Wilburforce - 1:22 am on Dec 23, 2012 (gmt 0)
This just goes to show you that this whole Panda scheme is just a smokescreen.
I have been thinking about Google's stated objectives and the observable results, and I think Google's use of the word "quality" is misleading.
What Google's algorithm changes are based on is quantity. Quantity and quality are not synonymous. More people clicking on my page doesn't mean it is a better page: more people may visit adult bookstores than libraries, but it doesn't mean the literature is of a higher standard.
More people staying on my site doesn't mean it is a better site: it might mean Google has served them the wrong landing page (so they have to click through to the right one), or that my site has misleading content and links, so it takes them longer to find out what they seek isn't actually there.
More identical anchor-text doesn't mean there is some kind of scam going on: it might mean that the anchor text describes my content exactly (so anyone linking to it uses the same or similar anchor text). My extremely well-written page is about lions. As a result, I get a whole load of almost identical links which say: for a definitive statement on the subject, see mysites page on <a href="http://www.mysite.com/lions.htm">Lions</a>.
Even "personalisation" gets it wrong. Everthing I will ever want to do is not in Manchester. In fact, I live nowhere near Manchester anyway, but my ISP's server is there, so if I search for restaurants I get Manchester restaurants.
The problem, I think, is that Google have selected several arbitrary measures as indicators of "quality", but have failed to see that this makes those measures an operational definition of quality which is not consistent with the way the rest of us see it.
The outcome is to drive me to Manchester, and mankind to adult bookshops (or wherever it is that most of us go). How soon enough of us will jump off to turn our problem into Google's problem is anyone's guess, but my guess is that it will not be soon enough for quite a few businesses like mine to stay in business.