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A Nightmare of an update: Google Panda


May 20, 2011

Google, we know you are trying to make the search space a better place for all of us. Your tireless efforts are certainly appreciated. Some of us may use other search engines from time-to-time, but we all know you to be the king. Of course, along with title and rewards comes responsibility. This entire debacle, called the Panda update, is a gross misuse of your power.

For the majority of users, Google controls how you search and how websites are found. This is too important an aspect of the Internet to apply rapid, significant change. While all of us understand the need for change, for something so widely used and interconnected with most everything accomplished online, it’s change needs to be small and gradual. That way, when you mess up, half the people in the world using Google don’t throw their hands towards the sky in an uproar.

Do you have a story about the impact of Google’s Search algorithm update? Share it in the comments.

People are genuinely ticked off about it, as they should be. Companies, business owners, entrepreneurs and many more have invested their time and money in efforts to rank well within Google search. We have all played by your game, read your requirements and suggestions on how to make our websites worthy of your notice. Some of these efforts have been drawn out over years. Developers, marketers and the like have hung on your words for the last decade and more, touting your guidelines, buying your products and using your services. How do you repay us? By debunking our hard fought rankings with the click of a button, making all that time and effort for nil.

For the last few months, more and more stories have surfaced concerning websites that used to rank well that have seen unprecedented drops in traffic and ranking, since the Google Panda update.

Some of the victims are individuals that run highly niche blogs, such as Nopy and his Blog:

“Those of you who run your own blogs may have heard about something called the Google Panda. From what I gather, it’s a new algorithm designed to improve Google’s search results. It works by bringing down the ranks of low-quality sites so that when you search for something like “anime”, you don’t get results that take you to a page selling memberships to “Hentai Key” or some other porn site. So what does this have to do with me? Well, 2 weeks ago I noticed a rapid decline in the amount of traffic Nopy’s Blog was getting, right around the time Panda was being implemented. Yes, I was Panda Slapped.”

(You can read the entire post at Nopy’s Blog. )

Others that were affected are long established businesses that are considered an authority in their industry. WebProNews ran an article describing such a business and how it was affected by the Google Panda update. Read about it here. The part of this story about Foner Books that really stands out is this:

“What Foner Books is best known for is my writing on publishing,” says Rosenthal. “Until the recent algo change, I was the #1 result for phrases like ‘book contract’ or ‘book contracts’, many queries related to book sales (I maintain an annually updated study of industry sales), and my page about Amazon Sales ranks, which was pretty famous back in the day, and through which I was able to help Chris Anderson out with some research for his book, ‘The Long Tail.’ And I was always [in the top] 10 in Google for “Self Publishing”, usually around #5. Now I’m maybe #30.”

How can Google justify any change to its algorithm that would knock a website, which is a recognized authority for its subject, from ranking first to ranking well below the second page of results?

Even large companies, such as the New York Times, have been affected by the algorithm update. Their website,, lost a significant amount of traffic due to the update. How much is ‘a significant amount’? Well, according to their data, it translates into a fall-off of just over 1 million points in their Organic Performance Index.

The point is: none of these websites or their owners deserved the ‘search slap’ they got from Google.

If your website was impacted by the Google Panda update, let us know in the comments below. The more people that complain about it, the better chance of preventing a mistake like this from happening again. So share your story with us, we’d love to hear it.

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