mhansen - 7:59 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0) [edited by: mhansen at 8:53 pm (utc) on Oct 8, 2012]
I still don't buy that this was a Panda data refresh on Oct 4-5th. I feel it's something else (related, suggestion as you type, etc) on those specific dates.
We manage a site that was hit by the first Penguin on April 24th. We also have access to several others through our work, and spotted a site or two with noticeable drops over the period of Oct 4-5th. (20-30% drop of G* referrals)
The latest update that MC is claiming to be a Penguin data refresh (October 4-5th) bears no resemblance to the original to us. It's a data refresh of a different color more or less.
In this October update, even though G* referrals are down 20-30% on the two affected sites, rankings, or serp results, are very static and almost identical.
What we HAVE lost however is the diversity of the longtail. In other words, when we check the longtail traffic that no longer comes to the site, we still rank #1 for those phrases, the only difference is:
A - People Suddenly stopped looking for those phrases
B - Google reduced the number of "related queries or auto-complete search"
C - Sites experiencing the 20-30% drop of G* referrals are NOT affected by this Panda update, just waiting for the search suggestion database to re-fill.
Nothing else makes sense. Please enlighten me otherwise... I realize Penguin is a play on the search queries, but with the results we see, the drop is not "Site has been hit by Penguin" as much as it is "The queries are no longer the same".
[edited by: mhansen at 8:53 pm (utc) on Oct 8, 2012]