Google Panda Update: Google’s Obnoxious Attempt to Remove Web Spam

By Sidharth | Google

Back when I was in school, I was a good student. I was involved in extracurricular activities, I was badged as the “brightest” student in the class and, in all seriousness, everyone liked me for my down-to-earth nature. I realized I could do anything, but then, I also realized that doing everything doesn’t mean you will always succeed.

Life after school was even more enjoyable, I made a few great friends in college. However, it was one friend, Vikram, who staked my thoughts to a new level. He was, unquestionably, the real Tony Robbins for me. He knew exactly where I was standing in this realm of life, and for reasons I can’t seem to recall, he demanded me to delve into the internet world.

I learned two important things here: not to venture into everything all at once, and to focus on one thing at a time.

My new time killer: Blogging.

It didn’t take me long to figure out what blogging was all about. However, it did take me a while to get my first domain name. After purchasing in 2008, blogging started off with a bang — blogging was my new hobby — and whenever I had some time to kill, I stitched my opinions together, and published a couple of articles every week on this blog.

After a couple of months, blogging really began to kick off, and some popular sites linked to this blog which sparked my interest towards blogging to a greater extent. In 2009, a local newspaper interviewed me for my “achievements” in blogging. Traffic saw newer heights in 2011 as we were almost touching one million page views per month and, not to forget, revenue from this blog was good enough to keep me away from taking up day job.

The Panda update

I was on top of the line and very much contented with the performance of this blog, so much that I couldn’t ask for more. When everything was on track, Google decided to tweak the search algorithm and introduced an obnoxious update called the “Panda update.”

The Panda update was implemented to weed out spammy/scraper sites from the search engine, thereby delivering relevant results and enriching users experience while Googling.

Panda… I hate you!

It was in the month of February when Panda rolled out in US, the loss in traffic was unnoticeable. However, in the month of April, Panda began to show off its true color and this blog lost a significant amount of visitors. I am not whistling in the dark and making assumptions out of thin air; the stats should speak the truth:

Traffic of this blog slumped by almost 60%. Due to the loss in traffic, this blog recorded the all-time lowest revenue in the year 2011. This came in as a shocker — at first, it was unexpected, and now I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Thanks for the Panda update Google, this blog is back to square one.

Hear us, Google!

This Panda update has broken the search engine. For example, this week I wrote an article on the ongoing issue with Sony’s PlayStation Network, copying the first paragraph and searching on Google reveals this result:

See? — Scraper sites are sitting on the first place while this blog has been ranked lower at 7th position. Ridiculous!

Google should have ranked quality sites on top, but thanks to the Panda update, scraper sites are enjoying this fruitful position. As funny as it may sound, even the head of Google’s Web Spam Team, Matt Cutts, is a victim of this update:

While Matt Cutts may not care for the loss of traffic, but the message is clear: the Panda update is flawed.

Last but not the least…

Google, I have always tried to do something out of the ordinary. Every article written in this blog is unique, plus we are in Google News — you approved this blog in News for its quality of articles, right? I like what you have done for me; however after looking at this week’s stats, I feel pathetic, and you know why.

It is not that I am the only one spitting nails over the Google Panda Update, but a majority of bloggers are facing a slump in their traffic as well. So all we ask for is another update in your search algorithm, or better yet, bring back the old Google. This Panda, for now, sucks!

About the Author

Hi, I am Sidharth. Full-time blogger. Editor of Blogote. And a self-proclaimed geek!

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(10) comments

Empire Media May 12, 2011

The problem is that I think google is finding it difficult to understand what is actual spam and what is a quality discussion.
This may be because it high lights certain web addresses and what ever is associated to that link is also carried off in the pandas net.

srikar May 9, 2011

I am in the same shoes but what i feel even worse about is not only it took our traffic it flagged our blogs as well.

Now we are not even in top 100 for any of our new posts after april 11 and funny thing is the digg and twitter submissions are making to the front page instead of the real article.

Raghav May 9, 2011

Please Mr. Google remove these errors… :p

Yaohan Chen May 9, 2011

I respect your effort and wish the best for your blog. However, how could you say for sure that Google, or specifically this Panda update, is responsible for your lowered traffic? Maybe the scraper sites have been getting “better” at circumventing Google’s efforts? Readers have reduced interest in some of the topics you write about or the format you use? More bloggers are offering similar content resulting in more competition for you?

I also don’t think you have presented enough evidence to say this is a widespread problem caused by or correlated with the update. Some people say they have lost traffic, but this happens all the time. You have found that scraper results are ranked before legitimate results after the update, but is this a problem only since the update, or before as well? Of course it is part of Google’s job to filter these sites, but unfortunately they are a moving target. Unseen by us, probably many scraper site are successfully filtered thanks to the recent update.

    Sidharth May 9, 2011

    Digging into the statistical data of this blog, I have never seen such an abrupt change. Given that Panda was rolled out this year, this is the only signal to be blamed. That said, you are right on the “competition” part.

    I want scraper sites to be filtered from Google search. When that happens, everything should be back on track. It is not just me, the whole of Webmaster Help Forum is “begging” for Google to make changes. And this week rumors speak that Google has rolled out yet another update — although I haven’t noticed any significant changes happening on this blog.

    There is an interesting observation done by Aaron Wall from Seobook about Google and its practices, you might wanna read the article.

      Robert May 12, 2011

      Actually I’ve seen improvements in traffic since this update. This could quite simply be due to changing trends however. Also, I’m willing to bet that “Panda” is only part of many updates over this time.

      I see reports all the time about how an update suddenly hits a website and how it’s just wrong, but often the webmaster can’t understand that they simply aren’t good enough to enjoy first place.

      Traffic is hardly the be all and end all… but as you say, revenue has taken a hit. Is this advertising only? If so, what good is that to the end visitor?

      Unfortunately there just isn’t enough information in your post to give a real reason or even a suggested cause.

Lee | Money4Invest April 30, 2011

I truly understand what you felt now because I’m also encountering the same result thanks to Google Panda. I really don’t understand how it works now? It claims to provide better search result for the users but yet it helps those scraper sites to rank higher than the original one. This is completely insane and waste our time and energy.
Come on Google, I really like you but I just hate Google Panda!

liv April 30, 2011

Clearly, those scrapers are doing a better job at articulating what you write than you do. Google says so.

Prasanth Chandra April 30, 2011

Although not big as yours, I have a small blog which used to help me earn some extra money to survive in this costly world. Google Uncle’s slap had pushed me back to square one.

I know how it feels to loose traffic. We are in the same boat along with a million others.

Don’t loose hope. Keep working.. Make More Money..

Rohit Langde April 30, 2011

When I started reading, I re checked the title whether I am reading a correct article or not but that start had good impact on article overall.
Panda is acting opposite instead for what it was supposed to be. I don’t understand why fiddle with search when it’s your USP. Completely Ridiculous.
Unnecessarily, I spend half an hour daily taking action against scrapers.

About the story, everything is same with me. Right from start to Stats to earnings except for not being a bright student in school 😛

I really wish and hope Google to bring up some fix or tweak on Panda or as you said, bring the old algorithm back.
Google, Are you listening?

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