Google Denies Intentionally Demoting Ciao With The Panda Update

There’s been a huge amount of debate and speculation around Google’s Panda update, which was rolled out in the UK on the 11th April. Since the update, a considerable number of sites have seen their rankings either drop or improve substantially, with a handful suffering search visibility drops in excess of 90%.

One such site is Microsoft’s review platform Ciao, which saw an overall drop of 94% according to web analytics company SearchMetrics, who produced a list of ‘winners and losers‘ after the UK roll-out.

After such a considerable drop of a major competitor platform, many people were beginning to wonder whether or not Ciao was intentionally and manually penalised during the algorithm update. This has now been strongly denied by Google, with Scott Huffman (head of search evaluation at Google) stating:

If you think of the scale of what we’re talking about (referring to the Panda update), it’s almost absurd to say we could rig results

Whether or not Google did intentionally demote Ciao remains to be seen, but I’d be inclined to suggest that it’s more likely the drop is a result of the considerable amount of content published on Ciao that’s also available on other sites, such as the Amazon-backed DooYoo (which also saw a substantial drop in rankings). For people who write content on review sites (which almost always offer a reward or incentive scheme), it’s common practice to write one original review and publish it verbatim on several different review platforms (thus maximising the user’s rewards for that review). It shouldn’t be particularly surprising then that these sites are being punished as a result of that duplicate content, especially in an algorithm update that focused on content farms and un-original content.

Either way, this latest update won’t have done anything to help the worsening relationship between Google and Ciao (or Microsoft as a whole for that matter), particularly after the review site’s involvement in a recently instigated EU investigation into whether or not Google uses their dominance in the search market to limit the progress of rival sites and products.


Post by John Pring – Follow him on Twitter (@john_pring)

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