danimalSK - 10:33 am on Apr 18, 2011 (gmt 0)
Taking an Occam's Razor approach to Panda, because regardless of the complexity (or lack of it) to the update, there is probably one overarching principle behind it:
- Content farms generally punch above their weight when it comes to SEO (that after all, is there business model), meaning a very skewed direct:search ratio
- Usable and trustworthy websites usually have a pretty healthy direct:search ratio. It's pretty hard to build a healthy direct % with a horrible website (unless you are craigslist :) )
Expanding on this, someone in another thread suggested that Google probably can't work out the source of articles anymore. Direct:search seems to me like it could be a pretty good signal for working this out. For example, ticket A lives on 100 ticket websites, but there is one site with a high direct:search ratio (Ticketmaster); that site is probably the source.
Extrapolating this to the sites "that do not fit the mold", a lot of them were seriously punching above their weight on SEO compared to branded search:
Digitaltrends was getting almost 100k visits a day, with almost none of that being direct
This would also explain sites like prnewswire, which would have very little direct traffic / branded search.