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Is Panda actually the commercialization of the internet?

 3:00 am on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's not easy to get a thread started here but I will try.

This is an analysis on what you think Panda really is. Afterall, we've all read what Google thinks Panda is or should be. And if you take that at face value, they are indicating something a bit scary. This isn't a bash thread. This is an evaluation thread or an outlook thread. You optimistic? You giving up? You think a new era has begun and your means of free traffic is over?

I'm trying to condense this is a compact post as possible. Some disagree but for me, on the surface and from what I've seen so far, the reaching implication of Panda are beyond what some people are willing to accept. But let me try.

In the world, all things are commercialized. Few exceptions but let's say that whatever there is out there, it eventually get squashed, incorporated and then the dollar is the only motivation.

Let's take Panda. Based on the criteria of websites and based on what I see and have been reading about search results in Google, it's about the big sites. If Google put CNET, offical sites, Wikipedia, Amazon, and a few others on the first page or two of results, then the goal of spam free and top notch quality results would be attained.

For my field, I see this pattern of sites. Certainly sites that can crush me like a bug. Beyond comparison. It's like the guy washing dishes asking the daughter of the president out for a date. It's that far fetched.

Some people here go on and on about how we are complaining about drops in free traffic. Perhaps Google now shares your view. Perhaps they feel that the commercialization of the internet (or their search) is just better for everyone. It's like they have said listen, enough with the free loaders. We don't need you guys anymore. If you aren't popular, aren't deep, aren't updating daily, then you aren't catching a sniff of what you used to get in traffic from us. Sure, there will be people saying they are still getting traffic. Great, but understand one thing. If your niche field gets popular and gets covered on bigger sites, the Panda way appears to be that you are going to get swamped and dropped into the ditch where you rightfully belong your freeloader.

So really, what I'm asking is, does Google Panda spell the end of free traffic. We can enjoy crumbs in a few niche markets, but when certain areas you cover become popular, you are going to sink like a rock. Is Google Panda really just Google saying enough with the guys making money online getting free traffic from our engine and who are beating us at the game and who are providing useless blogs and websites. That's what I'm feeling. Moving forward I'm feeling that it's a change in Google philosophy. Under their new criteria I ask how the hell you are going to compete with big sites. I hope my outlook changes on this and that the index gets filled with more variety than what I'm seeing now.

Right now, for what I care about and write about, I see big sites, pro staff, pro writers, thousands of followers, huge budgets, and on and on. And on that level, mission accomplished according to Panda. Therefore, why should I sit here and expect things to turn around?

I'm upset at the stories about people completely screwed by this algo change. It's very upsetting to me. At this stage of the game, Google needed to understand just how deeply people's lives were relying on their search engine. They have disregarded a lot of individuals and have not done a lot currently to offer hope or guidance. Sure a few crumbs, but where are all the turn around stories then?

I've said this. If we learn what Panda wants, then our sites get back in. Then what? Google has the same scum (I'm scum because free traffic something I rely on) getting into the top rankings. Isn't that what they didn't want? Or is Panda so smart that they will keep ahead for the first time in history of the spammers, the freeloaders and the people who's job it is to get that traffic that they ultimately provide.

Back to my point about commercialization. It's about nothing being free in this world. If you're getting something free it won't last. The internet was supposed to be the last frontier of freedom from that world. You can't compete in the marketplace ultimately with Walmart unless you have a bigger budget or you have some small niche that they don't give a crap about. Sounds a lot like Google's Panda direction. It's what I see, not in what they are so much saying. The proof is in the pudding. But if Walmart started selling what you're selling guess what? You're essentially dead in the water. On Google an idiot like me actually might outrank Walmart. That was then but what about now? I can outrank Amazon? How? Their value is in content, followers, size, reputation etc. That's what Panda wants right? Amazon and not some site that is not even a drop in the Amazon ocean of content.

I'm out. Not forever, but I'm in a serious state of transition and confusion. My next move? I have no idea. Am I alone on that feeling? The way Panda is going, are you trashing your online strategy, waiting it out or what?



 7:07 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

That is the harsh reality and I am now absolutely determined to redress that issue, by being truly remarkable.

Exactly. You don't get a reward just for showing up. Or at least, it's a lot less likely.

I have no regrets about doing what I did with the site because I know it's fantastic and many people have told me so. That's all the proof I need.

It's unfortunate that that is all the proof you need, because it's the ones who aren't telling you that you need to be paying attention to.

[edited by: netmeg at 7:08 pm (utc) on Jul 5, 2011]


 7:08 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

For me, Panda delivers one message loud and clear - that SEO alone is not a business plan. For a few years there, it looked like it might be.


 7:14 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

No need to over-analyze. Google Panda is simply a defensive strategy by Google to de-emphasize sites that aggregate content. Why would Google do this, as it is essentially a site that aggregates content (especially Google News, etc.)? Because it wants to be the one and only. The more people visit Google News to read the various articles across the net, the more opportunity it has to make money. Content farming sites take away from Google's bottom line; so Google sends out a strong message... "Bow."

[edited by: csargent at 7:28 pm (utc) on Jul 5, 2011]


 7:18 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld csargent :)

And while I'm bowing, with them behind me, I'm telling them to eat my speedo.


 7:30 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

^ I'll gladly take the -50 karma points in exchange for freedom of expression :p


 8:37 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I agree with Tedster, SEO alone is toast and probably signals the end to many, many businesses. With SEO I mean the hope to be found if you have a very good product or site, not fooling google. If you have an info site that you and your wife can manage and all of the sudden you 10X the traffic you just pocket the cash.

But if you are a store you have to hire people to fill those orders. When traffic crashes 80% down, what's going to happen to those employees after week one...month three...? So you hold on and then let go most since nothing can makeup for the same margins. When you come back up for a month, what do you? It all depends how far Google goes into brands, eventually brands will sell everything since when they see that they do well in search they'll add stuff. So unless you have handcrafted stuff, it's just a matter of time. Are people going to remember your site 4 months later when Amazon, BestBuy, Walmart etc blanket the web with ads?

I say you're toast if you need month to month to do well. if you have a good month and can live for an entire year on it, then it's totally different. The biggest danger is Google consolidating traffic to the top sites, for all searches.


 8:57 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Exactly. You don't get a reward just for showing up. Or at least, it's a lot less likely.

Which is exactly what was happening with SEO pre-Panda. You could be mediocre from a user's perspective and still make money, because there was no proper feedback mechanism in Google's ranking. For us, SEO hid the fundamental weakness of our proposition. We spent so much effort trying to just show up and 'belong' rather than be remarkable.


 9:09 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

@suggy I have to say you fit the Google ideal. Mediocre is pretty damn subjective isn't it? Useful is pretty much subjective isn't it?

The ironic part of what you're saying is that people made money with crap sites that didn't belong where they were. The ironic part is what? That people clicked their ads. If they sucked so bad would people bother to click an ad or just click back to the search results? So if that site sucks, how did they make money? Oh hang on, maybe the site sucked in your opinion, but for the other 80% they found it just fine. It's contradictory what you're saying. If my site sucks, then people wouldn't be on it long enough to click a link to Amazon or click another ad somewhere. If you're making money, you're doing something right. That's how the world works. If you suck, you make no money. Make sense? So really don't say these sites suck if they were making money. People obviously read enough on the sites to see something worth clicking.

A proper feddback mechanism in Google's ranking? So you mean a perfect world is where you send all your surfing habits and behaviors to Google (free of charge of course) and then they can compile it into this amazing brain? I think the answer is the Chrome browser right?

SEO is about being smarter than the next guy. You can't say SEO is all about crappy sites getting traffic they don't deserve. Most people use SEO so that engines and people find their sites that they spend time and effort on. Make money? Sure. Didn't Adsense create the platform for all this to take place? You bet it did.


 9:26 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)


Are you angry? You come across as really angry in this thread!

Listen, you can make money and still suck... or was Mahalo the best thing ever? And how about Demand Media -- seriously, you would mourn their demise?

C'mon to say that your site can't be mediocre cos' you made money is nonsense -- considered the millions of MFA examples out there. 90% are junk and make (pocket) money.

And, I think most here are familiar with the term slippery site (as opposed to sticky). Those sites are just designed to give the user a quick way to "get out of here" that also pays the webmaster.

Consider this, if I SEO a site that pulls 1,000,000 monthly uniques and makes me 200k / year, does that site suck? We'll yes, it probably does if other sites in the niche pulling half that traffic make 10 times more money!

Your argument just doesn't hold water.


 10:04 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sorry if I'm sounding angry. Passion sometimes gets in the way I must confess. I hope you won't confuse that as being a lack of respect to you or anyone else here. If it's becoming a shtick I'll try to tone that down.

I say and will always say what's useful to me may not be useful to you. A site may have amateurish design, but to those less educated on such things it would be just fine. But if you are an artist perhaps it's so foul to you that you would want that site ranked down. Sure it might have great content but you think it's ugly.

For most SEO is about being smart. If Panda is the way it is, then being smart doesn't really matter. What matters is whether you have the staff and resources to build a monstrosity website. I see that having great content etc is the key to Panda which is great. It's a wonderful ideal.

What Panda says to me right now, is that Google is saying they had it all wrong for all these years. They are saying that their search was so broken that they needed to completely overhaul and completely turn it upside down. They are saying that their search has become so diseased that it needed to be flushed out. Not some of it, but for the most part all of it. To me Panda is like Google flushing the toilet on thousands of websites that at one point, they like enough to put on their page 1 ranking. So they are saying, or should I say apologizing to everyone using their search, that the results are poor and that they did a bad job. That the results have become essentially wrong. Is that an about face? In my opinion, it's one of the biggest about faces in history. And this coming from a company that enjoys 75% or more of the searchers on the planet?

I'm simply suggesting that the need for such a shakeup seems misguided. I haven't been reading headlines in papers about people turning away from Google search. I haven't seen headlines saying Google search was taken over by spam. It's so very strange to be told for years that you're doing a great job, to suddenly being fired because you're not going a great job. Which do you believe? You didn't change how you were working so what happened to the years of being told you're doing a great job? Is it that you were actually lousy but nobody had the guts to tell you? Essentially with what's happened Google is saying they enjoyed your site in their index but now it's not really needed. It's your site in their index when people used Google that made people satisfied. What they gained in usage was a result of finding our websites at the top of their rankings. So what happened? Google had it wrong for all these years? No, because people used their search at a bizarre 80%+ market share. That means people liked the results they were dishing out. So why then are they so paranoid about their results? I don't get it myself. Turning everything on its head makes no sense to me. Usage might have slipped slightly but did it warrant a completely new economy?


 10:22 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's your site in their index when people used Google that made people satisfied. What they gained in usage was a result of finding our websites at the top of their rankings. So what happened? Google had it wrong for all these years? No, because people used their search at a bizarre 80%+ market share

Has been pointed out before and usually brings the "but now it's different." After 4 months of Panda Google hasn't gained jack on Bing (I think it even lost) so if we use Google logic, users can't tell the difference or it's a not a big enough difference. Based on these 'signals' Google probably crushed entire sites with 70% traffic drops. Pandalize panda, Google ;).

Anyway, the change is there for a reason and that reason is decided by Google. What suggy says makes perfect sense. Let's say that you make a living this year and the next. What about the next year...or the next five? When you are working for yourself you miss a lot on networking and aren't as marketable when you need a job. They are exceptions of course but it's true for the most part. Plan ahead.

So start planning a future without Google, they have their own agenda. They can use any excuse (or none) to do whatever they want, promote certain sector sites, demote others and it's safe to say that a Google bean counter is keeping track, a company that size manages almost everything.


 10:31 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I can pin point this now.

Google has told us for years what the best websites were. Afterall page 1 meant something right? Usually reserved for the best and or brightest. They build a huge brand on those quality results.

Now after all those years of building our trust, not just webmasters, they are with Panda saying this.

They are saying trust us now. These are the new best sites that you wanted. We had it all wrong before. Trust us now folks! We won't change our mind again we promise!

Google gained the searchers trust and we rewarded Google with our business for years and years. It's because we liked what we saw. Panda says oops. Our results were actually really quite bad and now you can trust that we are going to show you the best websites on the internet for your search inquiries.

So for me, it all boils down to this. Google may change from what it appears to be now and this could be meaningless ranting. However, what I'm saying is correct. Google results to me, have shaken my trust in the brand. I have self interest, but in general terms, if the results needed to be tweaked to this extent, then I'm a fool for liking Google so much over the years. It just so happens that I think Google got it wrong this time. Obviously the story isn't over.

You're trying to tell me that your trust in Google is the same now as it was pre Panda? You are of the belief that your great article will be found and ranked well if it's well done? Really? I'll be overly impressed if those gems get noticed in the post Panda era. I will be the first to offer my apology to Google in what I've said lately. If I'm wrong, I'll be the first one to admit it. It would be nice though to hear something hopeful from Google other than trust us. You make great content and you will actually rank well in the coming months would be something encouraging to all of us.

[edited by: MrSavage at 10:34 pm (utc) on Jul 5, 2011]


 10:33 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Using panda as a signal that SEO is dead is a bit overboard. There's lots of sites out there unaffected by Panda. Lots of webmasters didn't notice there was an update. The serps didn't change radically in many instances either.

There was an awful lot of weak sites that got hit. So maybe panda signalled the end of weak/easy SEO. But SEO dead? People have been claiming this for many years - every time there's an update IIRC.


 10:40 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

@wheel I would be part of the group on both ends. Some massive, some not massive at all. However, the ground is shaking and I'm sadly expecting those great sites to show a 75% drop in an instant. Not today, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week. My faith is gone, possibly for good.

Sites that don't get hit by Panda? My opinion is those that don't have any real competition and that are somewhere above thin content. So sure there are areas out there, but for how long? What I see so far, is that the giant sites toppled everyone out of certain subjects. By the same logic, if your niche somehow catches on to more mainstream, you're most likely buried forever. Of course not unless you've got yourself a lot of time, resources, money and daily content to compete with Walmart, Microsoft, Amazon, CNET, Wikipedia, etc. by the time the tidal wave comes. It's best to describe it as a tidal wave because I've been one of "those guys" deeply affected by Panda. No the site didn't suck and 100% of comments were along the lines of "great site", "love your updates", etc. The site has been pruned to a point where there is no more that I can possibly do with it.


 11:30 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

There was an awful lot of weak sites that got hit. So maybe panda signalled the end of weak/easy SEO.

I wish that was the case. I would have made way more money than last year if my 'SEO-ed' site had doubled or tripled like my simple sites did. But that's another story.

My advice (grain of salt):

  • Don't trust Google when they say this and that. They are a corporations with short term, medium and long term interests.

  • Don't depend on them because they have their own agenda (I bet many sites that didn't add the +1 buttons will lose traffic soon, for example, since those that promoted it will gain)

  • If you have a decent site to satisfy users, and find a loophole in Google's algo, exploit like there's no tomorrow. No one will care years later when you complain about being broke due to an algo change: "But I never bought links /FB Likes /Twitter followers or added a few extra keywords." Your competitor might be retired by that time.

  • Don't automatically trust Google or others when they say "Google got it right (this time) so your site must really suck." Look how many times they have 'gotten it right' and even do a blind test with Bing and see. Obviously seek to improve your site as much as you can.
  • tedster

     12:35 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

    I haven't seen headlines saying Google search was taken over by spam.

    There was a growing voice for more than a year - and from the mainstream press. They specifically mentioned the content farm style of website.

    I discussed this with other industry people at professional groups, in conferences and so on. And during the Wired.com interview at the TED conference [wired.com], Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal were as straight as they could be about it:

    Wired.com: What was the purpose?

    Singhal: So we did Caffeine [a major update that improved Google's indexing process] in late 2009. Our index grew so quickly, and we were just crawling at a much faster speed. When that happened, we basically got a lot of good fresh content, and some not so good. The problem had shifted from random gibberish, which the spam team had nicely taken care of, into somewhat more like written prose. But the content was shallow.

    Matt Cutts: It was like, "What's the bare minimum that I can do that's not spam?" It sort of fell between our respective groups. And then we decided, okay, we've got to come together and figure out how to address this.

    The professional media had noticed the problem. Google had noticed they were right. We may not like what they did about it, but Google didn't spend more than a year reacting to a boogey man.


     1:55 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

    The professional media had noticed the problem. Google had noticed they were right. We may not like what they did about it, but Google didn't spend more than a year reacting to a boogey man.

    Personally I don't like the drop a nuclear weapon and don't worry about it. If USA dropped a few nukes in Karachi, I'm positive the number of Taliban would decrease, but...

    Google cares about PR (PUBLIC RELATIONS) and that's about it. The mainstream media (rightfully) and smaller players like DuckDuckgo and Blekko complained about spam articles being #1,2 and 3...and 7 so they Google in a knee jerk fashion took action against them with a very wide margin of error. Especially Blekko and DuckDuckGo made a fool out of Google in the small engineer community so Google acted.
    No such luck when DuckDuckGo mentioned personalization, apparently that's worth way too much money for Google. Matt Cutts went as far as saying Google provides you a choice, all you have to do is type &pws or so at the end of the search string!

    They have shown not to care about innocent sites maybe because no one is writing in Washington Post or NYT about it and when they do Google justifies with "content farms". A few very popular blogs (Cult of Mac, Labnol and Android Police) with tens and tens of thousands of followers were miraculously brought back after complaining widely on Twitter and media...others didn't have that luck. IMO Google are scared to death that eHow etc will come back so they let pretty much everyone caught with them suffer. For how long, we don't know but apparently Google cares about bad press more.

    If one took a truly unanimous poll of Google search engineers, how would many would answer "HUH?' when asked if they worry about false positives in Panda?


     1:58 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Did anyone ever read Peaks and Valleys by Spencer Johnson, MD? Right now we are in a valley due to Panda, and thinking the worst, i.e. SEO is dead. My main industry is travel, and for my site that was Pandalized it is the likes of Expedia that are taking over the positions. But my competitors were not caught by the Panda, so they are still healthy as ever.

    It is the mega corporations that had the resources and finances in the first place to make their sites into what Google loves. You don't hear about employees of Huffington Post employing Filipinos to re-hash content from competitors' sites. They have independent journalists writing first hand.
    Most of us cannot compete on that scale. Which leaves us to find our own niches.

    For example Expedia may have much better information, photos and resources on hotels for a city, but it has very little on things like weather, jobs, entertainment, facts, etc. on the city. Fine hotels is the main money term, but there is still some of the pie left for a functioning profiting site.
    And sure there are weather sites, jobs sites, etc too. But you need to find your own unique spin on it all.

    Although Panda is really hurting me financially right now, I think it has likely produced a better Google. We just really need to work hard on our sites and turn them into the resources that Google wants, that visitors are looking for. The easy days are gone.

    And as for SEO being dead, this is just a ridiculous statement. All that is happened is there are some more additions to the traditional SEO that we know, i.e. site quality. You job title has changed from Search Engine Optimizer to Web Strategist.


     2:10 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Huff Post is really, really a bad example ;). But in my niche it isn't Expedia and I can honestly say that many of my pages are about the same or much better than a lot of those ranking. I have a very limited site, I can edit and change everything in a couple of weeks. So everyone speaks from their own experience.

    Do I deserve to be #1 or 2 or #3 for this and that? Nope, but on the other hand I can't understand or rationalize the drop that Google gave me. Bing sent me 30% more visitors than Google today (not counting Yahoo) and I doubt smoke came out of their servers.

    Expedia may have great info--overall--but if Google makes them rank higher because of who they are, many better sites for certain cities for example will be pushed down. For the record, I am questioning Google's ability to judge 'quality.' They can judge what site is bigger, has more revenue, more employees, more links, FB likes, spends more on advertising...or whatever but judging page quality is another monster.

    If I do the same as they do, use signals, it's clear that Panda failed or at least didn't improve anything.

    edit: Peaks and Valleys by Spencer Johnson I don't think SEO or easy money is dead at all becuase I know what sites are ranking. That's I laugh when koolaid drinkers get into all these theories how the site deserved it because maybe I didn't have my phone number on top of the page ;)


     2:20 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Fine, ignore the example, but maintain the idea. Anyway, this is an algorithm, none the less. I don't believe they have some safe list of large corporations which I think is what some people here are speculating. Even some public companies got hammered too anyway.
    The algo is still new and will require a lot of refining I am sure, but I guess they feel that they have refined enough to a level where their SERPs are better than previously.


     2:25 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

    @tedster I appreciate the details. I should have specified that I mean mainstream media who report on things like business, economies, stock values etc. I didn't read about Google experiencing widespread issues that bothered the everyday folk who actually got mad at Google and switched to Bing. They are steady. They are solid. A desperate company does something like Panda.

    Obviously the engineers are or were miffed that bottom feeders or these content farms got into their search. But so miffed that they said let's throw out the baby with the bath water. Conscious? Easily justify the collateral damage as those thin sites that were tricking the system and giving people free traffic volumes to the extent they could make a living. Free loaders? Not a lot of concern there. In fact a few folks here support the notion that hey, you're relying on free traffic so really your feelings or importance in the world is nil. That's the good 'ol corporate philosophy.

    However, look at this change realistically. Take my site. It was doing just nicely long before Caffine came around. So the fact that my site gets zero (relatively speaking) from Google right now says what about Panda? This wasn't one of those targeted sites. It wasn't one of those sites that did anything that should or would warrant this type of penalty. So at that point in Googleland, my site according to them was pretty damn good. But now, July 2011, my site is horrible and can't be found on the same search engine that held it in such high regard 1 year ago. That's pretty interesting. That's a noble story of going after the bad guy? People can still sit here and say yes the internet is a better place we just have to adapt and things will be fine. I wish and hope that I wake up and see my traffic back. Recall though, I was teased for 5 glorious days with my traffic back only to have it taken away and dumped even further than that first Panda attack.

    So no, I don't think this was noble and I don't think based on my site as one example, that Panda had been great. It's been silence from Google. I take that a disregard for webmasters all across the globe. Regarding websites and traffic I cannot think of anything worse than inconsistent. Being thought of as great one day, doing only normal site updates, but then being told you suck and don't belong on page one anymore. Well guess what? People flocked to Google because of sites like mine showing up on page one of Google. Google didn't get the brand they have today by showing Wikipedia, Amazon, CNET, Endgadget, Expedia, Slashgear, Youtube, etc on their page 1 results. If they started back then doing this now, the Google brand would be what? They apparently would have been putting the cart before the horse. Now people are saying it was bound to happen yadda yadda yadda. Like now it's okay for the commercialization because it's just putting the cart behind the horse just like it was meant to be. Yuck.

    So to me it's a big fail by Google and the Panda team. Give us some hope and let's here those success stories. Let's start hearing that those sites that were once considered page 1, start showing up on page 1 again. I have had faith in Google and the Matt Cutts of Google but please offer a crumb of hope here.


     2:39 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

    I have had faith in Google and the Matt Cutts of Google but please offer a crumb of hope here.

    It's not Matt Cutts, this is search quality team, a different department.

    Whatson, to judge Panda I am going to use 'user satisfaction,' ala Google. They lost search share after Panda, so Panda is a failure, since users must not have liked it. Who cares about ifs and buts, and everyone says that their site got better :)


     2:53 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Maybe this is just Google's "New Coke", lets hope so.


     4:22 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

    According to the interview, Panda fell in between the responsibilities of Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts, so they collaborated.


     5:43 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Speak of the devil and the devil may come:

    [bbc.co.uk ]


     6:15 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Here is another thought after much thought over the past few days regarding Google Panda and what it appears to mean. I'm only basing this opinion of the search results from Google today and the fact that they have said nothing publically nor have we heard about stories of the collateral damage site being "restored".

    What's obvious is this. Google created the ecosystem of virtually the entire internet. This is the case and will be the case until Bing or other competition become a lot closer to equal for market dominance.

    With one foul swooop, they have turned those money making websites (I will say most and of course not all) that relied on rankings and free traffic into lumps of coal. With Panda, the current state of the internet is that those interesting websites got turfed. Simple as that. Sure even the quality sites that made money and had smart owners who knew the importance of SEO elements were on page one. What was once considered by Google as a great result, is now viewed as total trash and belongs in a pit where nobody can find it on their search engine.

    So, what am I really saying? I'm saying that the one option, the one incredible vested interest that Google has and has always had is...Adwords. Just fast forward, should nothing change in the serps, everyone is faced with pay to play. They control their search, can cause a complete collapse of your business yet through you a life preserver to get your business back. It's too slick and surely this wasn't the intent of Panda. However, the longer this goes, it's obvious that businesses etc are faced with going into Adwords. See, they create the problem and the rules and have the perfect solution to fix it. It just so happens that it's owned by the same entity.

    It's like one company is big enough to bottle all the fresh water on earth. They buy all the water sources on earth. Oh, so you've got no water to drink now? No problem. We have the solution for you! We can sell the water to you and you can thrive once again.

    As of July 6, 2011 I don't think I can sum it up much better than that. Starve the people of food and them come along and say here, I've got this food, just pay me for it thanks. Again, surely this isn't the intent of Google because I've trusted them and they are built on trust. It's just unfortunate that when we don't know what's going on and only have evidence to look at today, it leaves me no other theory. Other than to think the light gets turned back on for those sites that absolutely did NOT deserve a penalty and were only guilty of having a nice juicy ranking on Google. That was the only sin of many of us.


     7:28 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Adwords. Just fast forward, should nothing change in the serps, everyone is faced with pay to play...

    If that were the case, then it would make more sense for google to exclude the BIG CORPORATION sites from the SERPs, since they are the ones who are capable of paying up some serious dollars - not the little guys. Why should google try to squeeze nickels out of a bunch of small fish who may be in financial peril anyway? Makes more sense to go after the deep pockets, in my humble opinion.

    And if sites like wikipedia and nobleprize etc., DO own all the top spots in the SERPs, then that is further proof that SEO is very much alive and kicking. Maybe they exist, but I don't ever remember seeing an adwords ad for wikipedia or nobleprize.

    It just means that SEO has been redefined. SEO now consists of "just do whatever wikipedia is doing to get top rankings and forget all the other stuff."


     7:37 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Not speaking particularly about YOUR site (because I don't know it and I don't want to know it) but just because a site ranked before doesn't mean it necessarily was a great result pre-Panda - it could just as likely mean that Google hadn't developed the technology to spot and categorize it yet.

    Things change. It's the nature of business. I live outside Detroit, and everyone here thought the auto industry would go on like it always had forever and ever - until suddenly it didn't. Michigan is practically a disaster zone now. Same thing is happening with mainstream media and news sites, who thought the same print business model would work on the internet - until it didn't. Some of these industries will gain back, but it won't be the same as it was before; the manufacturing/union jobs that we once had will never ever come back, and the pre-Panda way of doing things won't either. This is the world we live in today, even if we want to be nice and not say so in so many words lest we seem lacking in compassion or respect.

    Google didn't create this ecosystem alone. They had a lot of help from the users, many of whom (I'd even say most of whom) are still happy with Google today. And no small amount of assistance from webmasters too.

    If driving organics to AdWords were the only thing Google had on their minds, then Wikipedia would probably be demoted to page two tomorrow.

    I don't have sites that were demoted by Panda, but I do have sites that didn't rank particularly well before Panda and are about the same now. I don't expect them to do well because I haven't had time to devote to making them the best they could be - authority sites that would stand out from the others in their niche, and serve up what the users really want. (Not what I think they want, or what I think they should want, but what they actually want) I'm evaluating them one by one, and the ones where I think I can put forth something really special I will keep, and the others I will probably take down or sell off to someone who can.

    You don't have to be a huge corporation or throw a lot of money around or be a big national brand to succeed in search, really you don't. All my clients are small businesses (except the university) with anywhere from 1 to 50 employees. But you do need to try to be the biggest fish in your little pond. The authority. The brand.

    Because that's what's called for in a post-Panda world.

    [edited by: netmeg at 7:41 pm (utc) on Jul 6, 2011]


     7:41 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Other than to think the light gets turned back on for those sites that absolutely did NOT deserve a penalty and were only guilty of having a nice juicy ranking on Google. That was the only sin of many of us.

    With all due respect, deserve has got nothing to do with this.

    Both before and after Panda, I saw sites both small and large that were way down on pages 3 through 10 that were absolutely brilliant. These sites should have been in the top 5 SERPs listings.

    Did they DESERVE to be there? Absolutely not.

    The only promise that google ever made that actually mattered was to their stockholders, and that promise was, "Like any corporation, we will try to make as much money as possible for our shareholders."

    That's what corporations do. That is capitalism in all its splendid glory. To do otherwise would be irresponsible to their "family."

    For example; I sell products. I need to sell the products that my customers want.

    If my customers don't want a particular product, then I can't keep stocking that product just to be fair to the vendor who sells it to me.

    I have to get the products my customers want - even if it means dumping the vendors / manufacturers of products that customers no longer want.

    If I didn't do that, it would be irresponsible to my family, who depend on my income.


     8:07 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Like any corporation, we will try to make as much money as possible for our shareholders

    Actually no, that was their secondary focus. From words within their own share prospectus:

    ...In fact, Google warned prospective shareholders of that intention in 2004, saying in their IPO letter that "new investors will fully share in Google's long-term economic future but will have little ability to influence its strategic decisions through their voting rights."... [news.cnet.com...]


    Listen you bunch of leeches, you're only going to get some of this money because by law there is no way around it. But don't you think for one minute that we want to hear a word from you about how we should sail this ship. Is that understood? Yes, good. Now go cash your cheques and don't bother us because even if you do we won't have any published phone numbers for you to reach us anyway.


     8:11 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

    That's what corporations do. That is capitalism in all its splendid glory. To do otherwise would be irresponsible to their "family."

    Families share in visions and responsibilities, not exclude them from participating.

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