On Wednesday, February 23 2011, Google launched the Panda update - which is now being called "the Google Farmer update". This was a huge algorithmic change (algorithmic improvement, according to Google) which affected almost 12% of the search results.
The update was rolled out in the US only, with plans to roll it out globally over time.
Google says: "This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on." source
As you know, I was traveling when this hit last week so I didn't have the opportunity to scour the latest news & discussions on the topic. I've been catching up this week, mainly through the discussions with Elite Members in my forum.
Rick Wilson of http://www.ebizrantzandravez.com, an Elite Member in the ClickNewz forum, started an informative thread and great discussion on the Farmer update. I asked him to share some of those same views & resources with you here...
Rick says: I know that many here use EzineArticles.com to submit their articles to. I understand they have tough standards already but it looks like it's gonna get tougher for articles to "pass muster" there from now on.
Chris Knight has a blog post about what's happened at EzineArticles and what they're gonna do next. Looks like it's going to get ALOT tougher to submit to.
Some of the examples he listed are:
- We’re considering raising the minimum article word count to 400. Currently we give less exposure to articles that are between 250-400 words, but we still accept them. Thin content often comes under 400 words even though I have seen many high quality articles in the 250-400 range, it is rare. 600-850 words may become the new normal with 400 being the minimum.
- Expect to see our current article rejection rate (40.6%) climb by another ~20%.
- WordPress Plugin and API – We will no longer be accepting article submissions via these tools
- Articles that are advertorials were already targeted by our team, but they will now get a hyper-focus to reject.
Read more posts on what Ezine Articles is going to do:
ALL this has me thinking about article marketing these days ...
There was a not-so-surprising UPROAR when EZA (EzineArticles.com) initially announced after they got hammered by Google, that they were going to do away with 'do-follow' in their links in the resource box. Now, I can certainly understand why they (article submitters) would want that coveted "link juice". But the traffic would be my priority.
If I'm submitting articles to directories like EZA, I'm hoping to get traffic to my sites thru links allowed in the articles (link juice or not). IF your articles are actually good then you will generally get a decent click-thru rate. Any 'link juice' ('do-follow') from the links is just icing on the cake.
I think people put too much emphasis into the 'no-follow' issue anyway. And I think people better get used to it and plan accordingly from now on. The big 'G' is on the warpath again. AND they will be in the future.
Every time they do their 'war dance' there is some collateral damage. This time it was ALOT! Google seems to have a BIG 'double standard' most of the time, but I don't necessarily blame 'G' for what they are trying to do as search results AREN'T very good much of the time. As we all know when we try to sort thru the search results for something.
While there are certainly legit sites that were caught up in the collateral damage, I find it amusing that some of the people complaining the loudest are the ones with the splog type sites that shouldn't have been ranked so high in the first place. It's a bit of poetic justice.
I still see BAD, obviously crappy sites ranking above better sites.
Those over at SEObook.com show some stats and came up with some interesting findings: http://www.seobook.com/google-kills-ehows-competitors
Top Losses ...
Top Winners ...
The "top winners" is NO real surprise there - RIGHT?
Evidently about 12% of the SERPS will have been or will be affected by this change. So far it's been only in U.S. but will enentually be expanded worldwide soon. Gonna be VERY interesting in SEOland. The SEO forums are "lighting up"!
The 'cat and mouse' game between the SEO's and the big 'G' continues ...
Rick Wilson aka @CorpRebel
Resources For The Latest Google Algorithm Change (codename = Panda):
Blog Posts By Chris Knight & Staff At EzineArticles.com
I would be interested to know your thoughts and personal findings, and any resources/links you want to share. I'm opening this up for discussion as we all explore the implications of the Farmer Update - as both marketers and users. Leave your comment below! -Lynn