sid786 - 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.