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Feel Like a Panda Pinata - playing "guess what google is doing"
coachm




msg:4333097
 2:54 pm on Jun 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Since I've put in more than 15 years building my websites for my business, I'm still hesitant to pack it all in, which is what I'd like to do.

What gets me is the degree to which I now HAVE to write for Google, when all along, I've been writing for visitors. When most of my longer articles receive NO referrals from google and the shorter, or even ezinearticles does better (there's only a few from there from the early days, what else is there but to guess, try, guess.

I notice Google announced a platform on which to host mobile sites. Cool, I thought, although my sites function pretty well in mobile devices. Then, Um. If I duplicate my site there for mobile, then I'll have duplicates of all my sites.

Or will I?

Another. My books are published and sold through various ways. So, it makes sense, that since I get royalties from my books, that I'd link to amazon, where they are sold. But wait. Am I being penalized because I have two links that look like affiliate links to my OWN books?

So how AM I supposed to link to my books in a way that makes it most convenient for people to buy?

No idea.

I don't see how anyone can run a business over time by trying to "guess" what's supposed to be done. I'm afraid that while Google may really want to provide the best search results, I say again that there is a point where the lack of information is going to drive businesses elsewhere.

Got a call last week from adwords rep soliciting, and I put them off due to time. Today I realized I won't give them a penny to add another guessing game from Google.

I'll go to Facebook before I use adwords again.

Closing down another site today. Decided to completely suspend new web content development on all sites. Content may be king but if nobody reads it who IS the court jester.

 

Reno




msg:4338101
 7:49 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google's mistake was not doing it sooner. It wouldn't have been as painful had they acted sooner.

Google's mistake was not announcing 6 to 9 months in advance of the first Panda release that a substantial change would be coming within the year; that the change could very possibly lower website traffic by significant amounts for people depending on Google SERPs; and that the fundamental criteria for the change would be "quality".

Finally, to make it abundantly clear what they intended, they should have provided a clear and unambiguous definition of "quality" so everyone would know the rules that Google is now playing by.

Instead, as walkman correctly pointed out, Google continued with their stupid FUD policy which allows them to "call /classify anything high or low quality". Given the impact that Google has on the income for tens of thousands of households, this level of communication was not asking too much ~ the fact that they refused to provide any advanced headsup or quality definition guidelines speaks volumes.

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

walkman




msg:4338103
 7:53 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think Google is practicing tough love. They're forcing sites to grow up or get out. It will take substantial, actual improvement to regain lost traffic. It won't come back because the wizard behind the curtain throws a switch. At least I hope not because I like what I'm seeing. Google's mistake was not doing it sooner. It wouldn't have been as painful had they acted sooner.
That's your opinion and I'm not going to go back and forth about false positives, degrees of traffic loss etc etc. Ironically Google lost users after Panda. I'm not going to call it proof that SERPS got worse but it beats a few people's opinion, no? If I were to use your logic I might've said that Google lost users because my site was demoted. Obviously that's ridiculous so let's not use too broad generalities.

One site of mine was Pandalized but at least three of my other sites gained. Obviously I know them very well and what quality they are, so I chuckle at the notion of "quality" and "substantial, actual improvement." Just looked at the raw-log size and looks like today might be a record traffic day for them.

What it is, what they say it is, and what it should be, are very different things.

Edited to add: We see many cheesy scrapers outranking original sites. I guess the scraper "grow up" as sites and won the ranking war.

netmeg




msg:4338106
 8:00 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Four sites does not a sample make. I'm not even entirely disagreeing with you, but even my just-under-300-sites isn't a large enough sample to draw any firm conclusions one way or the other.

Atomic




msg:4338118
 8:23 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

call /classify anything high or low quality

That's Google's right. It's how I would do it. It's probably how you would do it. There's probably no other way to do it. Google didn't need to warn people they were going to take out the garbage. A lot of site owners should have known better and never polluted the web with it in the first place.

Ironically Google lost users after Panda. I'm not going to call it proof that SERPS got worse but it beats a few people's opinion, no? If I were to use your logic I might've said that Google lost users because my site was demoted. Obviously that's ridiculous so let's not use too broad generalities.

You're right. It's way over the ridiculous line. I think Google has a much better chance of retaining or even adding users because of Panada in the long run. I think Google's lost a little sliver of the user pie recently because of competition from Bing. I think Google's SERPs have improved dramatically. No, they're not perfect. No one should expect that.

whatson




msg:4338121
 8:28 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Walkman, if you only have 1 site panda'd and the other 3 improved, were you able to identify some differences between them?

What about you netmeg? Did you find any common similarities between your sites that were panda'd?

Reno




msg:4338124
 8:37 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google didn't need to warn people

With power and wealth comes responsibility. Google wants all the glory and bonuses but, apparently, sees no reason to provide guidelines that could have made a huge difference to the millions of small siteowners that depended on them to help pay the bills.

Re your comment about "garbage", everyone here who was struck down by the Panda cancer should find it offensive. Did Panda remove many garbage sites? No doubt. Did it also kill many many good sites? No doubt. Google destroyed the village to save the village. Shame on Google for their indifference ~ my deepest hope is they get what they deserve.

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

whatson




msg:4338129
 8:45 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google should, Google shouldnt, whatever, they DID. So deal with it, and be proactive finding a solution. Go with the grain.

walkman




msg:4338132
 9:02 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Walkman, if you only have 1 site panda'd and the other 3 improved, were you able to identify some differences between them?
Different niche but they are the opposite of what Google says that Panda should reward.

If I had to guess: Google has surrendered, they can't tell jack anymore so they are the easy way out: brand$ and demoting indefinitely by as much as 90% traffic even sites that seem like bad ones based on whatever criteria Google set. Today is someone else's site, tomorrow might be yours, Google has done that many times before. Some will argue that Google can do whatever it wants to, including mass demotions based on flimsy signals, since it's their index. Maybe, but we don't have to believe their propaganda and should treat them based on their actions.

Obviously we should also work so such a careless corporation doesn't have the same search market share it has, to limit the damage they can inflict. It's easy to say "don't use us, block us with robots.txt" now that they got 70%-95% of market share while screaming "don't do evil."

Atomic




msg:4338136
 9:06 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Some will argue that Google can do whatever it wants to, including mass demotions based on flimsy signals

Flimsy? And they still got it so right? You're welcome to your opinion.

supercyberbob




msg:4338137
 9:18 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Quite the bold statements going on in these here parts.

Right, wrong, garbage, perfect sites, etc.

Sounds a little too black and white. Oh wait, we haven't really figured out Panda yet have we? mmmkay.

Atomic




msg:4338146
 9:31 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Oh wait, we haven't really figured out Panda yet have we? mmmkay.

Perhaps not. But I was only reporting on what I've seen with my own eyes. That's clearly opinion. At least I admit to it. And I stand by my opinion of what garbage is and isn't. There are obviously going to be sites I could never decide on one way or another. I just have yet to see one.

But that's my guess as to part of what Panda is. It knows how people evaluate sites and how they act on those evaluations. If this is true, you can disagree with these evaluations until you're blue in the face but it won't do you any good.

Just another opinion. Nothing more.

dataguy




msg:4338149
 9:36 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Ok, we're coming up on 5 months of this and maybe I've reached the 'acceptance' stage of grief. Finally.

Somewhere here at WW I read someone's words that Google has decided that the old business model is no longer valid. I've made a lot of money off of the old business model, and I would have been a fool not to jump into it wholeheartedly. Years ago I read discussions about how the Google-sends-me-traffic, Google-sends-me-advertisements, Google-sends-me-money business plan was not a legitimate business plan. I've earned millions of reasons to the contrary over the years, but perhaps the time has come to move on.

I've learned so much about AJAX and HTML5 in the past few months, I'm now excited to sit at my computer again to write code. I'm ready to start working on my next business model, and it's going to have as little connection to Google as possible.

This thread has already gone off track several times (not that I mind) but it seems like a good place to drop this note. Good luck to you who are content playing the role of the Panda Pinata, I hope you can get your sites to recover. I'm not pinning my future on Google mysteriously changing its mind again about my site.

whatson




msg:4338155
 9:49 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

At this stage I am fairly certain that with the right resources and budget I could un-panda a site, as I am sure a lot of us also feel. However, from all that work, it is probably only 10% that makes the difference, the problem is you don't know what 10%.

Oh, and the other question would be when would it be un-panda'd. This makes it especially hard, as you do not know whether the work you are doing is actually paying off.

MrSavage




msg:4338171
 10:59 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've had my previous rantings so I'm feeling rather refreshed.

I can report this, and sure some of this might, and I say might be part of the season, but it's not. A site that was at a level of multiple thousands vistors per day, yesterday recorded below 200. Think that's fun? It's not my livelihood tied up in that site, but that should be an indicator of what's going on out there in terms of organic traffic. Wow, less than 200 uniques vs. multiple thousands just about 2 months ago. In fact just now I had to go back and look at my stats to confirm sub 200 uniques and yes it's true for 2 days now.

I have been wondering this. Google says this new algo affects 12% of the searches. So that 12% of the site owners complaining and really if it's only 12% then like gas, this will soon pass.

I'm really wondering though if it's the subject of your niche or website. As in, did the technology sector (which I follow) get slammed the most? It would appear in that sector the likes of Amazon, CNET, ZTNET, Slashgear, Engadget, etc could potentially wipe the wannabees off the face of the earth. Quality and trust you want? How could you go against Wikipedia anything?

I think I have probably as much or more experience at dealing with multiple penalties with no apparent theme, ties, pattern or anything. Just like a bomb and trying to figure out what happened. It's why guess about Panda is just that. Fix your site to fix it, but to think there is a Panda playbook or penalty resolution center, I have yet to hear of one.

So this thread, what is Google doing? They are hopefully doing this for the good of the web. Is this is temporary and people clean up their sites, code and weak pages, it may be for the better. It may make their overall searches better. So I'm doing that where possible. Trim and prune and that's that. If Google is essentially creating an environment where people have to tidy up, I don't see that as bad. I preface that though with seeing the good sites who were not CNET, still being able to get organic traffic as before.

On a side note, anyone bothered to see the post Panda traffic of Wikipedia, Amazon, Engadget, CNET, etc? I'm so curious how happy they might be right at this time. Again, it's the area of the internet I look at and perhaps you are looking at a completely different side of the internet which looks pretty much normal. My side is far from normal right now.

johnhh




msg:4338174
 11:03 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Obviously I know them very well and what quality they are, so I chuckle at the notion of "quality" and "substantial, actual improvement." Just looked at the raw-log size and looks like today might be a record traffic day for them.

same here - ratio of income today rubbish site:flagship site =5:1, and I am honest enough to say they are rubbish sites.

Yep - I could spend many more hours and months attempting to kill the Panada, but I am not going to pander (LOL) to the Google tune anymore , I have some nice new projects to work on - so they will get my attention now.

Atomic




msg:4338184
 11:24 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

So that 12% of the site owners complaining

That isn't close to being true! A lot of huge content farms are included and they probably make up the lion's share of that number. I won't guess exactly how much, but we all know how big those sites are. So c'mon!

MrSavage




msg:4338189
 11:35 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

@Atomic, I'm just referencing the number mentioned by Matt Cutts. How they get that number or how accurate it is I have absolutely no clue, and that's an understatement. Perhaps on their part it's an indisputable number because it's impossible to quantify?

Atomic




msg:4338190
 11:37 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

And, like I said, you know how big some of those players are that got hit. So again I plead for realism rather than ridiculous exaggeration.

Freedom




msg:4338192
 11:40 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

My wife was up half the night, crying and in a panic because we might lose our house because of Panda. We have quality sites, with long content and bibliographies, but since I am not the "Wal Mart" of my field, I guess I'm scum.

I wish I knew where the bottom was in all this.

Does anyone else anticipate any more major Panda like updates? If so, I'm just going to quit it all.

If I knew where the bottom is, I could say, okay, that's the point I have to rebuild from. If it's bottomless and more and more updates are coming, then I see no way out and I am done.

johnhh




msg:4338199
 11:58 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

@freedom you can play guess the Panda. but your more immediate concern is to cut your cost base as fast as possible. Even move to cheaper hosting. You need to sit down down (quietly) and work the numbers.
I anticipate more updates, that may go either way for specific sites, as Panda "learns". It is a new era, and us old timers may be hung out to dry. I do wonder how much a corporation can take without saying opps...

MrSavage




msg:4338202
 12:05 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

@Freedom I sincerely hope that somehow, someway it turns around. I think everyone here should read your comments there. I think compassion is key in the Panda discussions or opinions. It's real, all too real.

Reno




msg:4338205
 12:09 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

So this thread, what is Google doing? They are hopefully doing this for the good of the web.

Please, MrSavage, please ~ Google is not doing anything for anyone's good, except for the good of their major stockholders. As I said in a previous posting, they are in the same league of Exxon, Monsanto, GE, et al and as such, their single minded goal is to keep their financiers happy. The only difference between Google and the others is those companies did not have the very brilliant stroke of PR genius to say "do no evil". If Exxon had said that, they would have been quickly forgiven for killing much of the wildlife in Prince William Sound; if Monsanto had said that, farmers in India would not have committed suicide because of the impact of genetically modified seeds.

Sorry, I don't buy it now and did not buy it then. When someone says they are only working for the good of all, watch out. It's like going to a used car dealer called "Honest Abe" ~ you better check to make sure he's not running tractor grease in the crankcase.

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

MrSavage




msg:4338206
 12:16 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well if that's truly the case and truly the motivation then to say it bluntly, Google is screwed then. There are far too many governments and watchdogs to allow the search to become a convenient arm of a corporation which manipulates things to feed itself with it's other arms. This is why I can't believe this situation is permanent. I say this because if Microsoft had an OS and that was the big threat at one time, then how do you scale that against having an algorithm that you control which can turn the lights out on an entire section of the internet which may or may not be the "competition"?

walkman




msg:4338216
 12:41 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)


Does anyone else anticipate any more major Panda like updates? If so, I'm just going to quit it all.

If I knew where the bottom is, I could say, okay, that's the point I have to rebuild from. If it's bottomless and more and more updates are coming, then I see no way out and I am done.
Sadly I thought bottom was on 2/24 but since then I have lost every update. The only thing that's keeping me afloat are a few sites that everyone would have said don't bother with. So I am luckily paying my bills, but this year that's not enough.

Google is lying through their teeth, let's tell how it is. They lied when they said "deleting your pages will help you improve your ranking..." they almost certainly lied when they said "no manual exceptions" (Cult of mac, LabNol, Android Police) and then gave some idiotic guidelines that apply to eHow but not to 95% of hurt sites. Still no positive result. They are buying time so people eventually move on and buy their crap.

Sites that made changes just kept dropping, as much as 90%. It's impossible that my site got any worse, no matter what metric you use. I got a lot less pages which should boost the existing ones or at least not hurt them, but they aren't ranking well either. Bing alone, in July is beating Google.

But Panda has been a success, Google apparently took search spending share from Microsoft, meaning even more advertisers spent money on Google. Laugh or be mad at Google for all those crappy results, they are looking at their spreadsheets and are declaring it a success.

[nasdaq.com...]

Google Inc. (GOOG) is expected to post sharp gains in profit and sales when the Internet search giant reports second-quarter earnings after the market's close Thursday, in part on expected growing interest in its online advertising.
......
Jefferies & Co. analyst Youssef Squali told clients in a recent research note that while growth in spending on Google's paid search advertising likely " decelerated" in the second quarter, compared to the prior period, it is still expected to register as a percentage in the "low teens."

In addition, Squali noted that the prices paid for interaction with advertising on Google have continued to rise, particularly among advertisers in the finance and consumer-electronics industries.

MrSavage




msg:4338218
 12:55 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Very telling there and I appreciate the link.

If the trend continues I'll say this. There are currently about 3 things in life that you don't want corporate control over. Water, Food, and Oxygen. You could put electricity in there but if it all went away, we could survive without it. Sort of like our Panda sites. Just a slight change in lifestyle? Okay but I'm adding a 5th thing but this is too early to put in there. You can question it now, but I'm considering adding search algorithms. Government regulation please. Again, if things continue and these "prices paid for interaction with advertising on Google have continued to rise" stories keep coming out, then it fully supports what I'm getting at. Starvation theory 101.

[edited by: MrSavage at 12:55 am (utc) on Jul 12, 2011]

Whitey




msg:4338219
 12:55 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

and are declaring it a success

This is the bottom line. Improving search quality to me is a euphemism for driving advertisers to spend more on Google to survive. I'm seeing huge shifts of spend from where i sit with decisions to split from SEO by Panda effected big business'. Isn't that what Google wants?

Of course Panda was a commercially supported intiative and the product divisions, including search are just part of the big strategy. But why should we be surprised at that. The game at the SEO level is how to navigate through it, not to complain to Google about how it's been imposed on sites or the pain it's given business'. That's like fighting the Russian Army with a pea-shooter.

Best we focus on how to go forward with Google.

[edited by: Whitey at 1:03 am (utc) on Jul 12, 2011]

Freedom




msg:4338223
 12:56 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I agree with you about the outrageous lies they told. I had 2,000 word pages and bibliographies with 50+ sources. Not many webmasters can actually say they have bibliographies.

If there is more "down" to go, we're toast. It's over.

I think the days of the independent professional webmaster are obsolete, and it's the rise of irrelevant multi-million dollar websites via backdoor deals. Irrelevant websites with a page or two on the topic ranking higher than sites devoted to the topic, just because we didn't have a cozy deal in place.

netmeg




msg:4338224
 1:02 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

What about you netmeg? Did you find any common similarities between your sites that were panda'd?


None of my sites were pandalized.

Atomic




msg:4338226
 1:07 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

None of my sites were pandalized.

So, it's not over for you then?

netmeg




msg:4338228
 1:32 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Umm, no.

walkman




msg:4338229
 1:34 am on Jul 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Improving search quality to me is a euphemism for driving advertisers to spend more on Google to survive. I'm seeing huge shifts of spend from where i sit with decisions to split from SEO by Panda effected big business'. Isn't that what Google wants?

...Best we focus on how to go forward with Google.
Adwords account to become a "brand"? Ride the wave while you can I guess.

Imagine Larry going to the investor conference: "Sorry investors but we tried this new thing, it will be great eventually but we made a $ billion less this quarter." Yeah, like a $170 Billion corp will take such drastic moves in the dark without knowing how it will end for them.

So, it's not over for you then?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=958GzzqgWnw&feature=player_detailpage#t=56s
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