What is the Panda update?
It is the major algorithm update to Google search with the aim to improve the quality of the search engine results. It started in the US at the end of February but has now rolled out across the UK. Many sites have seen their rankings drop which means they will be getting a lot less traffic following on from the update.
(source of photo: http://terry.henfleet.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Google-Big-Panda-Update2.jpg)
The panda update has received a lot of criticism. The product comparison sites, reviews and voucher sites came off badly from the Panda update. Ciao’s UK site lost 94% of its SEO visibility after the update went live in the UK earlier this week. Ciao is the shopping comparison site owned by Microsoft and Ciao along with other Microsoft sites including Foundem and ejustice.fr complained to the EU that Google was abusing its dominant position by lowering the ranking of unpaid search results of competitor services in November.
In Google’s defence, they say the Panda update is aimed to reduce the visibility of “low quality websites” that carry duplicate content that can be found elsewhere on the web. Google has also reduced the visibility of sites that carry heavy advertising. Some sites like Mirror.c.uk, ITV.com and Metro.co.uk saw their visibility boosted by 20%.
However, many ligitimate sites which have duplicate content for product descriptions have also been punished. I was surprised when I saw the states about Qype, which lost almost 96% of its SEO visibility. Play.com, ehow.co.uk, about.com and Future Publishing’s Tech Radar also lost out.
I suggest you monitor your clients’ rankings and traffic to see what effect the panda update had on their site. Feel free to comment and share your results.
The table below shows the companies that have lost out and those who have benefited from the update. The data was compiled by SearchMetrics.