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Why Haven't Sites Come Back from Panda? Matt Cutts Tries to Explain
walkman



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 6:49 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

This is a rush(?) transcript from Dany Sullivan's blog so probably not everything is 100% correct. The italics and bolding are mine.
[searchengineland.com...]
DS: Talking about Panda, says that he’s getting a ton of emails from people who say that scraper sites are now outranking them after Panda.

MC: A guy on my team working on that issue. A change has been approved that should help with that issue. We’re continuing to iterate on Panda. The algorithm change originated in search quality, not the web spam team.
....
DS: Has it changed enough that some people have recovered? Or is it too soon?

MC: The general rule is to push stuff out and then find additional signals to help differentiate on the spectrum. We haven’t done any pushes that would directly pull things back. We have recomputed data that might have impacted some sites. There’s one change that might affect sites and pull things back.

DS: You guys made this post with 22 questions, but it sounds like you’re saying even if you’ve done that, it wouldn’t have helped yet?

MC: It could help as we recompute data. Matt goes on to say that Panda 2.2 has been approved but hasn’t rolled out yet.

DS: Reads an audience question – is site usability being considered as more of a factor?

MC: Panda isn’t directly targeted at usability, but it’s a key part of making a site that people like. Pay attention to it because it’s a good practice, not because Google says so.

Matt mentions 'pull back' but that's nonsense and very disingenuous of him. Pull back to me means letting a previously labeled bad content rank. We're talking about improved sites and content, no need to pull back, just reanalyze it.

So it's clear to me that this is a penalty. Maybe if you got links from every newspaper in the Northern Hemisphere you might escape but for the rest it looks like it depends on Google engineers. It took them 3+ months to admit it.

 

leadegroot

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 12:14 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Lisa Barone blogged the conversation too:
[outspokenmedia.com...]

Shaddows

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 12:33 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Matt mentions 'pull back' but that's nonsense and very disingenuous of him

"Pull back" in this context appears to mean "reduce the scope" of Panda. It looks like they are improving the specificity [en.wikipedia.org] of the algo.

In other words, 2.2 will include a change that might return SOME sites to previous rankings. This is NOT a reversal of a penalty, it is a redefinition of the scope of competence of the algo.

So it's clear to me that this is a penalty

Gah! Nothing MC says indicates its a penalty. Its an algo that is "competent" in a specific set of conditions, which (when competence-approved) can result in a range of SERP-modification outcomes.

ErnestHemingway



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 1:29 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

What a joke, you made us mess up our 500k indexed page website and now we are getting this BS.

Serious MC spam team and quality team and Adsense team need to SIT DOWN TOGETHER AND TALK.

Spam team is in mars
Search Quality team is on Saturn
Adsense Team is on earth

None of you guys are working together to make something work.

At least can you tell Amit to drop an email to head of Adsense team to stop SPAMMING US with emails telling us to monetize our site with Adsense.

Can't make you all happy my man Matt Cutts, make up your minds, you want us to place Adsense or not. Hopefully Amit and his co will overkill Google no doubt why investors are freaking out.

nickreynolds

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 1:36 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Panda 2.2 - not sure if I'm looking forward to it or fearing it!

scooterdude



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 2:04 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

The bit highlighted below says that they have not done a pull back yet
That is, from the first application of PANDA, no one has quite,recovered no matter what they might think, interesting hey

MC: The general rule is to push stuff out and then find additional signals to help differentiate on the spectrum. We haven’t done any pushes that would directly pull things back. We have recomputed data that might have impacted some sites. There’s one change that might affect sites and pull things back.

[edited by: scooterdude at 2:05 pm (utc) on Jun 8, 2011]

Reno

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 2:05 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

It took them 3+ months to admit it.


MC may be a fine fellow, but his job is to spin, and he's very good at it, so when he and other Google engineers came out immediately after the Panda release with their self congratulatory PR, it was clearly formulated to create the impression that this was the "latest & greatest" from Mt Olympus. They had not even gotten in widespread worldwide data when those positive pronouncements were in the press. They understand, as governments understand, that you must get out early & often to create the first impression, whether it's true or not.

I feel for people who have devoted dozens or even hundreds of hours in an effort to restore their websites after the Panda slaughter. It looks like some or even much of that may have been in vain. Many of the veterans at this venue gave very good advice right from the git-go ~ "sit tight, let it play out, and don't over react". I've not recovered, but on the other hand, I haven't wasted days/weeks of my life either. Glad I listened to them.

............................

walkman



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 2:29 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)


"Pull back" in this context appears to mean "reduce the scope" of Panda. It looks like they are improving the specificity [en.wikipedia.org] of the algo.

In other words, 2.2 will include a change that might return SOME sites to previous rankings. This is NOT a reversal of a penalty, it is a redefinition of the scope of competence of the algo.

You are missing the point, they have not taken in considerations the content changes. Just re-run the 'data,' whatever that means. So until they do that, it's a PENALTY. If a site was penalized for, say, too many tag pages and they removed them, they are not getting credit for it.

I feel for people who have devoted dozens or even hundreds of hours in an effort to restore their websites after the Panda slaughter. It looks like some or even much of that may have been in vain. Many of the veterans at this venue gave very good advice right from the git-go ~ "sit tight, let it play out, and don't over react". I've not recovered, but on the other hand, I haven't wasted days/weeks of my life either. Glad I listened to them.

My rule from now on: if Google makes Matt Cutts say it, it's a lie.

ascensions

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 3:24 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Without being to derogatory, what continues to surprise me is the slowness in response to what appears to be an obvious problem.

If it was just WebmasterWorld, I might say it's relativism, but I've read articles in NYT, and Washington Post indicating Google's problems with the Panda roll-out. That's what bothers me with "new" Google... The corporatism, and typical American business like failure to recognize and react to problems.

If Google engineers were NASA employees and Panda was Apollo 13, then Kevin Bacon would have died in space.

Please Google... don't kill Kevin Bacon.

WebFusion

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 3:30 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I can honestly say that after being in "business" with Google since 2003 (when an Adssense rep contacted me to add their ads to my site), and seeing lots of ups and downs, very little has changed. Create good, high-quality, unique content - promote it well, and eventually things even out.

I lost about 2/3 of our adsense income on April 11th, and our traffic took a significant dip as well, but the cream always rises to the top, and just as in prior years I'm confident our site will rise again. Sure, this is the biggest dip we've ever seen, but we're also not foolish enough to base our entire financial well-being on something (i.e. google traffic) that is completely out of our control. I learned the hard way (when a similar thing happened a few years ago) to bank 60-70% of our after-tax adsense income as a cushion for these eventualities.

We can ride this out. Hopefully, a few people suffering from Panda will take it as one to grow on and change their business model to do the same. When I read about people/companies talking about layoffs just days after Panda hit, I was actually somewhat surprised they would build their business on a house of cards like that.

My advice - keep doing what you're doing. If you create your own content, spend more time on it to make it truly stellar in quality. If you pay for content, don't go the lowball route (I pay roughly $180 for a 2000 word article these days - you get what you pay for).

As far as my SEO experience - I stick to the basics. Good quality pages that validate. I let the links come on their own.

falsepositive



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 3:33 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I feel for people who have devoted dozens or even hundreds of hours in an effort to restore their websites after the Panda slaughter. It looks like some or even much of that may have been in vain.


I've done a lot of work and still am in the midst of what may be a very long revamp. We never know what the future will bring. Any of these search engines can introduce a new formula that scores user metrics in the future. Or bring in social indicators. Who knows. I have changed my perspective to stop chasing money and start chasing users. The jaded among us will say it's a waste of time. I'm doing it for insurance and because I realized I was actually doing some things the wrong way...

As far as my SEO experience - I stick to the basics. Good quality pages that validate. I let the links come on their own.


I did a lot of proactive link building before, but am now more and more of the mind to just let things be. I prefer to work on my site anyway, rather than run after links. After Panda, I wondered how much of my link building efforts did in fact help me? Most of the links I got from huge quality sites were natural. The links I got by my own efforts were from smaller sites (peers in the niche).

walkman



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 3:40 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

If it was just WebmasterWorld, I might say it's relativism, but I've read articles in NYT, and Washington Post indicating Google's problems with the Panda roll-out. That's what bothers me with "new" Google... The corporatism, and typical American business like failure to recognize and react to problems.
@ascensions,
The delay is deliberate and it's mean spirited. There's no way a content farm could have fixed all their pages in a few months but a small store might have tightened descriptions, removed any duplicate but now they are suffering from Google's capricious attitude.

Google does this because it's not effecting their bottom line (at least not in a bad way.) Do you think the upper echelon would let them do this is revenue was down because of Panda? So they don't see a problem, we do but it's our problem.

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 3:48 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

PPC_Chris

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 3:51 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

My guess is that Google could run this new Panda algorithm at any time, which would effectively lift penalties (or the penalty-like element of Panda) for sites that have been hit. But they are choosing to wait a few months. This gives webmasters enough to time figure out what Google doesn't like about their site and to fix it.

Also, Google wants to stop sites from doing similar things in the future and laying the smackdown to sites for a few months sends a clear message to clean it up and keep it clean. If a site was doing something that Google considers an intentional effort to manipulate their search results, the best way to stop this behavior is to penalize the sites. If all a webmaster needed to do to get their penalty lifted was get rid of the manipulative behavior and they instantly would be back, what is the incentive to not try something similar in the future? Its like SEO moral hazard.

falsepositive



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 3:56 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

There’s one change that might affect sites and pull things back.

Operative word here is "might". They aren't promising that you'll be pulled back. They are assuming some sites will, but who knows what those sites are and why they are chosen? Would be interesting to analyze this new set when it happens.... Without improvements on a site you think that deserves fixing, then even Panda 2.2 may not make a difference.

I'm not holding my breath.

On another note, I've been sending a slew of spam complaints/reports to Google for keywords I find in my niche almost daily, complaining about scraping I find against my site and other sites I follow. I am hoping that some of these reports are actually making their way to actual eyeballs in the Google Spam team. I would encourage everyone to keep sending out spam reports where they see fit.

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 4:02 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.


Awesome. And when you get paid to swing that hammer you're always looking for another nail to hit, even when the job is done.

I'm seeing Panda going after duplicate content more strongly. I now have two less competitors to deal with and they both had great sites. What they also had was a small section of their pages that showed "content from around the web" in plain text. I feel pretty strongly that the duplicated paragraphs smelled like garbage to the Panda.

The wording being used by Matt and others has me feeling it's a borderline spam issue being dealt with by the ranking team instead of the spam team. To me that suggests a broader approach against paid links. Sites that sell links tend to "play nice" until they garner some initial PR and when they get it they copy articles in bulk to drive up their "offering" on link buying/selling sites. Panda might be trying to close that effect with making it harder to rank, more trust signals required, harsher penalties on dupe content etc. 12% of the internet was affected so this was no minor tweak, I can't think of anything else being as big a reason.

[edited by: Sgt_Kickaxe at 4:06 pm (utc) on Jun 8, 2011]

walkman



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 4:05 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

PPC_Chris, you are assuming that everything was an attempt to game Google. Something as simple as a bad search script that produces empty pages could have hurt many innocent pages. Even in game Google scenarios, Overstock.com was back after just 60 days. JC Penney in 90 days.

TheMadScientist

WebmasterWorld Senior Member themadscientist us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 4:06 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Serious MC spam team and quality team and Adsense team need to SIT DOWN TOGETHER AND TALK.

I'm sure they talk all the time, but think there's a language barrier:

The Quality Team Says: 'Good, good, good'
The Web Spam Team Says: 'Bad, bad, bad'
The AdSense Team Says: 'Money, money, money'

Personally, I think the languages they each speak present difficulties in cohesion, which ultimately hinders webmaster understanding of 'the rules' through to the non-uniformity of advice given by each team and it's specific agenda...

deadsea

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 5:01 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

What is the difference in responsibility between the webspam teams and the quality teams? Maybe the webspam team can only penalize sites and the quality team can only promote sites. Seems like an odd divide to me.

Atomic

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 5:11 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

@WebFusion

Thanks for that post. I could not agree more.

mrguy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 5:23 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am hoping that some of these reports are actually making their way to actual eyeballs in the Google Spam team. I would encourage everyone to keep sending out spam reports where they see fit.


Why should Google have to do their own job after all they have people doing it for free. Personally, when they start paying me as a consultant, I'll help them better their results so THEY can make more money.

PPC_Chris

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 5:38 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

walkman, I'm not saying that everything was an attempt to game Google. In fact, we were hit very hard and weren't trying to game Google. But clearly, thats what Google was going after in Panda... what they considered to be low quality content that existed for the sake of ranking in organic search. That doesn't mean there weren't a lot of others that got hit.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 5:45 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

My guess is that Google could run this new Panda algorithm at any time, which would effectively lift penalties (or the penalty-like element of Panda) for sites that have been hit.


maybe I am misunderstanding Panda. Or, maybe I am just misunderstanding the statement above.

I thought it was just a (significant) change to the algorithm. I don't understand the concept of it being "run." I believe Matt said that if you made changes to your site, then they would be noticed the next time your site was crawled by googlebot and the index changes would take place as they normally do.

am I missing something here?

(Maybe the quote meant that when Panda 2.2 is released the changes in the algorithm might reverse some of the effects of the prior changes in indexing?)

supercyberbob



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 6:14 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm loving it.

Google hasn't been transparent about Panda, and it looks like it's biting them in the butt.

Keep digging a deeper hole, and your stock price will sink more, Googletanic.

dazzlindonna

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 7:15 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

As far as I know, Planet13, Matt never said this: "that if you made changes to your site, then they would be noticed the next time your site was crawled by googlebot and the index changes would take place as they normally do." JohnMu implied that in a thread forum thread though he also mentioned that he was not necessarily referring to any particular update. Matt later said on Twitter that they don't run the Panda algo all the time, so putting all those pieces together went something like this: John said that in general, changes we make get noticed on the next update and possible serps return came if warranted, so we all assumed that would be the case with Panda as well. We assumed wrong (or John mislead us, intentionally or not). Matt's tweet let us know that they only "run" the Panda "stuff" (call it whatever you want) periodically. We don't know how often. Every few days? Weekly? Monthly? Every 3 months? Every year? Who knows... In addition, we know there have been a couple of new Panda rollouts since the first, but they seemed to only trap more sites, rather than re-evaluate the ones already snared. We are all waiting for that "re-evaluation" Panda to be run. Not sure it ever will be.

walkman



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 7:24 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I thought it was just a (significant) change to the algorithm. I don't understand the concept of it being "run." I believe Matt said that if you made changes to your site, then they would be noticed the next time your site was crawled by googlebot and the index changes would take place as they normally do.

They said that initially but it's clearly a lie, 3.5 months later. Nothing we can do about it, but at least let's not fall for their spin. Assuming he's not lying again, he said that there's something that might bring you back, but it's probably mission impossible for average sites.

edit: dazzlindonna, the google support forums suggested to remove 'bad' pages etc as that would help. But Matt clearly said that on 'Panda iterations' or whatever he called them sites would come back.

freejung

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 7:47 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I feel for people who have devoted dozens or even hundreds of hours in an effort to restore their websites after the Panda slaughter. It looks like some or even much of that may have been in vain.

That depends on what you did. I spent a couple of days redesigning layout to feature the content more prominently. I think the site is better for it regardless of Google.

I've always had a general rule of thumb about SEO-related modifications, particularly in response to Google algo updates: only make changes to your site that will improve your site in and of itself, regardless of Google's reaction to your changes. Otherwise you may very well be just wasting your time.

brinked

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 7:52 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Everything Matt Cutts has said here is not a surprise. They are working on improving panda and releasing a new update...this is something that should ALWAYS be done when releasing an algo change. Nothing is perfect on an initial release. The bones of any great software are making improvements and working out the bugs.

I am glad to hear they are working on the issue where scrapers are outranking the original article source. I do not care how poor quality content google views a given site, they have every right to rank first for there content no matter how crappy it may be.

At this point calling this a penalty or a re ranking is just semantics. Who cares what anyone calls it as long as you recover from it, correct?

I am not going to praise google for improving something they release...that is there duty as a quality company. It is what separates a great company from a not so good one. Google received a lot of feedback about panda and it is there job to look at that feedback and adjust to get it right which I am confident they will do.

walkman



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 7:54 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

@freejung
fine but think of people that could have started another site (working a site essentially banned from Google might not be a good idea,) fired some employees and maybe save the company, get a job and maybe save the family from bankruptcy, move to a smaller house, move with their parents and a million other things.
Misleading or outright lying to people is not nice at all.

But the message is clear: have dozens of sites, don't trust what Google says and don't don't depend on them, even though they have 65%-70% of the market.

rlange



 
Msg#: 4323314 posted 8:01 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

dazzlindonna wrote:
n addition, we know there have been a couple of new Panda rollouts since the first, but they seemed to only trap more sites, rather than re-evaluate the ones already snared. We are all waiting for that "re-evaluation" Panda to be run. Not sure it ever will be.

I've mentioned it before in another thread, but two of my company's websites were hit by Panda 2.0 and recovered with Panda 2.1 with no changes to the sites themselves.

Also, in yet another thread, I pointed out that the website for the company itself lost 50% of its traffic back in March and, starting Monday, seems to have gained back a significant portion of that traffic—numbers-wise, anyway. The new traffic is from the same country as the traffic that was lost, but it's to a different section of the site.

I'd say some re-evaluations have occurred since the original Panda was unleashed, but I can't make any sense of the results over here...

--
Ryan

This 238 message thread spans 8 pages: 238 ( [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 > >
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