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Are backlinks from pandalised websites devalued?

 9:29 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Much of the discussion about panda has been focussed around on the page factors that the algorithm looks for. Is there any consensus about how backlinks, specifically from pandalised websites, can affect another's ranking?

Are backlinks from pandalised websites devalued? Could that explain at least some of the false positives we're seeing?



 1:29 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

There has been some conjecture that this might be happening, but I haven't seen any convincing data to support it. There certainly isn't any consensus on the topic.


 1:36 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

And it would be very difficult to go through all your backlinks to find sites that have been hit. What made me think this is that on one affected site I know, it's as if it's back to where it ranked 6-12 months ago. Some pages do very well, others are nowhere to be seen.


 1:48 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Theoretically speaking the backlinks from panda sites are probably worth less. I am not saying they will pass less link juice. I am thinking that a site hit by panda probably has less traffic and therefore less referrals are being sent through the links to your site.


 2:33 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Theoretically speaking the backlinks from panda sites are probably worth less. I am not saying they will pass less link juice. I am thinking that a site hit by panda probably has less traffic and therefore less referrals are being sent through the links to your site.

Definitely seeing that. One client was not touched by Panda, but the industry directory with his listing (that sends us a lot of traffic) was pretty much wiped out.


 4:48 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

All the client requests for help we're seeing have link profiles that could have caused issues any time really lol....I just think Google is more and more refining an attack on aver anchor text abuse. They've stated the next big update will drastically change the way they view links, so I imagine something along those lines is in the works.


 10:43 am on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

This is also my theory, lost backlinks.

I mentioned this in another Panda thread, but no-one answered my post.

Around a third of my pages have lost their cache:

I get his message.

"Your search (ETC.) Did not match any documents" when I click on the cache link for pages within my site.

I believe this means I have also lost around a third of my internal backlinks.

When I then do the same exercise for other sites that link to me, I get similar stats.

In short, a huge amount of pages are still indexed in Google (title tags, desciption tags, urls only) but no content cached, so I guess the links that were counted from those pages are no longer being counted.

My site has not plumeted, just lost 4 or 5 places per page, again suggesting there is no penalty, more that I have lost some of the gains this year from incresed backlinks.

I hope that in time, these pages will be re-cached and links counted again, but I do wonder why it is taking such a long time or it could be that removing the cache of a page is the penalty.

I still wait to see.

almighty monkey

 10:50 am on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

One new client of mine saw a big drop around Panda time, (Hence them coming to us) and I can't see any onsite reason for it. The backlink profile was all spam.

Might just of been a good old fashioned spam slapping, but it was a damn big coincidence if so.


 2:15 pm on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Also you should not forget that post Panda many webmasters have tried to delete low quality pages from their website. If you had many links from that type of page then you probably will see a significant loss of backlinks.

One specific example of this would be the free article websites. For years webmasters have been submitting free articles that had links embedded in the articles pointing back to their websites. Some article websites took a big Panda hit and decided to delete all pages with low amounts of content.

Another example would be ROS links. Imagine a blog with over 10,000 pages and you had a ROS link. If that blogger was worried about Panda they might deindex a large amount of duplicate content and poor quality pages taking their 10k pages down to under 1k pages. That would mean alot fewer backlinks coming to your sites from that ROS link.

Let us remember that link quantity is not the most important factor in backlinks. Google has become very sophisticated and looks at quality and relevancy factors. Even if you see backlink counts dropping because of Panda it might not be a terrible thing.


 2:37 pm on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

I remember a Googler (Moultano on hacker news? or Matt Cutts?) saying something like "we are going to push an alogrithmic change which will significantly change how we look at links".

This was days before panda. Does anyone remember the source?


 3:33 pm on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

@linkbuildr - For the last while I've been trying to work out if my site has been pandalised or hit with a backlink over optimisation penalty. Where did you read that statement about looking at links differently?

@almighty monkey - When did your client's rankings get hit? Ours was 24/25th June.

@goodroi - Your point seems to be that Panda is affecting the number of links as low quality page are being deleted. But what is your opinion on the links remaining on pandalised domains? Do you think that they carry less weight? Is it logical to assume that if a domain is pandalised then links from it are less powerful?


 4:08 pm on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

@andy_boyd see my original message

Google has incorporated usage data into its algo. So losing referral traffic can be a significant issue.


 1:52 pm on Jul 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

@andyboyd [news.ycombinator.com...] is the one who said it, and I quote

"Some really dramatic changes to how we use links are on the way. (Sorry I can't say anything more specific. This is a really sensitive area.)"


 8:35 pm on Jul 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the link & quote @linkbuildr :)


 10:08 pm on Jul 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Are backlinks from pandalised websites devalued?

I fail to see how they could be valued as they were prior. If your competitors were utilizing the thin scraper type of sites that got hammered back in Feb to boost their link profiles (press releases, etc.), and those competitors got hammered in a similar fashion in Feb ... that looks like a pretty clear cut case to me.

(This is assuming that you've controlled for/taken into account all other factors -- ex: their sites are otherwise equivalent to your own except for link profiles.)


 10:41 pm on Jul 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

@jakegotmail - even though the panda score is supposedly an element in the overall algo, I'm similarly minded that links from pandalised domains carry less weight (kinda like a feedback loop... if that makes sense).


 11:11 pm on Jul 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

I look at it this way - if Google has implemented such a fundamental algo addition in the guise of Panda that looks at the "quality" of the website and then in effect massively demotes the power of the website to rank in Google's index then it would be a huge oversight to not then de-value the power of the links from that website.

If you are saying that this website no longer deserves to get rankings in our search engine then by default any links that pass from that website MUST NOT deserve to be treated with the full "power".

We talk all the time about getting "quality" links from "authority" sources - if Panda suddenly makes you a non-authority then the links you pass will no longer pass authority. Surely that is link building 101?

You can no longer measure cause and effect because of the wide ranging effects of Panda - and maybe that is why. Panda is affecting not just content but also links.

I have said it from day one - if Panda is integrated into the algo then it has to factor into "trust" and "authority" - it is just logical.

I mean we all accept that we don't see the "real" page rank - and that it's not just pagerank it's other factors that affect the quality of the link. So why the big leap to seeing Panda quality score integrated into link strength.

It's bizarre to ignore Panda effects on links yet say there are fuzzy things like the "authority" of the link you have got - that all PR 5 links aren't equal etc.

If we accept that there is more to links than raw pagerank then we must be open to the idea that the biggest algo change in years might be an influence.

[edited by: Swanson at 11:18 pm (utc) on Jul 18, 2011]


 11:16 pm on Jul 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think it quite possibly might effect it somewhat. There is likely still value there, but less. Perhaps something like if you have a link on a PR4 page that has pandalized, then it may only be the same as a non-Panda'd PR2.
The is entirely speculation, and just my own thoughts, again like others, I have nothing to support this and haven't seen any evidence. I was just thinking if I was Google, what would I do?

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