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Google Updates and SERP Changes - Sep 2011
indyank




msg:4356621
 9:47 am on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

< continued from: [webmasterworld.com...] >

There were declines for hubpages after the initial traffic improvements. But 23 aug seem to have reversed the downward trend and they are almost back to pre-panda levels. Sub-domain strategy is proving to be fruitful for this large content farm. This might help the other larger content farms to recover as well.But it might not help the mid and small sized sites and they will remain hurt. Here is why I feel that way.

Hubpages are creating sub domains at the user level and not at the topic level. I am noticing several of their current top ranking pages are from users who post on a variety of topics. This beats the theory that panda is favoring topic focused sites.But what surprises me is the upward movement of some low quality pages from poor quality writers. I have examples of such sub domains which I cannot share here.

So what is really helping them? As I understand it, the move to sub domains are helping them beat the panda's sitewide penalty. This suggests that the sitewide drag enforced by the google panda algorithm is very strong.

But why will this subdomain strategy help only the large content farms and not the smaller ones?

The relatively smaller and mid sized sites can branch off to only a fewer sub domains, in comparison to what the bigger content farms could. Hubpages have now created a large number of subdomains. I am guessing that the panda algo isn't applied to several of them. The smaller sizes of these new sub domains are probably helping them keep a distance from the panda evaluation.

If other bigger content farms intend trying the sub domain strategy, they should follow the hubpages model as it is and create sub domains based on useror any other unitthat will lower the number of pages per sub domain.

I guess that this will be relatively difficult for mid and smaller sized sites, as the number of authors will be less and hence pages per author will be high enough to be trapped by the panda net.

[edited by: tedster at 9:55 pm (utc) on Sep 2, 2011]

 

indyank




msg:4356625
 10:04 am on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

The strength of the sitewide drag depends on the quality score. This algo is probably evaluating signals from a sample number of pages in a site, for the "google quality factors". When the quality score for the evaluated sample is moderate, the corresponding site wide drag will be moderate ad if it is poor the site wide drag will be stronger.

Splitting to sub domains with fewer pages is probably limiting this damage.

Zivush




msg:4356992
 5:40 am on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

Indyank,
Thank you for your prompt response.
I agree with your assumption about subdomains - It sounds reasonable.
For 'a less than 2000 pages' site it probably wouldn't work unless one splits the site to 20 subdomains.
What an evil algorithm. It gives content farms a way out while high quality sites are still trapped in the Panda net.
Great Google!

Based on the 'quality score' you have mentioned, deleting poor content pages from a site could help.
But many implemented this and haven't escaped the Panda.
I think Panda 'quality score' is more of a 'traffic score' the more traffic you have before Panda, the worse the damage.

indyank




msg:4356998
 6:38 am on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

Based on the 'quality score' you have mentioned, deleting poor content pages from a site could help.


No I am not saying that deleting poor quality pages will always help. We never know all the signals they use and the sample pages they choose to evaluate, to arrive at the overall quality score for a site. Many site owners are deleting what they think are poor quality pages. But they may not always be right.

[edited by: indyank at 7:29 am (utc) on Aug 31, 2011]

indyank




msg:4356999
 6:57 am on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

My understanding is this - Google uses keywords as the primary unit (starting point) for applying panda. A certain percentage of the top traffic driving keywords are picked and sites with pages that rank high for those keywords are evaluated.

I also think that they might or might not be evaluating the page that pulls in the traffic. But they certainly pull a few other pages from the site (domain), either randomly or based on some relativeness criteria, and evaluate signals emanating from those pages.A quality score is computed and a site wide drag is applied to all pages on the site. The strength of this drag is determined by the quality score.

When you break a site into several smaller sub domains, they would probably evaluate a small sample of pages from the sub domain that hosts the traffic driving page. If the site happens to have good content for pages within that sub domain, pages within that sub domain have higher chances to recover. Even if you have some low quality pages on that sub domain, a quality score is determined for that sub domain and the damage is limited to that sub domain.

At the same time, there might be other sub domains which wouldn't be evaluated at all as they don't have pages for the traffic driving keywords that panda uses as a trigger. Since pages have moved to their new sub domains, they will have newer URLs and panda might not evaluate such sub domains and their pages for quality. However, they start getting the pre-panda traffic, as all other page strengths are transferred through the 301 redirect.

[edited by: indyank at 7:33 am (utc) on Aug 31, 2011]

indyank




msg:4357001
 7:02 am on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

That google isn't evaluating all sites on the web or all pages on a site for the "Google quality rules" is a fact.

indyank




msg:4357002
 7:13 am on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

Though what I had explained above is my theory on why hubpages is recovering, there probably couldn't be any other genuine reason for the recovery.There isn't anything else done to address the real quality concerns flagged by panda.

How else can just breaking a site into sub domains, turn them into good quality in the eyes of google algos?

[edited by: indyank at 7:35 am (utc) on Aug 31, 2011]

indyank




msg:4357006
 7:22 am on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

For 'a less than 2000 pages' site it probably wouldn't work unless one splits the site to 20 subdomains.


It could even be that you need to break it further and not just sub domains with 100 pages each.

claaarky




msg:4357009
 7:54 am on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't see the sub domain solution being a long term one.

As indyank says, hubpages haven't addressed the underlying issue of quality which means spammers can replicate this idea with a scatter gun approach to content and just see what Google likes. Eventually I see Google adjusting to this tactic and treating sub domain content as part of the main domain's content and hitting the lot if low quality content is found.

It's a short term workaround. Unless the underlying issue is addressed it's just a matter of time before you will be hit again, IMO.

indyank




msg:4357246
 5:10 pm on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

claaarky, this one was supposed to have been suggested to them by a googler. That was news then - [searchenginewatch.com...]

Zivush




msg:4357257
 5:23 pm on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)


That google isn't evaluating all sites on the web or all pages on a site for the "Google quality rules" is a fact.

I agree and have seen it in action. An entire site (poor quality) escaped Panda updates time after time.
How else can just breaking a site into sub domains, turn them into good quality in the eyes of google algos?

+
Subdomains - It's a short term workaround.
It's a short term workaround. Unless the underlying issue is addressed it's just a matter of time before you will be hit again, IMO.

I guess we all have to wait petiantly until Google reverses back if at all.
What I learned is that quality doesn't work in the short term, but it might work for the long run, otherwise what is the Internet all about.
If it is a monopoly that gives advantage to its own properties, people eventually will break this monopoly.

tedster




msg:4358204
 3:28 am on Sep 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well, it's a holiday weekend in the US and many times Google has used such periods for roll out some of their bigger algo changes. I've got an eye peeled, but so far I'm not noticing anything very disruptive. Has anyone else spotted anything?

superclown2




msg:4358228
 6:17 am on Sep 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well, it's a holiday weekend in the US and many times Google has used such periods for roll out some of their bigger algo changes. I've got an eye peeled, but so far I'm not noticing anything very disruptive. Has anyone else spotted anything?


Everything looks completely stable here in the UK.

sid786




msg:4358236
 7:11 am on Sep 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Edit: This might be off-topic. I got emotionally carried away.

It's obvious that Google will not reverse its algorithm. Google will push an update in a month or so, as they have been doing from the past couple of months, in the hopes of eliminating the content-farms.

And yes, Indyank, nothing seem to work for HubPages except from folding their site into a number of sub-domains. I recently flipped through an article where the owner of HubPages said 'SEO doesn't work,' and he has tried several things to recover but only the sub-domaining strategy paid off, or so he mentions.

For my Panda-affected site, I've revised couple of articles, removed nofollow for some of the external links, and I have been experimenting to find out that 'one' strategy which could bring my site back. I'm working on it, day and night.

And you also covered a very important point: variation of content. Everyone, the unaffected-Panda folks, talks about choosing just a topic and writing high quality content on the same.

One thing I learned is this: there's no secret winning sauce. It's not just about content, ads, or brand. It's not even about engagement. Last week when I was looking for something off-topic, the first page had no design, it was a page with text, around 1500 words. The author name missing, he might not be tweeting that article.

I also know folks writing 200-300 word review article benefiting from the Panda update.

And duplicate content? Oh, you know the drill: duplicate content doesn't affect ranking. Google did mention if the content is found elsewhere this will not help the site to get more traffic. They don't, as far as I know, affect the ranking. I know of an ecommerce site, with duplicate description, hugely benefiting from this Google algorithm. Perhaps because they have a lot of internal link scheme structure.

On the other hand, sometimes content-farms takes away the game. They rank in the first page because they were 'recently updated.' So, this is not a battle where you wait for your opponent to pick up the sword. It's a battle where the opponent is behind you while you wait for him.

Taking down these opponents -- content-farms -- hasn't helped at all. It's like Google is the king, the opponent is their only son, and we, the warriors wanting to save the nation, are the wrong guys!

I know Google is working on this algorithm extensively, and while they are busy with that, I'm knitting wings for my site, hoping that it would fly high again.

Zivush




msg:4358240
 8:05 am on Sep 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Unfortunately, content is not the king and never was - I wish it was.
I learned it the hard way, I think that content is a 'prince' at the maximum - Quantity is the king and the organizational structure of the site is the queen.
Why? Content farms publish thousands of articles each day. Most of articles are published in several places. These are duplicate content but Searc hengines donít have a clue which is the original. They miss most of the times.
Most articles there aren't that good and some fraction of them succeed because of the variety of related articles/topics and ..the brand name of the content farm.
Social media signals and others are artificial ways to find quality.
We all know that Bing/Yahoo have more quality searches. Visitors from these SE stay more on the site.

The cure to the Panda is to continue writing and publishing. A dead site (un-updated) is the most killing factor in my point of view.
Let G work hard to index your site.

g1smd




msg:4358241
 8:15 am on Sep 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Date tag at beginning of snippet.

This often gives some sort of indication as to when the page was originally written or was last updated.

In the last few days I have been seeing dates that are several weeks in the future...

AlyssaS




msg:4358252
 11:28 am on Sep 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just had a look in the hubpages forum. It appears that on Aug 30/31 some of them started to lose traffic.

See here:

[hubpages.com...]

The increase in traffic from 23rd that Indyrank noted may have just been one of G's experiments.

They can't really evaluate a domain or sub-domain without sufficient data. One way to get the data is to toss the site up, so that it gets traffic and they can monitor CTRs etc. Which would explain why in that short period Indyrank noted even sub-par pages ranking well.

Reading the forum, they only started moving the bulk of authors onto subdomains about three weeks ago. Before that it was voluntary. So that is probably creating upheaval too.

We'll need to wait a month to see if the strategy works.

indyank




msg:4358254
 11:41 am on Sep 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Alysaas, I agree that it would take time for us to confirm whether this really proves to be a good long term solution for them.

I am still tracking those obvious low quality pages to see what Google does to them. But they all continue to remain in their current positions and nothing is moving for their keywords.I will give an update when I see some changes for them. For now, these pages doesn't seem to have been evaluated by panda after their move to the new URLs.

[edited by: indyank at 12:01 pm (utc) on Sep 3, 2011]

indyank




msg:4358256
 11:49 am on Sep 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

sid786, from what I have seen, duplicate content does affect a site. But as i said in another thread, it depends upon the percentage of copied content on a page and the percentage of copied pages to the total number of pages in the site.What is really unfortunate is even if you don't copy, but most of your pages are copied to other forums and sites, the algo does seem to affect your site.

Most article sites syndicate their content generating duplicates and google must have used this as one of their numerous Panda signals.But this signal does throw some false positives as explained above.

successlieswithme




msg:4358247
 9:24 am on Sep 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

anyone aware of another release of panda?

our site hit badly from yesterday

[edited by: tedster at 5:32 pm (utc) on Sep 3, 2011]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

danijelzi




msg:4358350
 6:29 pm on Sep 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Recently I've stopped to track rankings of my keywords of a pandalized site on Google SERPs, because after months of doing so, I couldn't get any conclusion about what they favor and dislike.

Today, I did a search, like a regular Google user, for a widget + company and the first result was about the widget with no single mention of the company on that webpage! The second result was what I wanted. Went to Bing and got what I wanted on #1. A couple of hours later, tried to find on Google something about Widget XY1 specs. I haven't found exactly what I looked for in the first 4 results, and the 5th result was about an X1 Car (no widget mentioned on the page), not about the X1 Widget. Why to hell they think I want to see a page about a car when I look for a widget. Went to Bing again and bingo on the #1.

I have a question for you guys still monitoring your keywords. Is there any logic in SERPs? Should you all just quit tracking positions and keywords and their SERP updates?

johnhh




msg:4358404
 9:20 pm on Sep 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

We have been hit with traffic loss ( again ) since 28 August, something must be brewing. UK based.

Should you all just quit tracking positions and keywords and their SERP updates?
No I don't think so, all information is useful, you just have know how to use the data. It also gives you a general feel about other sites, what's hot and what's not.
Oddly for the phrases we check we have moved up a bit in general, so confused to explain traffic loss. Don't see much difference in the serps, except telephone directory sites seems to appear strongly since Panda for our key phrases, which is not what the search is about.

Feels like being under attack, so checked for content stealers today, amazing , pages and pages of our own ( expensive to produce ) unique text and photos appear on what must be thousands of sites. To DMCA or Cease and Desist that lot would take years.

sid786




msg:4358465
 4:17 am on Sep 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

Alright, Indyank and everyone, I guess I will share a part of my experiment.

Few days ago I revised my top landing pages content by adding a couple of images, paragraph or two of quality content and meta-description that is perfectly readable. As of now, I've lost 20% traffic on these pages. Again. I lost traffic on Pandanized pages.

Oh, concerning duplicate content, I wholeheartedly agree not to waste our time on it. I've never encouraged duplicate content yet, like you said, it's a shame to see Google pulling us all the way down.

The way I see it, whenever we make changes to our website, whether it's a theme change or amending the link structure, Google often takes about few days (almost a week, maybe) to bring the pages back to the top.

I'll update this thread if I see any positive improvement.

Should you all just quit tracking positions and keywords and their SERP updates?


I've quit tracking for a while, although I do keep track of the pages that rank higher. The pillar articles that brings a lot of visitors needs to be checked regularly, or so I believe.

Whitey




msg:4358713
 8:56 am on Sep 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Anyone noticing or speculating on the next update ?

Hope this helps for analyzing ranking and traffic changes. Only the changes right around these dates are likely to be caused by Panda.

Panda 1.0 - Feb 24, 2011
Panda 2.0 - April 11, 2011
Panda 2.1 - May 10, 2011
Panda 2.2 - June 16, 2011
Panda 2.3 - July 23, 2011
Panda 2.4 - August 12, 2011

[webmasterworld.com...]


It looks a bit overdue to me since 2.4 was primarily a foreign language update

mhansen




msg:4358847
 6:35 pm on Sep 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well, it's a holiday weekend in the US and many times Google has used such periods for roll out some of their bigger algo changes. I've got an eye peeled, but so far I'm not noticing anything very disruptive. Has anyone else spotted anything?


On a small group of 1-3 word phrases we track for a site we care for... We noticed a dip in referrals at the beginning of holiday weekend, and looking at SERPS, they are dominated by MFA and Thin Affiliate type sites with large backlink numbers and exact phrase anchors. (a large volume of irrelevant article directory backlinks, with anchor text matching the query)

Other times we have seen this same trend in the last 12-16 months it's been after a lot of Googlebot activity as well. Low and behold, we also saw a high volume of Gbot activity on Aug 30/31, which trailed off on Sept 1.

Aug 30/31 - Peak GBot
Aug 31 / Sept 1 - Gbot activity trailing off
Sept 1 - Current, Spam and MFA dominating top serps. (Almost Every one of the top 10 results has adsense above fold)

If the trend continues as it has for previous times we spotted it, Goog will weed out the MFA in 5-7 days after the gbot activity.

martinacastro




msg:4359307
 1:55 am on Sep 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

I loose traffic like october of 2010. Anyone experience the same now?

boirun03




msg:4359324
 3:21 am on Sep 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

After hearing about the subdomain as being a potential fix. I have slowly been taking the lower quality and not so closely related content from the main domain and moving it to subdomains. Two weeks ago one of the categories I moved seemed to have a full recovery after 3 days of setting up the subdomain. It had seemed I found where the panda didn't live. Well that was until this morning when I found that the subdomain was now ranking again post panda. I am assuming that this was panda food to begin with. Hopefully this will free up some panda crap so the main domain can start to recover a bit.

Zivush




msg:4359333
 4:15 am on Sep 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Indyank and boirun03,
People looking for clues but there is no logic behind the sean...
I suggest any webmaster to go and see in 'Compete dot com' the colossal crash after Panda updates of so many SEO expert sites, including: searchengineland, searchenginewatch, www.seroundtable, searchengineguide, #*$! and searchenginejournal.

Also, blogging expert sites: copyblogger, dailyblogtips, typepad and johnchow.

techcrunch, mashable and readwriteweb weren't escape panda hit as well.
answers dot com is in the same basket.

So where are the so called winners hiding and why are they winners? Mostly, low traffic sites that managed to get the lost traffic.
Some others were manually marked. That's the deal until Google will have no choice but to reverse back.

tedster




msg:4359338
 4:46 am on Sep 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have slowly been taking the lower quality and not so closely related content from the main domain and moving it to subdomains.

But HubPages did it the other way around - they gave their best authors dedicated subdomains, right?

AlyssaS




msg:4359342
 4:57 am on Sep 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

^^ Hubpages put all their authors on subdomains and told them they must sink or swim based on their own quality - and judging from their forums, some are sinking, others doing OK.

This 186 message thread spans 7 pages: 186 ( [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 > >
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