Panda is punishing the wrong people; Google now wants your help to fix their search algorithm

With very noble intentions in mind Google decided to introduce an update called as the Panda Update to its search algorithm. The idea was very clear, to penalize content farms and scraper sites and improve search results.

For those who don’t know, a scraper site is a website that copies all or part of its content from other blogs or websites. This could be done by manual copy-pasting, using RSS feeds and displaying its feed content on its own or any other web scrapping technique. The objective is clear –  encash the content generated by others,  manipulate search engine rankings, increase traffic and earn advertising revenue.

Unfortunately something seems to have gone wrong somewhere.

Panda punished the wrong people!

The Google Panda Update broke many a genuine bloggers hearts … and backs too! They found that within a matter of a short time, their carefully cultivated Google search traffic, had come crashing down.

There are several reports on the Internet showing how, in many cases, scraper sites are in fact actually performing better now. We too had earlier blogged on how a blogspot blog who displayed our RSS feed on his site ranked higher than our site.

What in effect has happened is that in several cases many good quality websites and blogs started ranking lower in Google’s search results.

Here let me give you our own example. A particular website syndicates and scraps content from The Windows Club. We are the original content generator and yet it ranks higher than us on Google.com!

Original content on our site:

Syndicated or scrapped content on the other site:

Search results at Google.com.

Google has been rolling out minor updates to Panda and labelling them as improvements. While Google is calling them improvements, I am sure that they are in effect fixes to try to fix these anomalies. The latest update rolled out is Panda 2.4.

While Google may not want to acknowledge it, maybe they have realized that something has gone wrong somewhere and they are trying to fix it.

Google is now seeking help from all to find out what, if anything, did go wrong! It is inviting people to point out examples where scraper sites are ranking higher than the original content sites and urging all to report here.

Google is testing algorithmic changes for scraper sites (especially blog scrapers). We are asking for examples, and may use data you submit to test and improve our algorithms.

If your website or blog has been affected adversely by the Panda Update, you might want to check out some of these generally-good-housekeeping tips to try to recover from the Panda Update.

To a layman like me, who is by default a Google Search user, it sure looks like Google goofed up things a bit and the Panda Update has botched up its search results to a degree. While a common user may not realize the changes, the discerning user will surely realize that something is amiss.

While TWC was ranking pretty decent pre-Panda, today we rank lower than the sites which scrap or syndicate our content. Although we believe our content is good, we also understand and respect Google’s prerogative in forming their own opinion of our site.

But it is sometimes really scary when you realize all your work or its recognition or exposure depends on just one private search engine who is free to create its own search algorithm. Google may not be evil, but they sure can make mistakes. And for whatever little my opinion is worth, I think Google made a mistake with the Panda Update.

UPDATE: 16th Sept 2011 One more example of how another scrapper site who is displaying our RSS feed is ranking higher than our content!

More here.

We can only hope that Google fixes and improves upon its search algorithm soon. A lot is at stake here…for all…including Google!

Posted by on , in Category General with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.

10 Comments

  1. Amit

    There are numerous occasions when Google’s judgement fails and it is independent on how the quality of your site is. You can’t really measure it and at times I have seen a lot of new sites with really poor content and grammatical mistakes getting 4 times traffic after panda.

    For the past 6 months, I have scratched my head and did everything possible to get out of this slap but nothing seems to be working. Everytime a new update is released, traffic declines. Prior to that, Google sent me thousands of visits every single day …it is really surprising how an automated system can fall flat at face.

    And there is nothing you can do despite hoping that they do fix it. Scraped sites ranking ahead itself proves that they cant accurately measure or identify the source …forget judging the quality , usefullness and other advanced metrics.

    Some people may disagree with me but until and unless your ship is sinking, you wont feel how scary it is.

  2. Guest

    I really don’t think The Windows Club should be posting about high quality articles or poor grammar.

  3. whiner

    Amit, my friend, you should have shared your website URL here.

    “It is really surprising how an automated system can fall flat at face.”

    That’s rude. You think you know how the system works? Just because you lost the battle doesn’t mean the system is wrong. You lost it. Admit it. Live with it, son.

    “Scraped sites ranking ahead itself proves that they cant accurately measure or identify the source…”

    You and the author of this article have no brains. Why would you search a snippet on Google? Think about it. No ‘user’ does. Google is for users — not for webmasters.

    Google just dropped that factor from their bag. Search not longer than 3 words and you’ll see the difference. The brands and older sites reign because they didn’t do too much for Search Engine.

    Focus on engagement and creating a brand around you.

    “forget judging the quality , usefullness and other advanced metrics.”

    In this comment of yours, you got punctuations wrong. The sentences doesn’t flow. Plus there’s a spelling mistake. Look, you can improve. Cool?

  4. Hemant Arora

    Thanks for sharing such useful knowledge dear…..and I too suffered from this..though I didn’t have an idea why..

  5. LOL, maybe I have brains or maybe I do not have brains. But one thing is sure – your’s sure seems to be missing! 😀

    From your profile and the comments made elsewhere, I see that you are a born dissenter filled with negativity. Thats all right. It after all takes all kinds of people to make this world.

    The focus on content is king, blah blah appears to be passe. Google is now also looking for different signals including social engagement and brand image. But how can one justify a content scrapper site ranking above a original-content site!? You cant, no way!

    Google is for users, not for webmasters. The only statement which makes sense in your rant. How true! But what happens when Google fails to protect the interest of users by presenting such results. Can you get that into your brains? Don’t think so – not with a clouded judgment!

    Google now appears to be giving more weight-age to large websites and brands. But Brands are built over a period of time and do not necessarily mean quality. Many individual qualified bloggers give much better content than the so called brands. Here is one such example. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/kimkomando/story/2011-08-26/Fast-tips-to-speed-up-a-slow-Windows-PC/50137402/1

    Those who follow this advice will probably not gain much. Any technically sound blogger will disagree with some/most of what has been said. But hey its a brand, go get it!

    I normally don’t reply to outbursts like yours, but allow me this one exception.

    Lets not hide behind the illusion of brands! Its time to call a spade a spade. IF and I say IF, Google thinks it has botched up somewhere, it is in all our interests, esp that of the end-user, that it fix its algorithm fast. And that is what they are doing by inviting real-life examples.

    Have a nice day! 🙂

  6. whiner

    Whoa! First of all this is not my real account. This is an anonymous account with a fake e-mail ID, and the worse part is this: it’s registered. I never knew. LOL. And, as it turns out, this account-holder is a real troll. Not me!

    Now, talking about brains. I’m a normal user, and you are a blogger. You are the elite geek of the web who knows everything. You sure have bigger brains, and a bigger heart to attack someone. I never attacked you! I just laid out the fact after reading your post, which holds true after reading your comment.

    Now, let’s talk:

    “The focus on content is king, blah blah appears to be passe.”

    I never said that.

    “Google now appears to be giving more weight-age to large websites and brands. But Brands are built over a period of time and do not necessarily mean quality.”

    The example you gave, USAtoday, as you may know, is amongst the top 1000 websites in the world. Maybe you should get many writers here and build the so-called “engagement.” Give it a try.

    “I normally don’t reply to outbursts like yours, but allow me this one exception.”

    I’m not here to insult you. I like this site. I’m here to help you out as a user. My suggestions may not mean anything to you. The larger part of you may not agree with me. If you live with your ideas, learn to live with Panda, too.

    Think about it. Google is not here to crush the bloggers or the blogging business that’s a living for some — it’s here to make things easier; help users like us find the content. You can look back and rectify your mistakes or whine about Panda again and again (this is your second Panda post, if I remember correctly).

    The algorithm is already fixed and with each iteration pushed to the web, things will get worse for you. So, act now, my friend.

    Have a nice day!

  7. OK Mr Anonymous Troll, whatever you say! Goodbye 😉

  8. Amit

    @Whiner: You are right. I am “human” and thus, there will be mistakes in my approach. I agree with you on the fact that “I can improve”.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that Google search is not so “useful” as it used to be earlier. Post Panda, nothing is in order. Just ask a common user to search something and watch his reaction, you will see the answer on his face.

    I can show you a hundred examples where posts from JUNK content farms,rank ahead of the original source.
    For the love of god, why would a scraper site outrank the original source?

    Google is for users, not webmasters. I agree on that.

    Think: An algorithm is an algorithm. Why would it fail, when I am using 7-8 words in the search query? It should not, in the ideal case.

    Lets keep the comments section clean and not fight like a child, shall we? 😀

  9. For many years people stuffed their keywords with anything they felt would direct traffic to their sites – names of celebrities, hot topics, products that were unrelated. There was once a time when it was easy to find what one was looking for on-line, it was a golden age. Then came all the unrelated material, as everyone wanted to make a quick buck. The internet needs to be a place where one can easily find what one is looking for, without plodding through a heap of meaningless muck that has nothing to do with anything. Though the Panda update does create a bit more work, I think it will be for the best when it comes to relevant content – it will make a more useful internet with a nicer user experience. I think that those whining loudest are the ones that caused the Panda update. People, companies, whomever…need to take more time to ensure that a users finds what they are actually looking for. If one’s page is optimized correctly and one has relevant content relating to the searches that brought people to one’s page in the first place, one has nothing to worry about. If you want a bunch of irrelevant keywords driving traffic to one’s site one is only going to annoy people. Use organic seo services if one wants ones site’s traffic to grow. It will take patience and time, but if one sticks with the guidelines laid out by Google, one will see results – not immediately, but they will come.

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