netmeg - 2:18 pm on Mar 29, 2011 (gmt 0)
This is an interesting issue from several sides.
One of the primary sites I manage for a client was not Pandalized in the least, and is doing better than ever.
However, we had around a dozen paid links & ads in categories of an industry directory - set up years ago, and from which we derived at least 20% of our referral traffic (and a lot of sales). I just went through in December and cleaned up the links, changed the descriptions, anchor text, rearranged the categories we were in, etc. It was working really well too - sales were up 200% from this directory over the same period last year. Till Feb 24th. Looks like THEY got hit by Panda big time. In some cases, we purchased spots in categories where they ranked higher in Google than we did, in others, we just wanted the traffic. Now I'm in the uncomfortable position of having to tell them that we're no longer getting enough traffic to justify the ongoing cost of the ads and links. Talk about adding insult to injury. Looking a little further, I see few other directories of lesser import (but still useful) that look like they got hit too. So we're experiencing a small amount of collateral collateral damage.
This is a B2B ecommerce site I'm working with, and there aren't many places for such to get links other than industry directories. These users aren't really into the whole social media thing yet, at least not for business.
So, I'm still gonna look for places to link, but I'm going to have to check traffic more carefully before I pay for any spots (I'm not buying for SERPS, I'm buying for traffic) and I'll probably step up inclusion in print directories (it's 2011, we should be past killing trees - but we aren't) and ramp up the email and direct mail, in order to lessen our dependence on search.
But I'm still not relishing the phone call to the folks at the one directory to tell them not only are they losing their traffic from Google, but one of their top advertisers is gonna have to pull out too.