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|Is Panda actually the commercialization of the internet?|
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?
I try not to think too hard about motives of panda or even the direction of Google search since I get easily confused and depressed. I would like to relate one small success trying to come back from Panda.
I have many article pages. I also had what might be called executive summaries of these articles. The summaries were a couple of paragraphs of highlights often including some of the same sentences from the main article. The article pages were way down in the serps after panda. I used the canonical thing to point summaries back to main articles. Within two weeks I see in WMT positions jumping by even 10 and 20 slots - often bringing these pages back within the top 10. I've used canonical, noindex, robots, complete deletion of 1/3 of all pages and only these 8-10 articles have come back.
|But I haven't recovered or improved in any way, Google just takes a little more traffic away from my site every day... even though my site is MUCH better and cleaner than it was when I was first Pandalized on Feb 24. |
Who says you're going to recover? Or should? I've made the point here before that if Google offers penalties, and then immediately lifts them after a reinclusion request, then we are motivated to ride the algorithm. Get caught? Fix it and return to your regular rankings. Nope, if they' actively want to clean up their serps, then many penalties should be effectively permanent. Provides some motivation not to screw with them in the first place.
I think there's a very real likelihood that most panda sites won't recover in the very near future. Remember when Google dinged people with overuse of recips? How easy was that to recover from? Most didn't. Remember when Google greybarred blogs for selling links? How easy was that to recover from for those making a living selling links? Many didn't.
I offered a suggestion in the thread previously. Seems like nobody's really recovering, and everyone's waiting for the magic secret out of the box. I suggested that you and others might be better cutting your losses, taking a backup site and start rebuilding there.
And what did the Google non-fanboys do with my suggestions? Ignore it completely. Because they're still waiting for the 3 secret steps to recover their traffic. WHich I also suggested was folly.
Google's made it clear that this update was intended to clean up content farmers. If you got panda'd, they see your site as a content farm, whether they're right or not. Quit looking for the line so you can push it. Take your backup site, start fresh, and make sure you're so far over the line of not being a content farmer that you don't have to worry about it.
My suspicion is that some of the non-posters out there have already done this. A domain is worth $7.99,they've turfed it and moved on at this point.
Also, since Google isn't telling anyone specifically *why* they were pandalized, you can't know that you cleaned it up. Maybe it's one thing about your site, maybe it's 1000 things. Maybe it's a combination of things in ratio to each other; you might have cleaned up some stuff but the other factors are still out of whack. Or Google just decided they can't rank 60,000 mid level shoe stores or home improvement stores or tech blogs that are essentially all alike in the top 8 to ten results for a given search string.
|Then what's the point of this question: |
Is there a general consensus of which types of sites were Pandalised by the average webmaster here?
Good grief! I've stated my trade and retail widget sites have hardly been touched and, in fact, a new trade widget site is doing extremely well HOWEVER my trade widget directory site has been pandalised in the regular SERPs but not in the image results.
Is there any commonality with other sites or are they, in general, affiliates, scrapers, products which can be found on many different sites or something else?
There is absolutely no point in doing anything to any site unless one understands precisely what the Panda now expects...I've done that, I know what it is, I've proved it to myself, I'm not the one with the problem...for MY widgets.
Maybe it could be extrapolated across all sectors, maybe not.
maybe its just me but arent many people losing sight of the fact that this is machine learned? There is no one factor that can turn it for a pandalized site? that basically this could amount to automated hand edit? If google are deciding on a small set of seed sites isnt panda just automating what a human has decided the type of sites it wants to see? The checkmarks google appear to have made public such as would you trust this site with a credit card are very much as was previously coined, 'curb appeal'.For webmasters who grew up with the developing internet it runs against everything they are used to carrying in their ethos for building a content driven site in the non-social era. Its a whole new ball game. Commercialised internet? Perhaps but certainly a new era that has been defined by a small seed set that itself as i understand it is hand picked. So basiclaly we now have an index created in someone's image, its almost biblical in its implications.
I've heard enough theories bandied about here that seem credible to conclude that my site probably won't come back. I thought that early on, and I still think it's true today. Whatever the formula has been to cause the demotion, I'd be surprised if anything could be done to "bring it back" while still maintaining its current function and structure.
It's been my plan to spin off the ecommerce section of my site into its own site, but that was to be a year or more from now. Instead, I'm doing it now. I'm losing ad revenues from my current site, and losing online store sales. I might as well try to recover (and eventually increase) the online store sales.
I can't afford to wait to find out what causes Pandalization, if that can ever really be known.
I know you've been participating heavily in the threads about Panda, so I am amazed it doesn't seem to have sunk in yet. If there's one thing you can conclude about what people have been saying is that there is absolutely NO apparent common cause at a macro level. You're wasting your time even asking the question!
Ok folks, this is one of the papers that almost explains what is in play in Panda. It lines up with what I and several others had observed before about the drops being different for different keywords (if you remember, Suggy made a very recent observation on how the drops were more keyword specific).
More importantly there was a Google employee who almost told us about how it s important for site owners to improve bounce rate and CTR.
But what seem to be in play really is a predicted bounce rate used in measuring quality.
After reading it, let us discuss on how we could work on influencing this predicted bounce rate. If the moderators feel that this could be moved to another thread, it is fine.But let us go beyond the generic comments like "make it useful for users", etc.
The paper also seem to be giving us answers on why not all sites were affected by panda and why sites targeting a few keywords might never have been touched by Panda so far.
Though the paper talks about ads, it surely is in play for SERP results now.
[edited by: indyank at 2:35 pm (utc) on Jul 8, 2011]
@Dickbaker -- seriously? Would you be interested in selling it to me? Didn't think so! You've not really given up yet!
|But what seem to be in play really is a predicted bounce rate used in measuring quality. |
Yep. And, there's a research paper kicking about on how you can predict bounce rate pretty well with clickthrough rate discovered by SEO by the Sea. SO, CTR is likely to be very important.
And, it's helpful to substitute utility for quality. Because quality in search results is really about utility. Because quality results are the most useful, not the highest absolute quality. As said before, if I want to buy something your beautiful high quality content site is useless to me, however good; it's high quality but low utility for my search.
the content is used for arriving at the predicted bounce rate and note it is not the same as the real bounce rate that you see.
I have a feeling that Google has done such a thing and said said when Susan Moskwa posted the 'tips.' [webmasterworld.com...]
Ironically most people there don't see bounce rate as a fair measurement and it's absolutely true but if Google did it, it is so.
If Google took away 90% of traffic based on unreliable guesses, then we have a problem.
Anyway, I guess we can all try different things. They are ways to game it. Seeking PHP programmer ;)
Regarding 'advice' that people give: this is the internet and things such as Panda are all guesses--people don't even agree if anyone truly came back or not--so don't be surprised when people don't trash their 15 year old domains because a stranger said so on the internet. At least they shouldn't take it personally ;). There was a case when someone did that to someone on Google support forums: ...start fresh, scrap everything, maybe a get a new name, your content must suck...blah blah..this is Panda...is serious business, no one thing... Well, his traffic came back that same week. Not sure it was even Panda.
I just wanted to add a small note about Panda recovery even though this thread isn't about recovery, it's about Panda analysis.
With that said, take Panda recoveries with a grain of salt. Ask the important question. How long has your site traffic been back for? I say this because my website was hit, then for 6 days was right back to normal, only to fall even further than the intial drop. So my recovery was for 6 days only. The seventh day was the crusher.
In addition if people say they are doing better now, consider that it's not what they did, it's just that everyone around them took a bullet to a vital and are no longer "in the game".
so how many have recovered and dont even know it?
...funny episode i had a last week, I took over a site for a new client who was hit badly by Panda1. After a quick look at his stats it turns out he already recovered and he didnt realize it.
His traffic is compared to June 2010 up by 10%, he just forgot that his summer months ARE THAT bad compared to the rest of the year... I know we are all pro`s and that would never happend to us, but the human brain tends to forget fast, so maybe you dont fare so bad after all... ;)
I suspect that any who have actually "recovered" from Panda by some specific change or method of operation will not be completely forthcoming... Why tell others "what worked" and then have to deal with all those following in their footsteps? Most likely they'll keep mum... I WOULD.
True tangor, or possibly test resistance to a few minor strategies they know to be true and see what the reaction is. If they immediately get cut-off or pounced on then they would probably just say to themselves, bah, it won't be worth the hassle. I would too.
|so how many have recovered and dont even know it? |
How about an e-commerce business that lost 20% on the date of Panda 1.0 and didn't know it? Turns out their remaining traffic converted so well that revenues were steady. They apparently lost poorly targeted traffic.
I would certainly hope that if there was some Panda recoveries that people would be decent enough to at least say hey, there is hope. Spilling the beans on how isn't the key. It's just the knowing that is has happened or is happening more frequently is hope enough to a lot of people. I would probably need to hear of a few stories from regulars before I'm truly convinced. Of course I'm looking for hope in all this! Did I forget to mention that?
On the subject though of Panda and algo tweaks, I'm realizing one thing. This whole internet thing is getting WAY too big. Think about it. It's becoming a tangled web (no pun intended) of self interest and properties. Sure everything operates independently, but algo tweaks are telling me it's beyond powerful. For me Panda and the ramifications thus far says the attitude of "it's their search engine and they can do as they please" is a very dated mindset. People didn't say "it's Microsoft's OS and they can do as they please". But think of the OS situation as a drop in the ocean in comparison to dependence on the internet. The web is becoming a beast.
I only bring this up because I've been reading about Google Plus and the FB stare down. If you think about adding +1's or FB likes into an algo it becomes a bit suspect. It could. Afterall you could say that a +1 has the same value in the algo as a FB like. But so what? But what if the algo only picks up the +1's or just adds an ever slightly better value to them? I can tell you though, I don't give a rats A about FB likes when there are Google +1 buttons to put up. Afterall, who holds my fate in their hand? I need to do as much brown nosing as possible right? The fact is nobody can say whether both or none of the likes or +1's are part of the algo. I could easily say that as things heat up or if there is a sudden shift in popularity that the good intentions might wane a bit. I'm going a bit "conspiracy theory" here, but hey, people said lots of things about Microsoft in the past and guess what? I'm sure some of their practices were self serving. To say it can't happen is a bit weak, especially when you look at the growing stakes of the internet.
I know, I know, Google isn't about that. I believe that still, I'm trying hard, but if the organic trend and Google results continue this trend of big sites, my trust will surely begin to erode. That's me though.
Back in the Wild West Days (meaning "frontier") of the internet all the users, webmasters, and search engines were working out the kinks... getting the beast saddled so it could be rode. Then came the testing of the beast and how to direct and command it... and all worked together. Then came the entrepreneur, the range boss, the baron of industry (opening shots were Alta Vista and Yahoo) and these led to more refinements... and STILL at that time, all were working together, sharing everything, what worked, what didn't.
Then Google introduced the Black Box of Advertising Magic---the Lodestone of "Free Money"---and let that percolate for a few years (about seven) as grip and control grew... sharing SOME of the secrets of "How To Become Rich" to those with no access to the secrets of the Black Box. And then, Last February, an algo is introduced... with a cuddly name like Panda and Everything Changes.
The Black Box remains as mysterious as ever but this time around there are no helpful hints, no suggestions, no promises of "Free Money"... the campaign has succeeded: The Lure Of Wealth remains, but only for those willing to Pay To Play.
Unless those out there have already (and wisely) made every effort to not be subservient to the Black Box which remains as Mysterious as ever.
Diversification has generally served best in all business models: reliance on ONE revenue stream is fraught with Peril with a capital "P" as many have discovered Post Panda. I am neither a fan of Google or an adversary, but I am a business person who's been at it more than 40 years in Entertainment, Service, B&M, and Enterprise. Utter reliance on ONE SOURCE is dangerous if success is intended.
And... what works for me I might suggest in GENERAL TERMS, but I will not---at any time!---provide specifics on what worked for me. I have enough competition without arming them with the same weapons I use to get ahead.
Panda is, and remains, an uncertainty. There is no CLEAR rhyme or reason for what happened to millions of websites, though some generalities can be drawn and those will be chased and discussed, as they should be, for some time to come. I personally do not believe there is a magic bullet that will penetrate the Google Black Box as Currently Operated... Keep after it, of course, but also don't hold breath... get involved in diversification of source (users/income) and go from there.
The "inventors" of the internet might not have had commercial goals in mind, but there is no doubt that ANY HUMAN ACTIVITY has always gone commercial, so YES THIS IS THE COMMERCIALIZATION OF THE INTERNET... and we've been doing that since day one, either one at a time or, as is now most obvious, as a megacorp named Google, or Bing or Yahoo, or (take your pick).
And the Panda has obliterated the Commercialization of the Internet by webmasters who have been buying cars, houses, getting married and putting kids through school for the last ten years...
Panda, and this is my opinion only, is the next step in advertising, just as the print industry went through their "newspapers" then "pulps" then "paperback books"... a general industry of PRINTING which in its Wild West Days anyone with a bit of spit and a few dollars could get involved... and make a some return for a period of time, BEFORE THE NEXT LEVEL... Panda is the Next Level. We are entering that period where some will become MAINSTREAM INTERNET and the rest will be VANITY INTERNET. There will always be GOVERNMENT INTERNET.
The medium is growing up, and as all previous technologies have gone, there was a Wild West, a Maturity, then a Corporate Management where BIG BUCKS are in play. We are on the cusp of the latter.
Lots of insight there and your experience speaks volumes.
If Panda is indeed this move, then the the powers that be must realize the conflicts that arise from algo changes. When you can cut off a water supply to 95% of the population, yet have a "pay for water" service waiting in the wings, there is and should certainly be scrutiny. How could there not be?
I think this appears, as of July 8, 2011, an indirect attack on organic traffic. I say right now that Panda is a crock only because even a pea brain like me could tell you that the most spam free results only need be the big sites. That's it. Put those on page 1 and page 2, and you have your clean, pure, well written, trust with your new born, type of website.
It's pretty simple. A tweak of an algo, what changes? If you control the algo, and in that change, do other revenues in another areas of your company spike? Like with Panda, if it's the deterioration of organic traffic, what benefits are there to the company that tweaked the algo? Results (Adwords revenues as an example) don't lie. It would be too obvious and not the intent I'm sure of Panda. It's engineers who seek purity in search results. Correct? But if the guys over there did something that helped me in another department make more money, I don't think I'm going to spank the guys over there tweaking the algo.
|This whole internet thing is getting WAY too big. |
That is a critical observation - and one of the challenges that Google, Bing and all of us website workers need to take in and deal with as best we can. It's a factor that makes 2011 so very different, even from 2006.
Looks like Google is doing major updates 2X a month, maybe both are Panda, maybe one.
Anyway, there was a update this week and Google has moved one more major step toward favoring big brand$, at least on some searches. IMO, this will get worse as Google's margins are squeezed, search has matured, but they need to show 15-20% growth year to year to keep their stock alive. Larry tried telling Wall Street to f-off in his first news conference as CEO, but it didn't work well so he had to redo it [webmasterworld.com...]
Favoring big brands, how much to do it and what expense to relevance is a conscious decision, someone sits down and writes that into the algo or on the process that leads to the algo. Considering how major changes in SERPS don't cause them to lose or gain much market share, shows that they have plenty of room to play with them.
|and what expense to relevance is a conscious decision |
That's an astute direction to probe. I wonder what metrics Google would use to monitor this area - would they be usage, or would the start with the relevance score spit out by the existing algo. I'm guessing they would push it and watch user metrics.
In fact, I don't think their relevance algo is all that good since Caffeine. It seems to have slipped under a flood of newly available URLs. Before Caffeine, relevance seemed to be getting highly tuned, especially with the combination of query intention being matched with the page's document classification.
Maybe the calculation goes "a miss from a big brand site is more easily forgiven than a miss from a SME." Even so, I would expect any major misses to get weeded out over time.
@Suggy, I'm going to use the existing site to transfer as much traffic as possible to the new ecommerce site. If Bing and Yahoo continue to send traffic for the site's other purposes, that's great. If not, I hope I'll have been wise enough with the ecomm site to make it search engine-proof.
I have no idea what Google wants, so I have no idea what to do with the couple thousand pages of mine that completely tanked. I could spend a year re-doing them, trying to see what works, or I can continue with my pre-Panda game plan, which was to go 100% ecommerce anyway.
Now, back to the topic at hand. In my niche, the big national brick-and-mortar retailers with big online stores are almost nowhere to be found in the search results. The fairly large established online retailers are ranking very well, as are some medium to smaller retailers. I don't know why the big stores don't dominate my niche as they do others.
Their is hope. Think about bounce rate. Think about your customers (visitors). Be proud and aloud and don't cry in your beer.
People who say that the Internet is Google are very narrow minded in my opinion.
I can get on the net, do a whole lot of different things and not once ever visit Google or any of their properties.
The Internet might be Google to those who are just blinded or in love with Google, but there are many, many things you can do on the Internet that don't need Google's input.
While I've learned to live with Google and their egotistical ways, I've also branched out into other areas and if Google went dark tomorrow, my world would go on and not end like those who think Google's the Internet.
@mrguy I'm with you 100% on that ideal. I think the Panda lesson thus far to me is that people trusted too much in Google. I think though, well I'll speak to my own situation, that Google was the source of customers. A restaurant owner depends on the economy. I depended on the Google economy. The real economy has indicators of failing. Google and this change in direction? Sure to some who are on the pulse of Google knew of the complaints about their results, but for the everyday person out there, waking up to a completely different economy was a bit hard to predict. My fault? People tell me it's my fault for depending on traffic from the search that at one time, had 90% of the market in some countries.
Let's be honest though everyone's online business is run differently. There are variables to everything. I'm going back to my hope that Panda isn't the end or gradual end of organic traffic. If it is, those folks lucky enough to be in niches where bigger enterprises have no interest see Panda as no big deal. Generally if you're immune to what the other guy has, your concern pretty much doesn't exist for that other guy. I say most, but not all.
If Panda is meant to raise the bar, then ok. Let me fix, and then reinclude me. If Panda is ultimately meant to raise the bar to such an extreme level that in common subjects only the giants exist, then I will move on with some projects. I will though at that point, hope that governing bodies will look at the effects, both positive and negative to a company that has their hands in many pies. When an algo tweak sets up a web ripe for increasing and self induced need for ads to get website traffic, then Houston, I think we have a problem here. I see it, but perhaps I'm being a bit more opened minded to the possibilities. Either that or I'm really bored at work. Not sure which.
MrSavage, I've seen Panda, Florida and so many Google changes that take out a couple small fish. Learn and adapt to our ever changing world.
[edited by: tedster at 1:42 am (utc) on Jul 10, 2011]
This discussion is stuck and going nowhere, so I'm locking the thread. If anyone has something new to say, drop me line.
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