superclown2 - 4:12 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)
Google headcount (horrible de-humanising word) was about 20,000 in November 2010. Latest published number from their financial reports is 28,768 at the end of June, not including 400 or so from aquisitions. That's a lot of extra people in about 7 months. Up until Panda hit the trail I'd never seen any human visitors in my logs from Google IP addresses, and I check all of them, daily. My good performing sites now get checked about every 2 weeks. These guys aren't cheap labour people from India, they come from the Plex's IP address. I'm also hearing more and more reports from other webmasters about manual penalties.
I appreciate that algorithm demotions happen and that other types of sites are hit by them and to be frank I can accept that because there is an element of fairness to the same rules being applied to all websites. However, since the Panda is supposed to select the best sites for visitors, I wonder why do they need human reviewers on top of that. If a site is good enough to rise to the top, what justification is there to manually demote it? Surely a good algo can spot abusive ranking methods and if a site has risen to the top on it's own merits then manually downgrading it because of the pursuit of a particular agenda (such as the culling of affiliates) is a clear abuse of power. Hidden, perhaps, behind the smokescreen of a new super-algorithm.