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This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 ( [1] 2 > >     
Evidence that "Branda" is possibly not to boost all brands

 10:11 pm on Sep 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have been looking at other major internet brands, some that are even public companies, even billion dollar companies, that do have established brands, and have suffered the Panda wrath. They have not only had their alexa rankings drop, but their share price too has dropped accordingly.

And then there are the companies that did not get panda, and have had their alexa and stock prices rise.

So, if even these billion dollar conglomerates with well branded sites get hit, then there must be more to it than that. Were they in fact also providing too thin content? Were they scraping content from other sites, or purchasing data feeds that are used by others?

This does somewhat debunk the theory of brands winning. Again there are also other sites that have no brand at all, but have in-depth content, and were not impacted.



 3:52 am on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

I can only concur with you because of the data evidence that I've seen. I never bought into the Panda/brands connection - it was a theory that some people floated because their sites were Pandalised and they saw some big brands ranking well.

The idea gained viral/myth status pretty quickly, but I'd say there's more truth to alligators in the NYC sewer system.

This isn't to say Google isn't working hard to reward something that we might call "brands". Eric Schmidt said as much. But that started a while ago with Update Vince, and it isn't the focus of Panda.


 5:20 am on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Recently, I have made a research on two areas - Career and Finance.
On these two, sites that receive more than 1Million uniques a month, which are mostly big brands are getting the lost traffic of those under these numbers.
Some non-brands sites on these two areas are well established with experts (some really famous) writing for them. Most of them lost 50% of their traffic.

Want another good example? known here in Israel of two successful Q/A sites.
Answers.com was acquired before Panda to private investors at the ~ same time that Yedda.com was acquired by AOL.
AOL redirected yedda to aolanswers.com while answers.com continued.
I can tell you the answers.com is better but this is my opinion (actually it gets a lot more visits in any way).
But guess who got hit really bad by the Panda? answers.com lost 15 Million uniques (!) and continues to lose every Panda update. They have fired many workers lately.
aolanswers.com is still with a flat line graph..


 6:18 am on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

So what is it that countless other big name, big value, very high traffic sites have done that has made Google literally destroy their businesses, and the lives of all involved?


 7:21 am on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sorry, this can get deleted but what a bunch of crap. You can find 100 examples of something and there will be 100 counter examples. You can believe that you know everything that is happening out there and that you have your finger on every niche and every keyword out there. Seriously? How about this.

Everyone, well most everyone, or at least a portion of people are suggesting brands or giants taking over key keywords. A growing dominance as it were. This has been noted all over the place. So everyone commenting are a few complainers? It's a myth? People are imagining it?

It's an almost ignorant viewpoint. That's fine. When I see wikipedia on top of any search that I use, that tell me what? Isn't wikipedia a brand? A Goliath site?

It does make me angry. To disregard the sediment of many says what? We're all wrong? It's imaginary about brands? Well with respect I don't think anyone here monitors 1000's keyword niches or subjects on the web. In that case, you better listen to what others are saying. It just may be possible that in fact you're WRONG. If you're right, then people are spewing a bunch of rubbish for no apparent reason or because they have nothing better to say.

What a joke. Frankly, I'm done for a while. It's completely counter productive to suggest anything. Not sure what happened or if it's just me. I'm out. It's far to insulting to say anything else.

Must be nice to disregard the "theories" about big brands. Just rumors. Whatever. I'm completely disgusted.


 8:12 am on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

As ambiguous as your post was, I think I managed to decipher what you meant. The whole purpose is to work out Panda, so in order to do this, it is best to humor every theory, whilst also considering it may not be true. You need to hear from every side of the argument, otherwise you might miss something.
Either way my analysis holds strong into what I was saying. Some big brands have been hit badly.


 9:28 am on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

To be honest, the Brand/Panda conflation stinks of a sort of Post Hoc fallacy.

Brands, by definition, have engaged people*. By one credible theory, Panda seeks to reward sites that engage people. Thus, brands will (generally) have improved since Panda.

However, it remains a level playing field in that brands and non-brands are subject to the same criteria, but brands TEND towards better metrics than non-brands.

On the subject of logical fallacies, a good one to remember is Argumentum ad populum [en.wikipedia.org]

*To be a "Brand" you need to enjoy recognition, for which some form of engagement is a prerequisite. However, offline engagement does not necessarily translate to online engagement- a situation that used to be VERY frequent, but is now less so as traditional brands get their act together.


 10:26 am on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

This is starting to get a whiff of conspiracy theories of Illuminati, elitist corporations ruling the world. Personally I don't quite adhere to such theories, but I still would have expected better from "beloved" Google.


 10:35 am on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Must be nice to disregard the "theories" about big brands. Just rumors. Whatever. I'm completely disgusted.

Why so emotional? You've got to stop taking what G does personally, you'll just make your life miserable. To them websites are just a bunch of data points on a graph. They don't know who you are and are not after you specifically.

Also don't get wedded to any theories, they blind you to what might be happening.

A few months back everyone was convinced that it was the presence of scrapers who were responsible for their Pandalisation - till someone pointed out that the scraper would have the same "duplicate" problem - i.e. other sites had the same content as them, and yet they were still ranking. Therefore the pandalisation couldn't be down to the presence of other sites with the same content. Further, it couldn't be about the content itself either, otherwise nobody would rank for that content at all (if it was so bad).

But people wasted months doing nothing else but firing off DMCAs and stuff (not a bad thing to do, but you kind of need to do it in your spare time, rather than ditch your main work to do it).

That's why you shouldn't be "disgusted" when people take a shot at your theory - they're not trying to hurt your feelings, just trying to look at things from another angle.


 11:38 am on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Exactly. Everyone needs to post all their theories, however abstract they may be. That way we can consider as many possibilities as possible, and together eventually get to the root of the issue.

One other belief I have, is that Panda hasn't actually done anything since July, so any changes wouldn't have possibly had any effect anyway. Also it was in the official Google Webmaster Blog, that they posted about Panda, and sorting out your site, the word they used to describe your recovery was "eventually", which might mean it is a 1 year penalty, or something that nature.


 2:52 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

@whatson, not sure if it's a 1 year penalty. Sites like Daniweb recovered after a few months. It remains to be seen if her site will tank sometime later (again), but her recovery was not sudden. It seemed like she had a gradual recovery until things came back. I am beginning to see some type of recovery but not sure how lasting it will be. It is partial, and I am optimistically attributing it to the massive overhaul I'm doing to my site. Also, my user metrics have improved as the traffic increased. So we'll see how this turns out. Who knows, I may come crying back here again in a bit.


 3:28 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

To clarify my point, when you simply refuse to believe something because you think you have it all figured out? There is a word to describe that mentality. Nobody, and I repeat nobody is able to track all areas of the internet. In other words, to suggest it's all just a conspiracy or that my opinion or somebody else's opinion is based on speculation? If you look around, you might see that a lot of people discuss brands or I prefer to call it "wikipedia" level sites. If people want to post what they see, but yet be scrutinized by people who think they KNOW IT ALL, then have a nice day. Deal with the fact that the internet is vast and it's just possible that other people know something about their specialties and it's possible that what they see it what they see and not you think or wish they could see.

If wikipedia is the bar, who can sit here and dispell that myth? It's not a myth because we all see it on page one now. You average one person site can SEO and built their site to bump wikipedia level sites from their new home on top of Google SERPS? If you're lucky you don't have wikipedia in your niche. Because when you do, then you know the tipping point is happening and you better have a lot of content and foundation.

People who know it all stagnate. They don't get better. It's because you know it all. If you know everything about the internet and all keywords then certainly you can't be convinced of ANYTHING. You know it all.

If a bunch of people are reporting smoke, then what? That's not a fire, they are a bunch of freaks trying to make trouble? That's how I see counter viewpoints being judged on this forum. In fact I would suggest there are various places discussing brands, big sites, in Google post Panda, yet those are apparently viewed as conspiracy theorists. I'm sure people are actually sick of taking alternate viewpoints here now because what's the point? We are wrong.

Good day.


 3:58 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

As I understand this thread, the idea is NOT to debunk that Google has grown a strong emphasis on brands. They clearly have.

The idea is that Panda itself is not where that emphasis originates. Panda is far from being the whole of the Google algo - Panda as a ranking factor has been run only on certain specific dates [webmasterworld.com]. And the data from the changes on those dates shows brands both winning and losing - and non-brands both winning and losing.

So the idea is to refine our analysis, and focus in a bit better on what Panda itself is all about, in contrast to the rest of the algo. In mathematics, if you have a conjecture and there is just one counter-example, then the conjecture is DIS-proven, and not a theorem. This is also the logical quality of solid analytical work, too.

So unless a site's troubles (or blessings) occurred on one of the Panda dates, then factors other than those explained by Matt Cutts, Amit Singhal et. al. about Panda do not apply. And being outranked more and more by brands is not a Panda phenomenon.

Wikipedia had been topping the charts for a long time before we heard even a whisper about Panda, for example. Google didn't NEED Panda to boost brands, they were already doing it without Panda.

People who know it all stagnate. They don't get better. It's because you know it all. If you know everything about the internet and all keywords then certainly you can't be convinced of ANYTHING. You know it all.

Exactly my point, too. If you already "know" that Panda is all about brands, then you cannot even see contradictory data.


 4:43 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Tester, I certainly hear what you're saying.

Perhaps I've missed the mark on this thread. What I read and what was actually written may be two different things.

I'm lumping Panda in with Google SERPS if that makes sense.

What I see, is that for given keywords, the quality bar gets raised to the point that "brands" or "mega sites" or "Wikipedia" level sites move up and the rest move down. I know this isn't my imagination. I watch competitors sites, and I have seen them go the way of the dodo bird. They are replaced with the Panda sites, or the mega sites as I like to call them.

So boiled down, we all need to be more like wikipedia because without question, in 2011, wikipedia is the bar. So if they are the bar, then I ask, okay, how do I start working on content to the tune of say, going from 50 pages to 100 pages?

I react angrily when opinions are blatantly disregarded. At that point it almost becomes futile to even post those findings. I think most people wouldn't be posting inaccurate observations on these forums.

To me it seems quite simple. The quality bar is high. Very high. Yes, only in those subjects that garner search volume and interest. So the bar is always being raised which is why you are seeing so many webmasters wondering what happened to their organic traffic. If they didn't choose wisely in the start then they need to think long and hard about the future plans.

The algo changed. As said before we need to understand why wikipedia is so highly regarded. So ask yourself, is it imaginary?

I sense that speaking freely isn't encouraged. Isn't that editorializing.

To answer the question, in my view, the only reason sites remain untouched is simply because Google hasn't yet deemed them in the same sphere as the mega sites. If you have a strong foundation and lots of content, then perhaps you can compete with mega sites. For most of us, that's simply not the case. When it's crunch time, Google is expanding the scope of the mega sites to essentially gobble up those keywords that you once got organic traffic for.

So for me, and it's just me, it more a matter of what not to do rather that what to do. I'm on the high school football team and I'm smart enough to realize that I can't compete with an NFL team. I'll stick to a league that doesn't include the NFL teams thanks. That's the Google SEO of 2011. I don't think you're evaluated on a page by page basis, but rather on the entire website. So how many pages and words makes up wikipedia? Mega sites with pro writing staff? Catch my drift here?

People can believe whatever they want. That's find it's a free country.


 5:09 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

As said before we need to understand why wikipedia is so highly regarded.

Wikipedia has ALWAYS ranked well. Here's a thread on the subject from 2006! Titled "Wikipedia taking over Google SERPs"!


They have a breathtakingly good backlink profile - they get links from everyone, premium authority sites, from google's various official blogs, from the BBC, other news sites, mommy blogs, and also from blackhatters who use links to wiki to give themselves credibility.

Plus they are not monetised - for info sites G's hierarchy seems to be non monetised sites first, all other things being equal.

But with wiki, all other things are not equal - they have a substantial amount of info on their pages, and many other sites competing with them just try to re-write their stuff. Plus they have the backlink profile and a ton of quality deep links.

So G's underlying algo rates them highly, and Panda, which is applied on top of the underlying algo, did not have a problem with them. They probably pass the user metrics thing with flying colors given how long and detailed their pages are.

Fixating on wiki is a red herring in my opinion. They are in a class on their own. You are better off finding another monetised site, similar to your own, which is still ranking, and analysing that to find out why Panda likes them and not you.


 5:35 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm lumping Panda in with Google SERPS if that makes sense.

No, in my opinion it doesn't. That's the direction of this thread.

We can't do effective SEO analysis when it's all "one big pile." Then all we're left with is a growing group of complaints that gets very old, very fast - because there's no real SEO in it. And SEO is why this forum exists.


Considering that Panda was under development for more than a year - by some very good minds who had access to some of the greatest computing power ever assembled - it's not at all surprising to me that even the aggregate of all SEOs in the world have not "pulled it apart" all that well, so far. I would expect us to be making slow progress at making a clearing in this jungle, with a glimmer of insight here and there.

So this thread makes a contribution in that direction. I recently had a chance to see a really big pile of historical ranking data that was bumped up against the Panda dates. It confirmed for me what whatson put forward in this thread. There's real evidence that Panda is not the CAUSE of brand dominance.

Whatever Panda is measuring, rewarding and punishing - the brand thing is a red herring. It's just too glib an "answer", and the emotional reactions to that "answer" have been clouding further rigorous analysis and progress.


 6:14 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

So, if even these billion dollar conglomerates with well branded sites get hit, then there must be more to it than that. Were they in fact also providing too thin content? Were they scraping content from other sites, or purchasing data feeds that are used by others?

They are all kinds of brands: More powerful one, weaker ones, strong brands that aren't as powerful online, brands that Google is seeking to destroy (eHow & co) and so on.

If Google didn't favor brands, then Panda failed the original mission. Look at the answers they asked raters: do you trust this, would you give them the credit card, would you mind this if it was in a magazine, was it curated properly, how many ads...Then they bragged that they were able to put IRS, NYT and the likes in the good side, and others in the bad. Al those favor established brands due to perceived trust and more resources for flashy design and in house ads (more tolerated.) Sort of putting a Google logo on Bing SERPS.

I can only concur with you because of the data evidence that I've seen. I never bought into the Panda/brands connection - it was a theory that some people floated because their sites were Pandalised and they saw some big brands ranking well.

The idea gained viral/myth status pretty quickly, but I'd say there's more truth to alligators in the NYC sewer system.

The crocodiles in the sewer is a really poor analogy, very poor indeed. First the pandalized webmasters see who's outranking them, so they see the crocodiles. How they got there is the question. And the Mayor has said that putting crocodiles in the sewer is the answer to everything and they have been putting them in for 2 years. Now they do something to solve their problems but some are saying that crocodiles are not put in the sewer this time, but before or after. Hmmmm....is this a Panda crocodile or just one that was put before /after?

The question is not if brands are largely favored in panda, there's no 100% rule, but what they saw in the seeds that we might replicate. I'd focus on traffic that SE send you to begin with...what's the difference between a good match and a bad one? Or what's the difference in stats when a visitor is sent by search engines to the home page vs one sent to the product page? And how can you change that ? (Hint: most--by far--can't and can't even get a manual exception becuase they aren't popular enough.)

I have checked the user stats of those famous sites that were-included, changes to the site or no changes, their user stats were virtually identical with pre-Panda. When you hear that 'I changed this and came back' you should also hear those that say "I changed nothing and came back" or when both become 'low quality' site again the next month by the algo without changing a thing. That should give people a clue.

And it turns out that there are stats [greatfinds.icrossing.com...] and that's just after the first Panda (IMO the second one and others really pushed brands and ignored content)


 6:22 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's a theory some people float that Google isn't favoring brands. To put the debate to rest and confirm GOOGLE IS FAVORING BRANDS this is a quote from Mr Schmidt himself.

"Brands are the solution, not the problem" Mr. Schmidt said. "Brands are how you sort out the cesspool."


My take - I disagree Mr Schmidt, you need to get back to your core of ranking websites and figure out why you're ranking cesspool material ahead of quality material, period.


 6:42 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

unless a site's troubles (or blessings) occurred on one of the Panda dates

This makes sense, but how striking does the date-specific traffic pattern have to be?

For instance, is there a consensus view concerning whether the various Panda updates were each rolled out in a very narrow time window (e.g. say, 24 hours)?

If a site experienced a drop in traffic over a 5 day day period that started two days before and ended (traffic stabilized at the new, lower level) a few days after the update, would that be evidence that the site was Pandalized, or just the opposite -- suggesting the change in traffic was not Panda-related, and something else must have happened (since the impact started too soon and was spread out over too many days)?


 6:51 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

There are many many brands, but only 5 serious spots on the SERPS for any query

ergo, there must be losers, even amongsts known brands

Thing is, i am still flabagasted that an algo is generally held out as the determinant of the winners in a "quality for humans" drive.

A bit like painting by the numbers


 8:00 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

DaniWeb nailed again on 9/28 with a 50%+ traffic loss... [google.com...]


 8:10 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

maybe google are just favouring "mentions".

obvious mentions are ones that we get through social bookmarking and backlinks, but i've heard they are taking into account just straight text mentions too. if someone talks about amazon and books in the same sentence then they'll get some credit for that, just like it was a backlink.

but people cant "mention" a site if they dont know the name -- so little sites lose out. maybe thats why brands seem to be getting a boost -- because they've got access to a whole new way of google rating sites.


 8:28 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google seems to have purged a lot of what it previously considered quality backlinks, GWT is showing me a 90% reduction and even omitting sites I know are to quality and very related.

Not only does it seem you need a mention but you need it within article, preferably in first paragraph, and not on any sort of links page which were popular on older sites.


 8:40 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

I agree that brands do better in Google SERPS. Maybe that has become a little more important after Panda but not because of Panda. The solution is to realise that brands do better in the SERPS and forget about why. Make your website a brand is the way forward.

As for Panda, Google have done an excellent job of stopping the likes of us even guessing what factors are involved. And as time goes by it's more and more likely that we never will.

For me that's good news because once and for all it's kicked short term SEO into the touchline, and I stress short term SEO. Long term SEO still survives and always will. Short term manipulation of the SERPS is dead and buried for all but a few.

If I was Pandalised no doubt I would think differently but I haven't been Pandalised. From my perspective Panda is good for the internet, good content is even more likely to be rewarded. And I am no Google fan.


 9:43 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

No one is saying brands don't do better after Panda, we are just saying NOT ALL brands, some have been hit hard.
making your web site a brand
is just conjecture. And anyway, what does it mean to make a brand online? And how do you know you have obtained it? People searching your domain in Google?

I agree nomis5, they really have done a good job at preventing any effort to reverse engineer what they have done here. Every single theory seems to contain anomalies.
There is one possibility that it is just a scoring algorithm, and combines several different factors, and if you hit a certain threshold then welcome to Panda.


 9:48 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Oh, and my sites outrank wikipedia in my industry.


 10:16 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

People searching your domain in Google?

It's occurred to me that this is an obvious data set Google could be using -- whether as part of Panda or otherwise -- to help ensure that "important" (well known/recognized/obvious) sites appear in search results.

Same thought applies to brand names appearing in the text of other sites -- if "Verizon" is mentioned a lot, then even if there aren't any links going to their site, their site might get a boost for all sorts of relevant keywords.

This could help explain why the "big" name brand sites like TripAdvisor and Wikipedia are moving higher in the SERPs, to the detriment of smaller sites no one writes about, or searches for by name.


 10:39 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

So it could be a factor link Pagerank, Brandrank, only instead of a link pointing to your site, it is an occurrence of your brand/web site name, mentioned on the web.
However, it is still met with a lot of inconsistencies, and as far as generic domain names, their text might be mentioned in a lot of ways, but not referring to the specific brand.


 11:26 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

If it works the way I'm visualizing it, generic domain names wouldn't count. This would be focused on domain names which are brands -- like wikipedia.TLD, verizon.TLD, fodors.TLD, apple.TLD, sony.TLD and so forth.

And, they would rely on a combination of data -- including people who put the entire domain name (with the TLD) into the search box (yes, it's silly but people do it).


 11:32 pm on Sep 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

So they would need to also include the specific domain extension for it to be applicable, as to avoid confusion. e.g. Business.com would be talking about the web site itself, where as anyone else who just says business, would not be counted.

This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 ( [1] 2 > >
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