Google Panda, Part 2 - Winners & Losers
Part 1 of this post discussed the fact that Panda is now live in the UK, and talked about what Panda actually is (itself building on my first post about Panda, or "Farmer" as it was first called). Now we get to the exciting part... which sites are the big winners and losers from the algorithm update?
Our early data reveals that winners are largely made up of well known news sources such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Yahoo.com, Times Online and The BBC, along with YouTube and a couple of other sites.
Meanwhile, big losers appear to include article and content directories such as HubPages and Ezine Articles, review sites like DooYoo.co.uk, "how too" sites like Videojug and eHow. Most devastatingly of all, another review site, Ciao, has lost 99% of it's search engine visibility in Google.co.uk.
Note that the effects of big algorithm updates tend to last a while, with ranking fluctuations occuring for several days or even weeks. This being early data, we'll follow up in a week or so once things have had a chance to settle down to see if anything has changed.
Google Panda, Winners & Losers
As soon as Panda was released in the US we built a sample keyword set and started tracking visibility for this keyword set on Google.co.uk on a daily basis. Because of the widely held perception that Panda was designed to tackle content farms we chose a broad keyword set that reflected the kind of informational searches that content farms tend to target. These informational searches were split across 10 verticals: automotive, beauty, fashion, finance, health, home improvements, marketing, sports, technology and travel.
As rankings were tracked on a daily basis, we built up an accurate picture of the sites that tended to consistently rank for a large number of keywords in the data set, which we've now compared to ranking data after Panda.
What Is Reach?
"Reach" - effectively visibility - is a Greenlight metric that you may be familiar with from our industry Sector Reports. It ascribes a percentage of the available monthly searches for a keyword as reach to a site based on it's ranking position. The way we calculate reach is based on eyetracking studies that show sites ranking in position 1 are visible to 100% of search engine users, whereas sites ranking in position 10 are only visible to 20%. On this basis, if a keyword is searched for 1,000 times each month, and a site ranks in position 1 for that keyword, we give it a reach of 1,000 for that keyword.
The average aggregate reach of sites pre- and post- Panda is shown in the table above, along with the % change in reach.
About The Winners & Losers
During the course of this study we have collected data on the search engine visibility of thousands of sites. By necessity I have had to select certain sites to show, excluding the vast majority that appear in our raw data.
Naturally in an algorithm update of this scope there have been numerous smaller niche sites that have both gained and lost from Panda, many of which would appear in the above table if we focus only on pure percentage gains or losses in reach. While we have that data available, and may explore individual niches later on, we feel the most immediately interesting stories are to be found in the fortunes (or misfortunes) of the bigger, more well known sites that appear in the list.