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The Panda Monster

Monday, April 25th, 2011
panda monster thingy

Now that there has been enough time to test Google’s new “Panda” algorithm that determines the page rank for content that has been indexed, there is some good news and bad news. The good news is that the update appears to be doing exactly what they wanted it to. The bad news is that sites that churned out low-grade content at a rapid rate will have to get better or get lost. That is of course only bad news for the sites promoting poor content.

After reviews conducted by Google, CNET, and a bevy of assorted tech sites were all compared, what was discovered is that legitimate news sites gained the biggest boost. For instance, Fox News saw their first page appearances double from 11 to 22 in just one month. The Huffington Post topped all news sites with 54. Being considered a legitimate quality news site however did not prove to be enough to boost views on its own. The Washington Post is an example of a news site that nobody is anymore interested in reading than before. Even MSNBC and ESPN took a hit.

Sites tabbed as content farms that consistently produce and promote low quality content, particularly those like Helium that are user driven with questionable editorial staffs or none at all, have been hit the hardest. Because these sites allow nearly anything to appear regardless of quality until someone complains or their volunteer review staff catches it, poor quality content is abundant and it drags down their page rank in an irreversible spiral.

For most sites, the algorithm change is little more than a hiccup to be adjusted to. Sites employing skilled and experienced copywriters will continue on in a business as usual manor. Those that cut corners when it comes to content quality control will require major overhauls in many cases. The lesson to be learned is that if you stick to high quality standards your money is well spent because these algorithm tweaks will not ruin your page rank.

As a disclaimer, it must be said that until the changes Panda enacted have been reviewed over a course of 6 months it will be difficult to tell how quickly Google will be responding to sites that have made fair attempts to improve the quality of their content. No specifics have been divulged publicly as to how long sites will need to wait to be removed from the “content farm list” or any list that automatically starts them with a disadvantage.

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