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Panda (NOT PENGUIN) Refresh - began June 8, 2012

     
3:51 pm on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

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From the "A Googler" account on Twitter:

FYI Panda data refresh started rolling out on Friday. Less than 1% of queries noticeably affected in the U.S. & 1% worldwide.

[twitter.com...]
2:16 pm on June 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@ Andylew

The way it is working for us is panda hits and removes the 'duff' pages from the serps.


Is your site by chance an eCommerce site?

I am trying to figure out what the "duff" pages of my ecommerce site are. Possibly I have to many similar products with not enough difference in the text?
3:37 pm on June 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I tried searching for medical information regarding the spleen and seizures (using that phrase)... 7 out of the top 20 results are hogged by a single website which is just a confusing mess of links. Another set of 3 results in the top 20 are from another domain. This is ridiculous. Panda and Penguin are simply getting it wrong. Binged it and got some good information.


I see the same thing in my area. Two sites are getting as many as 7 total spots out of 10 on page one.

Another thing I've seen: all the good information-driven sites in my niche, sites that focused on providing good quality information, started a precipitous decline back in 7/2011. All of them. In their place now stand the two afore-mentioned sites and a ton of ehow pages.

Panda and Penguin are simply getting it wrong


They're getting it right from their perspective because its driving up google revenue.
3:59 pm on June 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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They're getting it right from their perspective because its driving up google revenue.


In the short term, yes. In the long term results like this will destroy Google as a serious search engine. I have not seen such useless results since altavista.

Surely these are not permanent. If they are tests then I hope for Google's sake they complete them soon.
4:03 pm on June 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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They're getting it right from their perspective because its driving up google revenue.

I read this here again and again, and I understand where the bitterness comes from, but where's the evidence for this claim?
4:16 pm on June 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I haven't seen any evidence of this, either.

However, one thing I have seen - and this might be something purely coincidental but MIGHT actually cause an unintended legal issue - is that a lot of sites that are members of the Search Partners network (or that participate in Adsense) are ranking high.

One could see how google would benefit financially by giving preferred ranking to sites that generate income for google via search partners / adsense.

Again, no evidence this was intentional.
11:52 pm on June 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@Planet13

My site is an eCommerce site and it got hit. I may have issues similar to what you are describing though I had blocked the matching content pages in my robots file to avoid duplicate content.
12:36 am on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'm not so doom and gloom about all this. The fact Cutts said it's an algo and anyone can recover says something to me. I think personally there is a lot of misguided efforts right now. Troubleshooting problem X when it's actually problem Y. Taking a step back might help realize that you're looking in the wrong problem area. Personally until I get an email from Google saying my site is suffering from problem X, I won't assume it's problem X. I will assume it's both problem X and Y and work on that premise or simply give up.
1:38 am on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'd say if you're pretty darn sure you know what the problem is, then changing that might be smart. But if you don't know what the problem is, then do nothing.

Unless you're like me. I decided to take this opportunity to change everything. I'd been debating these changes for a while, but afraid if I made them it would kill me in Google. Well, now that I'm dead in Google, why not make them? They are all changes I believe will please visitors.
2:49 am on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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3 previously pandalized sites (~ 5-7 years old) received another -10-20% blow. One newly built site ( <1 year old) consists of 50 pages got a 20% boost in traffic.

Less is better?
3:38 am on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps design is better? Cutts recently said that if you can't get a site to recover after making changes, he said you may have to launch a new site. Was he referring to Panda or Penguin? That comment has stuck with me. Perhaps I'm reading too much into it.
3:54 am on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Sounds to me like he's saying he knows they can and do place permanent manual penalties on select entire domains despite that they will never admit it. For instance if a competitor falsely accuses you of selling links to boost PR.
4:07 am on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Cutts recently said that if you can't get a site to recover after making changes, he said you may have to launch a new site.

Can you find a link for that quote?

Questions I have:
1) Was Matt talking about a full redesign using the existing domain, or moving your entire business to a completely new domain?

2) Was he talking specifically about a Panda recovery? (MikeNoLastName, Panda is algorithmic and not manual.
4:35 am on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'll see what I can find. It was a video. I'm sure I can figure it out from my history. It may have been regarding Penguin, but either way to hear him say you may need to launch a new site can be interpreted many ways. I take some of his words at tremendous value because I don't think he mixes words. This may be harder to find than I thought. It must have been embedded in a page. Dang.
4:37 am on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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My point is he's probably saying if it doesn't recover, the problem is not due to Panda/Penguin, but something completely different. i.e. all penguin/panda issues SHOULD be recoverable from.
4:42 am on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Beside # of pages and design, another key difference between old and new site is the amount of paginated pages. The old sites have many paginated pages whereas the new one has none. I'm implementing rel="prev"/"next" (just found out today) in all affected sites to see if it matters in the next panda refresh.
7:01 am on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Dang I took a lot of time looking. The best I could do was find a discussion about it. I'm glad to have looked into this again. Sorry this is off topic because his comments are relating to Penguin not Panda. Anyways, his original comment was this: "If youíve cleaned and still donít recover, ultimately, you might need to start all over with a fresh site, Cutts said.

I've found this comment which clarifies that bombshell.

"Some comments Cutts made in the past about starting over with your site if you were hit by Penguin, scared some, but this was brought up again during the keynote. ďSometimes you should. Itís possible to recover, but if youíre a fly-by-night spammer, it might be better to start over,Ē heís quoted as saying."
7:31 am on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Note that the source of the Matt Cutts quote is from this SearchEngineLand report of a Q&A session between Danny Sullivan and Matt Cutts... and yes, the comments are more or less off-topic to this thread, because their discussion was primarily about Penguin...

Matt Cutts On Penalties Vs. Algorithm Changes, A Disavow-This-Link Tool & More
Jun 5, 2012 at 7:57pm ET by Matt McGee
[searchengineland.com...]

That said, the "fly-by-night" sentiment can be applied to both updates.
1:22 pm on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Does anybody see less traffic today, too?
It seems like the weekly thursday update.

It is now since 3 weeks that we go down with traffic on thursday, over the week it will rise about 30% till wendsday.
3:27 pm on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Since the latest Twittered Panda refresh date, my traffic from Google is definitely down a little more. I got hit by Penguin, and my traffic had been in a weirdly exact trough-and-valley pattern each week since. Now it's just the valley, and looking at my stats, I'd have said it changed on the 9th (with the Panda refresh happening on the 8th).

I think the whole zoo is out to get my site, LOL.
4:51 pm on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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They're getting it right from their perspective because its driving up google revenue.

I read this here again and again, and I understand where the bitterness comes from, but where's the evidence for this claim?


I'm not too bitter. I sold my site to Internet Brands in California 6-9 months before this stuff started happening. Prior to that, my former site had weathered every single update going back to the Florida update with nearly no effect. It was cleanly built, solidly rooted, no link buying, or anything that whiffed of anything. That site is still the top site in its niche. But, it commands only 60 percent of its former traffic. Every single other site in the niche that is worth anything in terms of conveying useful and helpful information has been completely hammered down. Coincidentally enough, many of the sites now populating the serps for primary and secondary phrases are heavy adwords users. Ehow is extremely prominent. The most interesting aspect of what has happened is that the pie has been divided many many more ways now in terms of how many different sites that are being returned for certain phrases. This may look like some form of democratization to some, but the net effect is that nobody can really gain any kind of foothold. They are herded toward adwords, that is, unless they want to back to tv, radio, or print advertising (legal niche).

Google effectively owns the web. And that won't change until there's a better alternative. I think when the change comes one day it will occur as a result of an entirely new search technology that doesn't rely on huge server farms, the cost of which is a bar to most would-be competitors. That's probably a few years off and when it comes it will stun people because it will be entirely unpredicted. For now, I'll settle for taking pleasure in bits of new like apple replacing google maps with tom tom and chopping a huge percentage of google maps mobile user base off.
5:12 pm on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@Ifgoal, do you have any real idea what that alternative search technology might look like? Just curious. Sorry I'm off topic.
8:20 pm on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Probably down by another 20% since Saturday night.

I say 'probably' as its all a bit odd - all my normal metrics show the drop, Adsense down, WMT down etc.

We have some useless free stats package on the server, and it shows the drop in visitors as well.

Normally I don't bother with the actual figure just the trend as all stats packages are different.

So I ran the logs through AWstats ( mods delete name if required ) - these show an INCREASE in visitors and Google referals.

Weird ...
11:47 pm on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Very interesting thing i now saw in google results: for the most competitive keywords in my niche there is about 20 websites on the first 3 google result pages which belong to the same company. And all these sites are duplicates of each other, all having the same url structure example:
domain1.com/q=widget&s=10&g=30
domain2.com/q=widget&s=10&g=30

These domains are all have links to one another.
Everything on these domains are the same, only the design is different, but they didn't care too much, some of them just different by colour. And now the funny part:
I checked several one word kewords and the first 3 pages of google are full of their domains! So in the first 30 results - i counted it - there are 3 other sites which belong to different companies, all others are from these duplicate domains...


On top of everything these sites are content farms, they all consist of scraped content.

I can't believe that they "live" like this after pandas and penguin...
Maybe MC should release his snake, cause the panda and the penguine are just so dumb.
7:44 am on June 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Very interesting thing i now saw in google results: for the most competitive keywords in my niche there is about 20 websites on the first 3 google result pages which belong to the same company.

menntarra 34 - We're discussing results that sound very similar in this thread....

Host Crowding vs Brand Authority
[webmasterworld.com...]

From one of my posts in the thread...
I just saw one that took up 16 or 17 positions over 3 pages, yet oddly I do not see the effect at all in many niches where I'd expect to see it.
4:37 pm on June 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@Ifgoal, do you have any real idea what that alternative search technology might look like? Just curious. Sorry I'm off topic.


No idea of course. It will probably spring forth from the mind of some current 14 year old who is five years away from dropping out of college and handing google its lunch.
11:38 am on June 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Cutts recently said that if you can't get a site to recover after making changes, he said you may have to launch a new site.


I'd also really like a link to that quote/page if possible.

I really loathe the idea that there may be webmasters out there who are trying to support a family and have no chance of improving their situation because they don't know that their site has been put to pasture. I hope that's not what he meant.
12:33 pm on June 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Cutts recently said that if you can't get a site to recover after making changes, he said you may have to launch a new site.


MC said this relating to Penguin not Panda though...

It was in an interview from Danny Sullivan and MC.

Two Weeks In, Google Talks Penguin Update, Ways To Recover & Negative SEO
link: [searchengineland.com...]


".........What that means is that if some of your site is deemed Penguin-like, all of it may suffer. Again, recovery means cleaning up the spam. If youíve cleaned and still donít recover, ultimately, you might need to start all over with a fresh site, Cutts said......."
1:11 pm on June 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Then there was another interview between Dan and Matt at SMX Advanced 2012, but the question was phrased a bit differently, about a month later:


DS: If you were hit by Panda and Penguin, should we just give up? (audience roars with laughter)

MC: Sometimes you should. Itís possible to recover, but if youíre a fly-by-night spammer, it might be better to start over.
3:00 pm on June 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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If I felt sure that ONLY fly by night spammers would find it hard to recover, I'd feel okay about Cutts' advice there. But no system is perfect. Some innocents are bound to get caught in this big web Google is casting.

I wonder if the reason Google started issuing unnatural link messages is in anticipation that if the govt ever intervenes, it might force them to start communicating to webmasters "Here is what you have done wrong. Here are things to do that will get you back in our good graces."

But of course that's problematic. What gets you back in with Google today will almost surely be considered spam someday, because Google defines spam as "anything that gets a site in good with us."
4:36 pm on June 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I think what Cutts was really saying is that it's going to take time/effort to regain lost rankings from these new algo's (panda/penguin). Most spammers are in for the quick buck and he's saying those people have a LOT of work to do. New site is better for spammers. Advice for spammers? Interesting.

I have smaller sites for the most part. I've seen a recovery. The way I'm approaching this is that each algo (peng/panda) is like a test. Did I do enough to pass the test and get back? If not, I will continue tweaking if I have the patience or persistence. Or I will decide to walk away. The way I feel is that my site isn't solid enough at the time panda/penguin ran. It doesn't mean game over. It means I haven't done enough. It seems the updates are one to two months from Google. I'm not expecting changes to ranking to happen in the meantime. It's only on those algo dates that I will get discouraged. Like I said I had one bounce back which has me more optimistic. My site isn't massive and thus didn't require 1000 hours of work. I go back to Cutts saying it's only an algo and anyone can bounce back. I think if they keep it consistent we will all voice the various clues and be able to make the right tweaks and be back in the game eventually.
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