Hissingsid - 3:46 pm on Sep 26, 2011 (gmt 0)
I'm trying to make some sense out of the changes implemented in Panda. I'm starting to think that Panda is a bit like Malaria. At first people put Malaria down to bad air, hence its name and it wasn't until they realised that it was a disease carried by Mosquitoes that they could start to do something about it.
For many of us with big complicated sites and many keywords that used to generate traffic it is difficult to hypothesise on what has caused the change. It is difficult to understand what signals is you site giving off or not giving off that feed into the new algorithm. We could start from the premiss that what is presented as a highly complicated Google algorithm can be simplified into a few key things that drives it.
I'm in the fortunate position of having a small (ish) uncomplicated site and in my niche one two word term produces two thirds of all traffic in the niche. Over the last few years there has been very little movement at the top of SERPS and Panda has resulted in a shuffling of the top ten rather than a complete step change. I can therefore spot certain signals that emanate from sites that have benefited and are less strong from sites that have done less well. Id like to share what I am seeing in the hope that others might chime in and out of the debate we can all find something that we can do.
1. Panda is about sites not pages.
2. Sites that have done well are larger than average in the niche.
3. Sites that have done well have many pages within the site that are directly linked to by other "quality" sites. Sites that have done less well have many links from fewer sites. They have multiple links from a site to the home page and older pages of the site but less deep links to pages on a specific topic and less new links to specific pages on a particular subject from pages on other quality sites that are on that subject.
4. Sites that have done well have more NEW quality content than sites that have done less well. The new content on the sites that have done well is picked up by other quality sites that link to it.
5. One site that has done well I would estimate has much more traffic on the general theme of the niche than sites that are focused more on one aspect of the subject. I would also estimate that their bounce rate would be lower.
A couple of other things that I don't think provide signals into the algorithm but are worthy of a mention are:
I've noticed that different terms have entered my long tail but that these are not really appropriate and have a large bounce rate as a result.
The main two word terms has the first word which is the general theme and a second word which is the specific topic. In WMT my site has a full significance bar for the second word and a 60% fill for the general theme, first word. I would guess that sites that have done best from Panda have this the other way. ie a full bar for the theme and somewhat less for the specific topic word.