hannamyluv - 2:37 pm on Jun 13, 2011 (gmt 0)
It does seem highly unlikely to me that Google's algorithm cares much about style
I truly think it does now. I have had a fascinating view through my niche of how Panda works. My niche is an interesting one in regards to Panda because of the mix of sites that are present. You had everything from scapers to content farms to true enthusiasts to .edu and .gov sites.
For a long time before Panda, the space was pretty much dominated by content farms and a few lucky (read fumbled into SEO) enthusiasts. The content farms were not so bad as they really did fill a very needed space in my niche, until there got to be SO MANY regurgitating content farms. Right before Panda, the top 10 listings would consist of:
- the top 3 would be from the same site, rewriting their own info for 3 different keywords
- 4- 5 others would be other content farms rewriting the info from the top 3 for their own sites
- 1-3 would be lucky enthusiasts
- 1-2 (maybe) (normally low ranking) complex and high reading level documents from .eduís and .govís Ė which are difficult for the average consumer to understand
After Panda, the content farms were pretty much gone Ė but so were the lucky enthusiasts. The lucky enthusiasts really did have great info, but they also used comic sans font and animated or low resolution gifs. Ugly, ugly sites but really good info. The enthusiasts truly did it because they loved it. The info was solid and easy to read and understand, but because they were focused on the content rather than learning HTML, Photoshop and PHP, their sites were very 1995. Still, Google cleaned them out. One site like this, I know saw a 50% drop in traffic. All original content and not scraped (because letís face it, scraping is harder on a site that is built by hand manually page by page rather than by a database).
I have no doubt because of this that looks do play a role in Panda.