previous page [seobythesea.com...] , and my own observation of a -300 position drop followed by a 250 position gain after making the changes I described.
We can't keep crushing every single theory with the same old "I can't imagine Google penalizing [this, that, the other]." Eventually, each theory will get discounted because "it doesn't seem plausible that Google could/would do that." We have to keep an open mind about the "quality" indicators they can use in an algorithm because, after all, the algorithm can't fact-check a document.
The bottom line is that spelling and grammar absolutely *ARE* indicators of quality. Improper spelling and grammar can reduce the credibility of the source in question. Google has been providing spelling-correction options on their search results for years, so they have a very large database of words, usage, spelling, meaning, etc. Having said this, much of the content out there is user-generated. There is a fine line between penalizing spelling errors in a formal article and spelling errors within user-generated content (blog comments, etc). That's why I think my spelling error in the <H3> tag could have carried a lot of weight. Then again, it could have been pure coincidence. Nevertheless, I corrected it -- because, we just don't know the answers here; they are all suppositions.
|Who's to say if it should be spelled "labor" or "labour" |
Some words have multiple spellings, and any of those could be acceptable. If you search Google for "labour" you do not get a suggested spelling correction. That's because Google recognizes both spellings. If, however, you incorrectly spelled it "labbor," you might get penalized. Even Safari underlined "labbor" as I typed it here. Now suppose you had "Chlid Labbor Laws" in an <H3> tag. That might be worthy of a reduction in the PERCEIVED quality of the page, by the algorithm.
[edited by: crobb305 at 9:33 pm (utc) on Mar 22, 2011]
Can you restore the spelling error so we can understand if it counts or not?
|Can you restore the spelling error so we can understand if it counts or not? |
If my domain was a throw away, I would. I have been working for 2 weeks on data analyses and page modifications. As I said, the page was thick, ad-free, and unduplicated (not a single copy anywhere out there). The only problems with the page were the spelling error in <H3>, and a very short title/desc. The -300 average position drop was likely the result of all three.
Aside from that page which saw a 300-position drop, the next largest were approximately -100 on 5 relatively-thin pages with up to two affiliate links. All other pages have fared well, but the 6 penalized pages brought the whole site down by about 50% in traffic. As Google has said, even a few low-quality pages can bring down the entire site. So we should be making corrections page by page, clue by clue...
Wait a minute. Does this mean I can't hire 12-year olds to write content for me?
But eHow does it, why can't I?
haha, see what I did there, eHow. I know you're reading this.
From official Google blog post... [googleblog.blogspot.com...] ...my <b>
|..This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. |
This explains why sites with original content, no thin pages, has dropped. Probably people click Back in browser or go to other website via ads and from here to Google again.
I have a website with 3.300 visits/day and was not hit by Panda, it has text from manufacturers and thin pages. People are happy on site, ads are not agressive.
On my affected site i have changed things and people are not fooled now by ads instead navigation. I have increased pageviews, time on site, reduced bounce rate, but the bad thing is traffic doesn't come back at least a little.
I think if it was modifications of algorithm we should see some reports of traffic recovery, not only labnol or cultofmac (probably manually turned off red flag).
Even a page have thousands of original words, can be trash just for search engine and users are not happy.
Now, if my visitors are happy on site, what should i do to recover my rankings, offer them a free drink to stay more?
[edited by: rowtc2 at 10:02 pm (utc) on Mar 22, 2011]
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 1:00 am (utc) on Mar 23, 2011]
I wish we had a "like" button by each post here on WebmasterWorld. Maybe I'm a FB junkie, but I automatically look for a "Like" button haha. Might be neat feature to implement, so we can like individual comments here.
|Wait a minute. Does this mean I can't hire 12-year olds to write content for me? But eHow does it, why can't I? |
I agree with you supercyberbob (about E-How). I'm not happy with them (for the same reason as many webmasters: their stingy use of resources without giving REAL credit). However, a 12-year old could, theoretically, write an algorithmically perceived high-quality document, if it is grammatically correct with no spelling errors. I believe E-How has an editorial process, so they would correct those errors before posting. The algorithm can't fact-check the document, so it has to rely on basic quality indicators (much like a high school English teacher might -- they certainly don't have time to fact-check hundreds of term papers).
Again, the fact that E-How refuses to give legitimate credit because they nofollow all reference links is a different issue (which, in itself could be another "quality" indicator that allowed them to survive: nofollow=no external SEO abuse, right?)
To be honest, I was surprised to see Buzzle on the Sistrix list. I enjoy reading Buzzle articles, and they have a strong editorial process.
|Probably people click Back in browser or go to other website via ads and from here to Google again. |
Wonder if you can improve the site-performance measure by setting all links to open in a new window, so there is no back button to hit. Your page still stays open and the user is still on your site, as they close those windows. Right? All my links are set to open on top, rather than in a new window, because years ago, when I programmed the site, there were popup-blocker issues in some browsers for opening new windows (I am not sure if these are still an issue today). Does it create a negative user experience to open a new window, and does it keep the user on the site longer (thereby improving the site's user/performance score)?
[edited by: crobb305 at 11:27 pm (utc) on Mar 22, 2011]
|We can't keep crushing every single theory with the same old "I can't imagine Google penalizing [this, that, the other]." Eventually, each theory will get discounted because "it doesn't seem plausible that Google could/would do that." We have to keep an open mind... |
If they detect when user hit Back, i think they detect time spent on page too.
For a good user experience i think is not ok to use target=_blank (new window). On affected site i have used target=_blank for some pages to increase Adsense CTR, removed next days after Panda disaster [update :)].
Just to clarify, the paper I mentioned above is the same one Tedster alluded to (I hadn't seen his post). If you actually read it, it says spelling/grammar/typos and quality are not well correlated. In other words, many high-quality pages, as judged by humans, have errors. Still, I agree that it's wise to fix any and all errors.
I am seeing a complete rollback since this morning. It started a little bit last night then went back to "Panda" for the day and in the evening rolled back again to pre-panda.
The traffic we get is exactly the same, exactly the same keywords as before Panda for the past 24 hours.
I can tell about rankings because I don't check rankings that often anymore. But the actual clicks are coming like if Panda vanished totally. Weird.
In our case, in our industry it's not good at all. Panda was pretty good as it was cancelling out some of those big guys who can publish anything, especially BS and still get ranked (well, I guess Google can't determine what's true and what's rubbish).
I also noticed over the last few weeks that we were receiving even less traffic for postions 5+. Even though the top 5 results do not bring accurate info at all. I guess that people just expect Google to tell them what's true then they don't look further down, they take what's on top as if it was googlegod's words.
|If you actually read it, it says spelling/grammar/typos and quality are not well correlated. In other words, many high-quality pages, as judged by humans, have errors. |
Yeah, I actually read it... I have it sitting right here in front of me on my desk. And like you said, that correlation is based on users’ credibility assessments. The findings do not eliminate the possibility that spelling may count in an algorithm. A human can make subjective judgments of quality/credibility based on experience. An algorithm has to be programmed to look for signals. That's what this discussion is all about -- what might those signals be?
Let's face it, very smart people make spelling errors. I had my fair share of typos when I was writing my Master's thesis and when I submitted my first couple of papers for publication; but, they didn't mitigate the overall value of my work. Peers identified the errors, suggested changes, and I simply made the corrections. We don't have that luxury when it comes to search engines. I'm not sure an algorithm would have held my works in high regard if they were riddled with spelling errors.
Again, this is all supposition, but every idea/clue to what could be an objective "quality" indicator may help us improve our sites. Like you said, it's wise to fix any and all errors. I found a significant spelling error in an H3 tag (which carries weight) and I corrected it. I then moved on to another page.
>>>I am seeing a complete rollback since this morning. It started a little bit last night then went back to "Panda" for the day and in the evening rolled back again to pre-panda.
The traffic we get is exactly the same, exactly the same keywords as before Panda for the past 24 hours.
You're the first person to actually report any real change since Panda was implemented.
So for you this is a negative because you gained in Panda?
I've been talking to people who are seeing very different google results depending on where in the country they are, and what browser they use.
Something is definitely going on.
|I am seeing a complete rollback since this morning. |
I sure wish I was seeing a rollback. I'm still down -58%. Maybe you have improved ranking? Or are you seeing other sites return as well?
I do see a rolling pattern in my hourly histogram today. I haven't seen that lately.