Recent Google Panda Updates

by updated 2011/12/23

A recent post I wrote provides some background on changes Google has been making to their search tools.  This post is just a brief update with some things I have recently discovered.  Maybe the original post and this one will help you if your website has been impacted by 2011’s Google Panda Updates.

Since Google’s October Panda update, when I write a blog post I do find it easily and more quickly in Google search results than before.  However I have some evergreen content that seems to not show up in search results like it used to.  This suspicion is backed up by much less search traffic recently to these posts. This reduction in search traffic to these evergreen posts had reduced the overall search traffic to willtaft.com by about 40%.   I think the main reason for these popular, evergreen posts not showing up in Google search results is because those posts are older, sometimes a couple of years old, and Google is now weighting their search results in favor of newer content.

The problem created for searchers by Google not showing those posts in search results like they used to is this:  Yes the post is old, but the content is not date sensitive.  It is not breaking news.  Plus, there is an ongoing conversation in the comments that goes right up to the present day.  Even as the author of these posts, I will admit that the biggest value of those posts is now in all the comments.  Some are by real experts and professionals on the topic.  By burying the post deep in search results based on the post date, Google is denying searchers access to the varied and very informative comment thread.  I would estimate that I have 20 or 30 posts here that are like this and used to bring in at least 1/2 of all search engine visitors.  This may not seem like a big deal on this site with hundreds of posts and many new ones every month.  It is, however, a big deal to searchers who find only new, but much less valuable web content in their search results and never get to see these older, more in-depth pages.

There seems to be a Google opinion, (and admittedly one shared by many others), that newer is better.  If you are looking for news stories that may be correct, but I think in many cases this is not true at all.  Some older content provides real historical and thorough information from many different people.  This is more helpful than a new post that has yet to draw comments and is really just the ideas and opinion of one individual.  When I write an in-depth post on a topic, I see that only as the starting point of a long and informative conversation.  With so many fewer searchers being directed to those posts, the conversation is being restricted.

Will Sig
1 Binky

That’s interesting, because Google used to put more weight behind established websites. New is clearly better for some things of course, but much of what we look for when searching does not change much. Like everything Google does, though, this will probably be a temporary change and they’ll hopefully find a better balance.

I’m just waiting for their Wombat Update!
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2 Will

Hi Binky! You guys have a group of regular commentators that most websites would be very jealous of. How many search visitors do you get a month? You may be safe from the Panda for now because I have read that the recent updates, at least, targeted sites with over 15,000 visitors per month, but less that the real big sites with hundreds of thousands.

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3 Binky

Not much search traffic, and less than 15,000 visitors for the comics site.
Binky recently posted..Wombie Christmas 2011My Profile

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4 Robin Henderson

This is a matter of some concern for me, too. My posts are rarely time-sensitive; almost all of them are content, not news. If Google is going to prune the old growth off my article tree, that’s bad news; a blog like mine relies on total available text. To get readers, I have to offer a tiny minority of total users, a deep archive. Seems like Google’s decided that the Net is about serving the white-bread consumer, which prompts me to ask, “Then why do we need it?”

Everything else is already about advertising to them. Maybe the world wouldn’t come to a fiery end if someone developed a new market, instead of always sucking on the same lazy, uh, straw.

Robin

Rusty Ring: Reflections of an Old-Timey Hermit
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5 Will

Hi Robin – Your site would probably not be impacted too much because your content is not only deep, but very niche. There are not many sites like yours, so people searching for what you provide will usually see you in their search results. I just did a couple of searches for things you have on your site and Rusty Ring was right there in the results.

Just this morning when searching for this site on Google, I found another scraper site with content stolen from here. It was on the first page of Google results and it was a pure trash site. Everything on it was stolen from somewhere else. My original page where the content was from was on page 3 of the Google results. The difference is that the plagiarizer site had the content dated yesterday and my original article was from 2010.

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6 Tony McGurk

I don’t seem to get as much search traffic to older posts as I used to. Maybe it is for this reason.
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