The Panda UK Update Winners And Losers
I’ve been writing a fair bit about Google’s Panda update over the last month or so, as it seems have scores of other SEO’s from around the country (particularly now that the update has been officially rolled out in the United Kingdom). It’s easy to see why – the US update affected around 12% of search queries (a substantial change compared to Google’s regular algorithm updates) and the UK roll-out has seen a further 2% of long-tail searches affected.
As you can imagine then, a huge number of websites have seen substantial drops in rankings, or have been dispersed from the index altogether. Inevitably, this has led to some sites being ‘promoted’ in the SERPS, giving us a collection of winners and losers from the Panda update.
The full effects of the update on UK based sites has been outlined by web analytics company SearchMetrics, who put together a comprehensive list of the biggest winners and losers from the UK roll-out (included at the bottom of this post).
It’s certainly been an interesting update, and examining some of the most affected sites brings up some pertinent questions about exactly how the algorithm is viewing and rankings sites, and how we can improve our own SEO campaigns.
One of the most immediately interesting ‘losers’ is Microsoft-owned review site Ciao, which saw a monumental 94% drop in search engine visibility (in terms of Google). Obviously Microsoft is a major competitor to Google, and the more cynical amongst you may look at this drop with a raised eyebrow, but Google will insist the drop is algorithmic (as opposed to a manual penalty) and I’d be inclined to believe them, particularly given the recent complaints from Microsoft to the European Commission, accusing Google of unfaily leveraging their monopoly in the search world.
Other major losers include Amazon-backed DooYoo, as well as technology websites Pocket Link, TechEye, Tech Radar and the popular Computer Weekly, all of whom have seen substantial drops in rankings and visibility. Many SEO’s will be pleased to see that infamous content farms Mahalo and eHow also saw major drops, with the latter causing a fair amount of controversy after escaping the US Panda update relatively unscathed.
Many of the tech-based websites to have seen a decline in visibility have confused SEO’s, as a good number of them boast genuinely great content, which is 100% original. After having a look at a few of them however, I think their drops are likely to be down to the redirection of affiliate links (surprisingly common amonst some of the hardest hit sites) and/or overly aggressive advertising – the altering of which will probably see them regain a lot of their positions over time.
Some of the sites to have seen an increase in rankings include Google-owned YouTube (interesting) and competitor Vimeo, as well as high profile platforms such as eBay, BlogSpot and news sites Metro, The Independent, The Mirror (not sure about that one), Mashable and TechCrunch.
Here’s the full list of winners and losers, courtesy of SearchMetrics (numbers on the right are the change in percentage in terms of Google results page visibility):
Post by John Pring – Follow him on Twitter (@john_pring)