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Has Panda Created an Era of New Domain SPAM?



8:22 am on Jan 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Happy New Year everyone, I wanted to start my 2012 thread with something which I see a lot of people are doing in few 1000+ markets we maintain and honestly a lot of our clients are also asking for this very solution.

Here is the thing, since the launch of Panda, it seems that once you are pandalized the chance are 0.1% that you will recover I have not found anyone so far that has recovered FULLY from Panda.

So if your XYZ.com got hit for "blue widgets" then chances are you will not get that spot back, HOWEVEVER!and let me repeat that again HOWEVER there is a way to get back that same position again BUY A NEW DOMAIN and START A NEW SITE on the same topic and build some links. You will be amazed how fast that site will rank.

Content can be same/different or SPUN it doesn't matter this new domain/website will rank faster for the term than your old authority/trustworthy site.

And I see a lot of people are applying this tactic now. It seems to be the best remedy.

Now my question is:

IS THIS GOOD FOR GOOGLE? This will start a whole new era of domain/website spam. Where you get hit by Panda and the only good solution is just start a new website all over again and build the links and you are good to go.

I mean if I was making $10k from xyz.com for "blue widgets" and I can get that same spot again within $2000 then why not?

It is sort of failure on Google's side to kill authority site but rank a new junk site right away.

So basically every time you get hit, start over again. I have tested this in a mid-tier niche for one of my affiliate sites and it is amazing how this works. My 10 years old domain with ugly HTML design and no ads is on 5th page but my new site is ranking #1.

Unless Google fixes Panda itself this NEW DOMAIN spam will continue.


7:17 pm on Jan 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

You can recover from Panda. I did it twice now.

It may take 6 months to a year and you may have no idea why you recovered (I still don't) but you can.


8:55 pm on Jan 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member dstiles is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member

When G started its geolocation a few years ago we were forced to buy half a dozen new domain names and start two new sites, just to be able to get world-wide trade back on one site (which we had prior to this using a UK domain). So G has been responsible for years for over-loading the web with new, unnecessary sites and buying up unnecessary domains.

This probably even suggested to spammers that this was the way to go. I know that since G promoted spam sites above real ones the scraping attempts on my server have increased dramatically as bad hats (presumably) try to use our content to take over our positions.


1:12 am on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

You implied that you don't have any idea why you recovered from Panda. Do you mean that you didn't do anything and you still recovered, or that you did a lot of stuff and recovered, but don't know exactly what could have triggered the recovery?


1:31 am on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

I BELIEVE I have spotted this occurrence in a few different markets I work in and follow.

What really is beginning to worry me is the larger picture of Panda, not just folks that get hit and use this strategy...but the whole Panda thing just seems to be about (at least recent iterations of Panda IMO) about keeping your website EXTREMELY THEMATICALLY TIGHT. Which would be fine and all if you and the folks at Mountainview held a consensus on what your website should cover, but now you are "graded" on what Google believes your website content/context theme is and should be, not what you as the webmaster want it to be...almost out of the gate it sometimes appears.

Almost as if a "keyword/longtail" reclassification occurred as well on large level and some Pandalyzed sites seem to ONLY be able to rank for certain keywords/modifiers....if you try to step outside of the classification with exceptionally good and fresh content...just NOTHING.

So basically, IMO they have broadened what they view as a content farm to get rid of the junk (especially the ten different pages with titles like "Red widgets are fantastic","Widgets that are red are fantastic", "To be fantastic, widgets should be red"), but in doing so they have made it exceptionally difficult for small-medium sized business operations to get around this...

As smaller operations clearly don't and won't have the same level of "PAID" resources to be a true brand and give off the ultimately "PAID" types of SE signals on a MASSIVE level in MANY niches, let's be honest. And from G's perspective it is easier to serve up brands in most cases and scenarios at the end of the day, all other things considered...IMO.

Back on track, so the Panda thing basically screams out "build websites on EMD's about 20-30 pages or so, 1500 words of great content and media on every page, social signals in place, blog updates weekly and BOOM". This takes A LOT of risk out of things and increases diversification for most smaller-medium operations, but ends with what the OP is describing on a large scale.

Tighter smaller web, cutting through the "fluff" aka "outside of what your website should be about and thus you will not rank and thus you will not get organic traffic", but we won't ever know WHAT G determines to be as this "fluff" in relation to a certain context and SERP classification, niches, etc. I'm not talking fluffy language here, but what Google is determining to be of importance for certain niche categories, and not just search engine users themselves. Then again, I usually see a lot of smaller-tighter-focused yet usually "light on content" rise to the top of the SERPs before a major shake-up as well, so I dunno what to think anymore.

A lot of the 3 page EMD spun garbage I was looking at a year ago is now gone, but now we just have small emd's/sometimes aged, and better content and media churned out by what looks to be many former owners of "authority" sites. Didn't the folks at Google say at what point that they couldn't see or justify how any one webmaster could operate more than 20 "quality" websites or something like that? They have created an environment where THAT (having 20-30 smaller tighter themed websites instead of 30 categories on a larger site) is increasingly the only option I am seeing in a lot of the playing fields I follow.

How do some operations increase their websites' size and grow as a business, when Google is already classifying them and thus restricting them to only one "area" of the the search results? Easy I guess, like you said it appears you just need to build bunches of smaller tighter focused websites (what you would normally have as your category pages on a typical authority site of the past, use those as individual niche sites?) and fit those into the small little holes it appears the Panda is placing these longtail traffic packets towards?

"Go fish" for longtails is the name of the game again, because you are only going to hit front page for a select "class" of your content if you try to go "Authority" and your name is not Walmart, Kohls, etc. Oh, that broad-term EMD in your niche, the same kw term you dominated with your authority site a year ago, well it is available in .net AND .org......but not for much longer. Great time to be a domain registrar tell ya that much.

This just seems to go against the whole "build the best site you can" thing right from the start, as now it clearly should be something like "build the most tightly-packaged and contextually-themed website possible on a new EMD or aged domain and hope you don't step outside of our own supersecret niche classifications and/or DO NOT try to grow too fast as a web-based and organic-search based business according to our unknown standards or DO NOT optimize your website a certain way we don't like, ignore our own Ad department's advice too, etc" Just a mess. I just wish they'd be honest and say they don't want small-medium sized business competing for top spots for certain keywords where they make more money from another type of arrangement. That would at least be honest and NOT evil, IMO.

IMO G is stepping over the line with their increasingly classifying "intent", not just searcher intent...webmaster intent...and this is truly the scariest thing about a company that IS the Internet as we know it today. It inspires an environment we are witnessing now. Why would you commit to a large authority hobby site anymore? Thousands of pages and one Panda update later you're gone. A strategy like you mentioned in the OP is the way forward apparently.

As I've read others suggest on here, I'm believing more and more that Panda has some type over-optimization and serp classification filter underlying it that is really messing with folks. What if the phrase I choose for my page titles all register a certain search volume threshold that COULD indicate overoptimization along with seeing lots of incoming anchored links coming in? What if my pages as a whole are not "thematically-connected" enough according to G to show up for anything more than a few broad search terms, no matter what is done to the website? Where is the inspiration to provide the BEST content for users, knowing that BEST is relative and evolving is reasonable for webmasters to handle and still inspires quality, but what about when the the standard of "best" is altered entirely/reclassified by G every few months? Do they or WILL THEY understand MY INTENT with all of these changes, or will they judge my intent upon a certain factors and move on? I'm asking these questions in the sense that all of the other basics are covered. I also ask these questions as a fairly experienced internet marketer...god help the "noobs".

Does everyone have the time to wait 6 months to a year to see if G will reclassify your OWN intent for your OWN website? Much easier to cast different lines in different areas and see where you can survive while diversifying...rather than build a bigger boat these days IMO. Don't even get me started on their obvious throttling that plays a part in all of this too. Weird stuff happening these days, slow indexation seems to be an issue coming and going now too on my end...

1st post heyyy

[edited by: jsherloc at 2:27 am (utc) on Jan 6, 2012]


2:03 am on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

So if your XYZ.com got hit for "blue widgets" then chances are you will not get that spot back, HOWEVEVER!and let me repeat that again HOWEVER there is a way to get back that same position again BUY A NEW DOMAIN and START A NEW SITE on the same topic and build some links. You will be amazed how fast that site will rank.

Won't Panda algorithm classified your new domain as "duplicate content" of your original domain and penalize you again?


3:34 am on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'm seeing EMD's doing very well again (I made a post late last month about a certain keyword that had 8/10 exact match domains in the top 10), also sub-domains built tightly around specific keywords.

There's less to lose if you spread your efforts across multiple domains/sub-domains whereas if everything is on a single domain with a normal folder structure Panda will wipe you out entirely.


4:34 am on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

There's less to lose if you spread your efforts across multiple domains/sub-domains whereas if everything is on a single domain with a normal folder structure Panda will wipe you out entirely.

This is how online marketing will increasingly go now that we're firmly entrenched in Pandaworld.

As was mentioned in an earlier post, with the Panda virus seeming deadly to most webmasters, there will be even more websites with even more redundancy from now on, as serious marketters play every angle, hoping that one of them will escape Panda's fatal glance. It's a cat & mouse game, and for every mouse that Google catches, 3 more will come along, and so it will go, because there's a LOT more mice than that cat can ever kill.



4:49 am on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

jsherloc, excellent post!


6:33 am on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

So in the collective opinion of those who have posted in this thread, what you are saying is things like "branding" are less important in ranking than has been made out, is that correct?

Because it must be a lot more difficult to brand a bunch of small sites compared to one larger site, correct? And it must be a lot harder to make a bunch of small sites look like "legitimate businesses" than it is with a single large site.

Please note I am not arguing with you (or making moral judgements about having lots of smaller sites to rank well post panda). But what I am asking is how are small, tightly focused sites ranking well when it seems that so many big name sites are at the tops of the SERPs?


7:55 am on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

IMO smaller sites like these (with EXCELLENT CONTENT all around)are too small/tightly focused and pass right under whatever the filter/threshold it is that triggers a red flag related to some type of "content-farm/low quality/this site is stretching itself way too thin and trying to grow much too fast for it being only a year old" type Panda deal we have going currently. Again, this is just my opinion.

So, no matter the quality and authority signals you are giving off (assuming you are operating a smaller medium sized operation and your marketing resources/social signals/page metrics/user metrics/link graphs/ are reflecting that to Google etc), if you are running larger sized sites you become a running target as you add more content and other things that would indicate ADVANCED/INCREASED growth to the algo (based on whatever they believe to be "natural" growth now I guess?). Doesn't even seem to matter AT ALL how great the content is in many cases...not just quality text, I'm talking full blown custom optimized media, etc.

So, there seems to be a "sweet spot" in the algo these days for smaller sites that are actually quality, but sites that DO NOT try to grow out of whatever classification Google deems them to be worthy of. And this classification, once it happens, it seems like no matter what you do you just cannot get out of it.

So, I am suggesting that these smaller sites are grabbing up all of the longtail traffic that Google will throw them, as they are fitting in where Panda is currently "demoting" the inner pages of older authority websites that Google has deemed to be growing too fast or that Google believes is trying to rank for search phrases above a certain search volume threshold and doesn't deserve to have that "intention".

It would not surprise me if in 6 months to a year all of these smaller tighter focused sites started getting hit by a newer version of Panda for "over-optimization" as the standard of "over optimization" is clearly changing rapidly and IMO things become quite blurry when you judge webmaster's intent once or twice with bot and human visits, and then cast long term classifications.

So building lots of smaller sites you are bound to "get in where you fit in", often quickly...lots of authority websites' inner pages are no longer ranking anywhere meaningful for lots of niches. You don't WANT these smaller sites to be legitimate brands or act like legitimate businesses really, because then they become a a target for Panda with all of those "legitimate" signals. Which is depressing as a webmaster IMO and it is the overall theme of what the OP is suggesting I believe.

So You can't be a "big guy". I can take that, that's fine I get it.
But now you can't SAFELY be a small or medium sized guy that WANTS to grow bigger. How big do you "intend" to grow? What are you intentions and do they align with our data of other websites that are in your niche classification? Where do we go from here? Yeesh

Branding is important IMO, but traffic of course comes first. When G is classifying the type of traffic your site will receive for an extended and usually LONG period of time based on unknowns though...well you go where the traffic is as quickly as possible. Which works out well for G because most folks will give up on organic search quickly and get their wallet out for AdWords at this point after losing an authority site. And IMO, right now the traffic many people lost with various Panda iterations is right there in broader longtails EMDs etc. So the folks that are brave are doing what the OP is witnessing. I don't think it is necessarily "risky" per se as many smaller sites I am seeing are quality all around...but it just really muddies the waters for the future of internet marketing...as if they weren't sludgy enough.


2:00 pm on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

I see a lot of people are doing in few 1000+ markets we maintain

Personally I cannot believe that anyone/company can have authoritative sites covering so many different markets, in fact I would say that it's an impossibility to do so.

That's what Panda's picked up on, generalised mush published by too many wannabe non-experts.


3:35 pm on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month Best Post Of The Month

That's what Panda's picked up on, generalised mush published by too many wannabe non-experts.

And it has a long way to go as there are still many, many such sites appearing in the SERPs. The whole thing was not helped by Google allowing everyone to run AdSense on any site. Google created its own monster and it's trying to put it back in a box, imho.


4:22 pm on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


Why would you want to wait 6months-1year for your site to get back its position when you can get a new site ranked within 2 months? I see this happen everyday. Niches we track the top 100 sites are pretty much same content just different domain names. Same design/same content/same stuff/ same 3 leaderboard ads on the top and such.

I wish I was in touch with Matt Cutts or Panda the guy who came up with this idea. They have created more JUNK/SPAM than ever before.

We have tried everything with our 10years+ old sites but none came back and guess who is ranking #1 on top right now?

Few guys from India that are spamming Google at large scale:

same design
same 3 adsense leaderboard ads
same freaking thesis theme (with same layout)
same junk content written by someone without any idea about the topic
same stolen images from our sites or others
same footer links across every site
same spammy profile links, hidden links, hack links

Every time they got hit with Panda they started new sites and again they are ranking on top. Currently for some keywords the top 10 results are 4-5 of their own website the rest are legit sites.


I have no idea, but I see stolen/rewritten content still ranking. If copied content is not ranking then just have someone write another 500 words article on the topic and you will rank. You may get pandalized again and again but at least you know that your new domain will rank rather than your pandalized one.


Thank you so very much your feedback, indeed G has messed up things with their Panda Madness..

And yes small sites with 4-5 pages and lots of media and dynamic stuff seem to get passed by Panda, however if you have a big site then YES you are asking to be nuked by G.


I have seen similar cases.


Indeed that is where it is going, they have started a new ERA of spam.


For past 15 years I have seen it all my friend. Like I said only if I were friends with Matt and Panda guy to show them what on earth is happening currently. I guess it will continue unless we know what on earth is "QUALITY CONTENT" to Google.


4:45 pm on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


Do you 301 the old site to the new site?


4:45 pm on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

To prevent such new sites from ranking, G needs to readjust their domain age filter further and put more weight on links. The way it's going, they can easily just change their balance any which way at any time so eventually, the new/small site strategy may not last long either. With each Panda run, you'll see a new purge. I'm guessing that what you are seeing with new sites ranking is the "honeymoon" period, perhaps to assess their worth (in their current standing). Then they are subsequently demoted after that period. Also, perhaps those sites have not been hit by a Panda run as of yet?

Is it possible that at some point, the algo quality cycles will happen much more frequently so that the clean ups happen in real time -- if so, then spam of this sort may not have long to exist. My observation is that there doesn't seem to be any permanence to the SERPs anymore.


5:01 pm on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

I recovered from Panda, but I took a huge hut on Dec 8th/9th on one of my most profitable sites.


7:26 pm on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Doesn't even seem to matter AT ALL how great the content is in many cases...not just quality text, I'm talking full blown custom optimized media, etc.

Being 'diversified' is the word. Good web content in the eyes of the search engines contains: video, images, organized text, social media signals, infographic, bla bla bla.

Thanks for your analysis to the current situation.
I believe many have read what you've wrote here-above with great interest.
Not so many SEO "master" websites could write about Panda in that sense-base experience as you just did.


10:26 pm on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member zeus is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

ErnestHemingway - that also How I started do this in sep. 2011 where I could see this is a permanent ban of sites with no reason, so I bought several new domains to replace the old with new content, the old will stay, but it will just be SE fill over, I will not touch a thing on the old sites be cause they are perfect as they are and I build site for users not for google.

Its a shame that 1 SE rules the internet, but lets see what Bing does with time.

Ohh about .in site I also see a lot of those with pure content and they love linkexchanges, 5-10 is ok, but they have alot.

In my category for keyword "widget widget" i get 66.000.000 results I have been dumped to page 3 and the site from india is no.1 does heavy linkexchange and on every single page they have HUGE HUGE amount of comment spam with links to spam.

[edited by: zeus at 10:46 pm (utc) on Jan 6, 2012]


10:38 pm on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Its a shame that 1 SE rules the internet....

Or, it's a great opportunity, depending on how you look at it. I doubt many people were complaining about google's "monopoly" when they were at number 1 for their chosen keywords... ;)


12:34 am on Jan 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I doubt many people were complaining about google's "monopoly" when they were at number 1 for their chosen keywords

No one would ever "complain" about being #1, but that is not to say that those of us that enjoyed that position were not acutely aware how tenuous it was. I've been in the top spot for various terms pointing to various websites and I always knew that it could change in a NY minute. And for that reason I would guess that almost every single person here, even when they were #1, wanted more evenly distributed competition. At this point Google will have to do a major league screw-up to fall from grace, or, some other SE will have to come along with such a phenomenal interface & results as to blow them off the map. Neither in my opinion will happen. Google may mess up now & then, but not enough to pull the plug; and others may try to enter the fray, but none will have the extreme levels of finance available to buy the talent & the storage. So we'll be dealing with a 75%+ market share Google as far out as the eye can see. Those of us that have fallen vis-a-vis Panda will probably stay down if we keep doing what we've been doing (we all know what Einstein said about doing the exact same thing over & over and expecting different results). So re the OP, the choice is simple: Either look at approaches that we would not have considered in the past, or accept the diminished positions we now find ourselves in. Neither choice is pleasant, but that's life in Panda World.



1:30 am on Jan 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Just to add some fuel to the fire, we've created a similar site to our big one that's currently pandalized, different content but same structure & within 2 months it's absolutely killing it in the SERPS.

So what's a webmaster to do? Same structure has survived a Panda iteration & is doing well whereas the main site is tanking. Where does Google think we are going to focus our efforts? There's only so much time & money we can put into a site that's showing little to no signs of recovery.


1:54 am on Jan 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

within 2 months it's absolutely killing it in the SERPS.

Congrats ~ this thread has more "recovered" stories than we've heard in a while.

A few quick questions to all those who created new sites and successfully circumvented Panda:

~ Did you also use an entirely different hosting service;

~ Did you register the domain under a different owner name;

~ Did you add the new sites to your GWT account;

~ Did you add any links from the new site to your older site(s).

You see where I'm going with this ~ in other words, are you doing your best to separate yourself from the Pandalyzed site? (so Google cannot make the connection and thus penalize you by association).



4:06 am on Jan 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


Yes I have seen some spammers are doing this as well.


I hope so as long as that update is for good and quality sites don't get hit. Hubpages did the same thing brought all of their content on subdomain and bang they were ranking for tons of keywords so in a sense it is working at sub-domain level as well. I seriously HOPE Google will fix this.


We never recovered fully to that 100% level. We tried everything and it got worst and worst. This is for one of our website where we are the real brand and the rest are our affiliates or MFA sites.


We have tried tons and tons of layout with different design, content, images, videos, etc etc but no luck never recovered 100%.


I was not talking about .in but I guess it is worst in Google India.


I was never so active on this forum before Panda. This update has messed up REAL GOOD SITES that is the sad part. I still have sites in top position.

The reason most of us are going through hard time is that the current top#3 are nowhere near our content nor deserve the position. They break all the rules/regulations and still they are ranking.


It looks like best alternative just start all over and your overall investment and time will be much less than if you were to work on your site that got hit by Panda. What really killed me was that my "widget" site which I can show to anyone and they would agree it is better than top 40 results. I am now on page 5th.

Just because I don't do some stupid social stuff? But I feel nobody wants to talk about my niche in social sphere unless I hire people to do fake tweets and likes.


Niches that we track, it seems that smart ones are taking those measures you have mentioned however it is not necessary.

I see same hosting, same domain whois, same GWT, same Adsense account, same design, same theme, same content, same stolen images, and so on. Just FRUSTRATING.


5:46 am on Jan 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

No offense to those asking, but I've already detailed my recovery story multiple times on this board, and am not going to rehash it every time I'm here.

What I will tell you is that nothing in my experience will be of any help in recovering and I live in fear that I may slapped again at any point because I still have no idea why.


5:47 am on Jan 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ErnestHemingway Because I'm not a spammer and I'm not in it for short term gain or keyword manipulation.


5:57 pm on Jan 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I live in fear that I may slapped again at any point because I still have no idea why

Isn't this exactly what Google wants? From there POV, doesn't this make Panda a total success?

~ We don't know why we fell from grace;

~ We don't know what we need to do to restore our positions;

~ We look above us and are completely perplexed how some of those sites managed to move up.

In other words, the execution and outcome of Panda is almost entirely inscrutable ~ exactly what Google set out to do. No longer can any SEO firm spam the web with "guaranteed first page results", no longer can anyone plug-in certain keywords at certain places and expect a high ranking. Nothing is assured, nothing is understood ~ there is only Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt, which as all authoritarian organizations & countries understand, translates into power and control. Google hit a bullseye ~ market position retained, profits up, SEO down, webmasters confused & scared ~ it's no wonder they are patting themselves on the back.



7:02 pm on Jan 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

@Reno - yeah, but the SERPS are often the worse for it.


7:56 pm on Jan 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Nothing is assured, nothing is understood

Doesn't that describe all marketing - in fact all business success, and even life altogether?

There's an idea we all lived with here in the early days of the web - that certain kinds of technical actions should GUARANTEE good rankings. That isn't really viable for the long term.

As I see it, Panda is a first step, still flawed of course, toward the removal of this idea - that technical precision of certain kinds should equal search traffic. Technical SEO can support good search engine traffic, because you remove obstacles and generate clear signals. But that's just support, it's not the core of what is really needed.

There's got to be more, or else it's like saying a retail shop should succeed merely because they have good decor and follow all the building codes.


9:05 pm on Jan 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Reno, I 100% agree with everything you just said.

It is not about the relative "best" website anymore IMO. It is all about what the Panda algo classifies your website as (what type of website is this and how much/what type of traffic should I ultimately be sending this website), and then trying to work within the increasingly tighter "phrase framework" that Google is "generously" allowing your website to appear in their SERPs for. Also you might get lucky in various 3-6 month intervals and notice slight percentage increases and a slightly larger "phrase framework" you are allowed to compete within. So much for "best" and "quality" emphasis when you already now know "out the gate" that it is MORE important to spread your time/money investment around, rather than "accidentally" pigeonhole yourself by building a large website that may want to target other topics in the future. Again, they have basically "stolen" your own intent out from under you and replaced it with THEIR intent, REGARDLESS of "quality" signals all things considered.

Another interesting and likely highly-related tidbit I've been picking up on lately...A lot of these smaller 5-10 pager sites I am seeing are going extremely content-heavy on their homepages (specifically the EMDs). I'm talking like 7,000 words average here, where normally I'd be seeing something like 1,500 average words on the homepages for the ten SERP results in such niches/niche search queries.

The kicker I am noticing MORE AND MORE the past few months is that these homepages also seem to be targeting around 5-7 keywords, where normal/pre-Panda SEO best practices would suggest that you not target more than 1-3 primary keywords per page. IMO Google's got some "page-count dilution" factor at play with Panda that makes it very hard to rank internal pages on sites that are not formally recognized/deserving of the "Brand/Authority/Can rank in longtail SERPs outside of our strict search-phrase classifications for unknown reasons" by Google. This would be in line with the whole content-farm detection/intention thing we're discussing here.

This makes sense to me as a year ago it was ridiculously simple to choose an EMD, rank the homepage, and within a few months have related longtail/LSI/inner pages ranking well as well. Well, with content costs being so cheap, this encouraged people to go a bit "crazy" targeting every relevant term all willy nilly in their niche....so PANDA comes along to help Google clear-out a lot of this general rehashed stuff.

IMO, that little rankings "boost" from EMDs is still available from EMDs, but NOW it seems to only apply to the homepage/homepage content, rather than helping folks rank better for their inner pages. So, people apparently are reconsidering "normal SEO" best practices in some of the terms I am following by loading up all of their obviously targetet KWs right on the homepage. So, instead of having a page for each keyword, they just throw everything onto an EMD.

The interesting thing is that these types of site homepages are ranking REALLY well for those 5-7 KWs from what I have seen. Pre-panda most people would certainly frown at this approach, but I don't know what to think anymore. So, if you have 8 keywords you want to rank for, these days in some niche classifications maybe you are better off throwing ALL of your content (text and optimized media that you "intend" to rank) on the homepage of an EMD. Folks are taking advantage of an apparent boost with the EMD here, and not just the typical boost for that exact-match term, but an entire keyword "grouping". Google is clearly trying to give more weight to the homepage with Panda/brand signals at play here to avoid their expanded definition of content-farms that was popular a year ago. What I am describing seems to be a "side-effect" of this domain/folder power redistribution/dilution. Again, just my opinion. Who knows how long this type of thing will have any ranking power though.

I am thinking more and more that Panda changed SEO as we know it, but not in the ways we are typically reading about. All the stuff people say that Panda targets and the stuff that you should do to get "out" of Panda is still pretty much stuff most of us have been doing all along...there are obviously other things going on that are more important, but maybe Google doesn't want to fill us lowly webmasters in with the details because it would be admitting that the SERPs (for worthwhile queries) are not about what is BEST for users any longer, but what is BEST for the CURRENT algo. What is BEST for your users will not expose you to new users and allow you to grow as a person/business/ THROUGH Google any longer. So why would webmasters be writing JUST for their users again? Do they enjoy talking to brick walls as much as I do?

Is this not EXACTLY the type of thing Google wants to avoid in the future? "Don't write for search engines..." REALLY?
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