Google Panda 2.5 October 2011 Update
On October 14, Google updated its algorithm again and just like its last major Panda 2.0 update. Tons of sites felt the change in both positive and negative ways.
As the Panda 2.5 algorithm is never revealed, webmasters, SEO professionals, niche site builders, are all scrambling to find out what exactly happned.
The constant algorithm changes Google make for its search engine is undoubtedly necessary to help the users find more relevant searches easier and give users more high-quality sites while weeding out spammy, no-value sites in the search results. We all want that to happen.
The problem is, there are still a lot of junk sites ranking high and good content sites being thrown out or demoted significantly.
The current trend, it seems is that Google’s favoring big sites like Amazon and eBay for products, then Youtube, in that order. It’ll be difficult to outrank these big sites (and Google products/sister sites) from now one.
As you guys might know, I have 3 sites right now: my main photography blog, my case-study niche site, and the new toy site I’m working on with my son.
If my niche site and new toy site got demoted significantly because the former’s a ‘thin’ content site and the latter is less than a month old.
But my main site got hit the most, and I have an issue with that.
I have at least 5 posts on that site that are bringing me significant traffic. All those posts are very unique, at least a thousand words, extremely well received and even linked to by several eBay and Craigslist sellers around the world to sell those products.
They dropped at least a couple of spots in favor of useless Youtube promotions.
Now I honestly do not mind if my ranking was supplanted by the manufacturer’s site and even Amazon, because they’re not my ‘competitors’ in terms of content, but box-opening Youtube videos?
Check out these SERP drops post Panda 2.5…
Main Photography Site SERP Post Panda 2.5
Simple Photography Tips is my ongoing, site-revamp main keyword and I’ve been working on that for a couple of months now and pre-Panda 2.5, I crawled my way up to the first page already. Then post Panda 2.5, it dropped to #46.
My secondary keyword is ‘flash photography tips’ and after staying around #20 for months, it’s now gone. Nada, not in SERPs at all.
You can see that Bing SERP continues to improve.
Just another example, one of my more popular articles about the off-camera flash guide article (1000+ words) have been hovering between 15-20 since it was published. Overnight, it dropped 71 spots.
Niche Site SERP Post-Panda
For my coffee niche site. I’ve been working to rank for the 4,400 search keyword as I’ve mentioned in my last monthly report. It gradually climbed up to the 2nd/3rd page. Then overnight, it’s GONE!
Also, I’ve been trying to improve on the ranking for the electric version of the niche I’m promoting and it actually crawled up to the first page the past couple of months. Post Panda 2.5, it dropped 21 spots to the 3rd page.
Dropping in SERP also means dropping in traffic. We all know how big the percentage of traffic the #1 slot in Google SERPs bring in and how quickly it tapers off when you hit #2-5.
Check out how bad my traffic got hit on my main site.
Organic searches according to Google Analytics between Oct 12 to Oct 16. How’s that for a drop?
Even Amazon clicks dropped in half.
As I mentioned, I’m not against Google doing this Panda 2.5 update, it’s a logical progression, but the problem is, the basis are unknown and the results can be quite disruptive to business owners. The changes in the back-end are great enough that one company can make or break your cash flow, especially if you’re doing this full-time.
I still love Google, but I wish Bing and Yahoo step up their efforts to actually compete so business owners won’t have all their eggs in the Google basket.
It’s still early, so hopefully we can get more clarity as the weeks go by. Until then, just continue writing and publishing useful content for readers and screw the search engine.
If they’re penalizing affiliate links (like my Amazon links), I guess I have to reduce to one per post and try to convert via email marketing instead.
It’s not just small fry like myself who got affected. DaniWeb lost half of her traffic AGAIN with this update, for example. SearchNewz posted a list of big sites affected with this Panda 2.5 update as well.
Found a really, really great post over at PotPieGirl.com on How to Survive Google Panda and I agree completely on all her points.
From now on, instead of relying greatly on 3rd party companies that I have zero control over its policies and algorithms, I’ll focus on my site’s conversion rate and making sure everything I do for traffic, sales, and opt-ins are results of MY ACTIONS, not some other company’s influence.
What do you think? As an affiliate marketer, what’s your game plan if Google automatically prevents niche sites (even authority) from outranking Amazon, eBay, and Youtube?