Google Panda. Was the measure necessary to clean up a really dirty web search system? Absolutely. Was its construction and execution a value proposition akin to other Google products? Arguable, at best. A great many pages of highly relevant content all but disappeared from Google Com. Why is this important, you say? Let me elaborate.
When Google first announced they would be getting the SPAM out, every so called “white hat SEO” expert on the planet rejoiced. And, a lot of us who thoroughly enjoy, and are not to damned lazy to, type out original posts – we were thrilled too. Finally! A chance to rate higher than some BS Mashable blurb, a TMZ two liner, The India Times paraphrasing (in bad English at times) somebody else’s report. Eureka. The promised land of citizen journalism. All your hard work will pay off now.
Much analysis has been done as to what happened when Google flipped the Panda switch. Just today I noticed the latest Panda update, one supposed to deal with still more issues. To be honest, though I should be more attuned, now it seems fruitless to care. The article you are reading might once have reached 5,000 eyeballs, fairly I might add, and now a few will see it. Mostly because of Panda, a roll-out by a company set not to do evil, but one that resembles Chucky from the film Child’s Play, only in bear form.
This situation would not be so unfair, if Everything PR News had SPAMMED, used black hat SEO, copy pasted articles, linked via link farms, and so on. We never did. In fact, we supported Google at every turn in chastising those who did. I won’t go on about our plaudits and merits. That is useless. What seems most significant for me at this point are two things fundamentally wrong. First, and maybe foremost, the methods of reaching Google when there is a problem, and the typical resultant echo from the search giant, is laborious to the extreme. Just looking at the “Official Webmaster Central Blog” shows a system bogged down with rhetoric – determined to put the bulk of work on the Webmaster, a mountain of reading and study, when just telling stories and reporting should be enough.
Let me quote from the official post about “guidance on building high quality sites” – a topic our pals at Google, their PR, the media machine if you will, have churned out at every corner of the lucid SEO web. (my term).
“…Of course, we aren’t disclosing the actual ranking signals used in our algorithms because we don’t want folks to game our search results; but if you want to step into Google’s mindset, the questions below provide some guidance on how we’ve been looking at the issue:”
The blog goes on to list no less than 23 key issues Google has been “looking into” where this issue is concerned. Okay. As someone who writes jargon for clients, I can ask the following question. And this is one for everyone to pay attention to.
“Why did Google roll out Panda if there were still so many issue to look at where quality and effect were concerned?”
Is “looking at” issues something that is done after the horse has left the corral? Expert spin doctors be damned, this logic comes through as flawed, as we travel farther down the road. This sort of corporate BS so heavily favors the big publishers. Everyone literally forced to hire an SEO expert, their own webmaster, just to keep pace. Hell, we have our own built in SEO guru, and EPR is still in the garbage heap! What of the skilled, yet unfunded citizen reporter out there, the artistic wonder who puts out stuff you would love to read, see, enjoy, but never will? Am I about to roll out a windmill tilt here?
Looking into our own situation today, one thing Panda did to us (or some evil twin at Google) was push some pages of very high relevance for the web – and massive traffic influence (not to mention other ranking stuff) for us – way down, down, down in the rankings. Breaking it down, just consider we type our fingers to the bone, pay authors to contribute, for zip from Google. And we are in Google News! Look at the following.
Before Panda took effect. A great many Everything PR stories were ranked very high by Google Com. A query for two time Olympic figure skating champion, Katarina Witt would invariably lead searchers to my article, its update, and a direct link to her personal publicist. On the social media side of this, Katarina tweeting a personal thanks for the effort to fix something, and other factors, made this article perfectly suited to what Matt Cutts and Google would call “quality” content.
The image above shows the placements for the search “Katarina Witt Playboy” – as you can see, my article, even Katarina’s Wikipedia profile, is not in the top 5. In fact, the article read by, tweeted on, and seen by more Googler’s than any currently in the top 5, is GONE! But first look at what is sitting in the number two position. 65 words and the same images Google has shown from across the web for over a decade, on a site that appears to do exactly what Cutts and Google were supposed to eradicate. The Playboy images Anorak shows off under that blurb, they could be the property of Playboy? Lawsuits by the publisher are in the news all the time.
Sorry, But WTF Is Anorak?
Anorak the person, is an obsessive compulsive taken over by populist cliche things. As for being misunderstood like most anorak’s , I am interested that the site Anorak has a Google Page Rank of 2. I know, my partner, all you SEO types will chime in – PR no longer matters. But how come? Why is it still there? And how does a 65 word lead in equal any form of quality? And Anorak has one heck of a Google + contingency. It barely exists! And I believed enough to engage like a madman there. Buttons and shares, and la dee dah. But wait! There’s more.
In the number one search position for Katarina, LA Late. Now here is an article of beauty. I won’t even go into how chopped up and mediocre this rubbish is. The India Times looks like the New York Times when it comes to anything like quality. Some links, a bit of sensation, and bleeeeck! Here you go readers, little chunks of Katarina, all diced up to be original images via LA Late’s SEO guru. LMAO.
Wait, I am not done. Far from it. For Google Panda ranking superiority, I offer another in position 3 (with my network turned on, I might add).
Brooklyn Freaking Antiques???
A site called Brooklyn Antiques is next, with something about Kat in a Russian Playboy. This is likely a result for me since we are in Germany. LMAO again. Zimbio is next with a bunch of Playboy covers, I’ll actually buy this result – but not before Katarina Witt Wikipedia or via Playboy somehow. I mean this one does have 121 words leading in and two pics with Katarina on them. Oh, and Zimbio gets another ranking right under the other one for another blurb, 100 something words there too, and the same images we’ve seen for years. TopTenz, a Page Rank 1 site with no text is next. And next again. The finally Wikipedia, followed by Forbes.
Where does Everything PR News’ story rank within my own network? Top of page three searching the title. How’s that for serving me my personal and intelligent results? She is German too, BTW, and lives 100 miles from here. (not that Google should know that)
The keen observer, the astute SEO guru out there, Matt Cutts himself, they are thinking; “Yes, but what about with your personal results hidden?” I find myself loving my Titanic sinking if only for the joy of finding the hole in the hull. Toggling personal results makes no difference at all.
Let me just sum up this, the second of what will likely be many rants to come about Panda and mediocrity. The Katarina Witt article(s) I wrote are not the only ones trashed in Google’s index. When Google chopped us down and then added us back to Google News, something very strange happened. To get how frustrating this is for good publishers, do some simple math. Let’s say this Katarina Witt article brought in 20 visits a day (this is very conservative actually). Now, multiply this article by similar ones for Bruce Jenner, Bollywood legend Katrina Kaif (we ranked in position 3 on this one for months), and hundreds of others. Stop here and ponder this. Look at the image, then continue…
Fly In the Search Buttermilk
…now. 20 x 100 is 2000. Add in whatever Panda uses for a ranking now, other cumulative effects, and the fact that crap sites so often rank higher despite Panda’s glowing algorithm. In 2011 there were 70 million WordPress blogs alone. Let’s say 1% of those only got slammed by Panda in favor of some PR1 phenom. That’s 700,000 people. Let’s say each one made one page, only one page with any real relevance for Google users. Over half a million pages you might love to read, see, that might help you in some way. GONE. And this is more conservative then any Republican who ever lived.
Let me hear your view, and stay tuned for what happens next…
Maybe Google’s “Kingfisher” met with somebody’s welcome home – “bring home some mo money?” :)