tedster - 2:03 am on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)
Assuming Google is being truthful when they say they don't use Analytics data to rank web pages
They also have said they don't use Chrome data. I'm personally rather stymied by the issue at this point.
They could be using click-stream data that some ISP or other sells them, or maybe that they gather from free wi-fi that they provide. I don't know because I've never seen any privacy statements related to those services. They could be using DoubleClick cookies somehow, I guess.
However it certainly is quite a question - even THE Panda question for those impactedd by Panda, I'd say. In particular, I like to contemplate the questions that Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts mentioned when Panda first launched:
Cutts: There was an engineer who came up with a rigorous set of questions, everything from. "Do you consider this site to be authoritative? Would it be okay if this was in a magazine? Does this site have excessive ads?" Questions along those lines.
Singhal: And based on that, we basically formed some definition of what could be considered low quality. In addition, we launched the Chrome Site Blocker [allowing users to specify sites they wanted blocked from their search results] earlier, and we didn't use that data in this change. However, we compared and it was 84 percent overlap [between sites downloaded by the Chrome blocker and downgraded by the update]. So that said that we were in the right direction.
Wired.com: But how do you implement that algorithmically?
Cutts: I think you look for signals that recreate that same intuition, that same experience that you have as an engineer and that users have.
You may also find it helpful to revisit our original Panda thread here [webmasterworld.com]