Google have announced that they have updated their core ranking algorithm with immediate effect so as to push down poor quality content sites (content farms) and reward the top spots to relevant sites. This move reiterates Google’s aim to give people the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible.
A report released by Sistrix has outlined the biggest losers from this algorithm update include ezinearticles which lost 90% visibility in the search results.
Though Google did make some minor changes in their algorithm in January the results weren’t as significant as this change which has seen an 11.8% reshuffle of keyword positioning.
So how does this new algorithm differentiate good sites from bad?
Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal from Google have explained that the new algorithm works similar to a search engine user. It looks at websites that contains original information and compares it to those sites that contain duplicate, low-quality or irrelevant content and are regarded as ‘not-so-useful-sites’. Google also used some external testers who reviewed a number of sites.
While this update, being dubbed the Google Panda Update, has led to some deserving sites going down in their rankings, some innocent site owners have complained of a sudden drop in their positioning and loss of traffic up to 40% within 24 hours of the new algorithm implementation.
Has your ranking and traffic been impacted?
Google has said that this update will reduce the ranking of sites that don’t contain useful content, so here is a checklist of what your site must include:
- Original content (not aggregated or syndicated from other sources)
- Authoritative information (content that answers people questions and that they find credible, not just words about a topic)
- Compelling added value (if the content isn’t unique, does the page add significant value over the original source?)
- Significant user engagement, including links and social sharing
- Valuable content across the entire site
If you think you have been unfairly penalized, then Google has started a thread in their webmaster discussion forum where you can provide them with more details on your specific situation. However, please note that you may not see things fixed quickly. Google has made it clear that the algorithm was updated to improve overall search quality. It didn’t target specific sites and the update is based solely on signals across the whole internet. Therefore, Google can’t manually restore your rankings and they aren’t going to roll back the change. Here is the official word from Google:
Note that as this is an algorithmic change we are unable to make manual exceptions, but in cases of high quality content we can pass the examples along to the engineers who will look at them as they work on future iterations and improvements to the algorithm.
Has your site been impacted by this update? Feel free to share in the comments section below.