Google Panda Coming to a Market Near You

If you live outside the United States and were unscathed by the Panda Update, a world of hurt may await soon. Or you may be in for a pleasant surprise. It is hard to say where the chips may lay for you without looking.

Some people just had their businesses destroyed, whereas the Online Publisher Association sees a $1 billion windfall to the winning publishers.

Due to Google having multiple algorithms running right now, you can get a peak at the types of sites that were hit, and if your site is in English you can see if it would have got hit by comparing your rankings in the United States versus in foreign markets by using the Google AdWords ad preview tool.

In most foreign markets Google is not likely to be as aggressive with this type of algorithm as they are in the United States (because foreign ad markets are less liquid and there is less of a critical mass of content in some foreign markets), but I would be willing to bet that Google will be pretty aggressive with it in the UK when it rolls out.

The keywords where you will see the most significant ranking changes will be those where there is a lot of competition, as keywords with less competition generally do not have as many sites to replace them when they are whacked (since there were less people competing for the keyword). Another way to get a glimpse of the aggregate data is to look at your Google Analytics search traffic from the US and see how it has changed relative to seasonal norms. Here is a look out below example, highlighting how Google traffic dropped. ;)

What is worse, is that on most sites impacted revenue declined faster than traffic because search traffic monetizes so well & the US ad market is so much deeper than most foreign markets. Thus a site that had 50% profit margins might have just went to break even or losing money after this update. :D

When Google updates the US content farmer algorithm again (likely soon, since it has already been over a month since the update happened) it will likely roll out around other large global markets, because Google does not like running (and maintaining) 2 sets of ranking algorithms for an extended period of time, as it is more cost intensive and it helps people reverse engineer the algorithm.

Some sites that get hit may be able to quickly bounce back *if* they own a well-read tech blog and have an appropriate in with Google engineers, however most will not unless they drastically change their strategy. Almost nobody has recovered and it has been over a month since the algorithm went live. So your best bet is to plan ahead. When the tide goes out you don't want to be swimming naked. :)

Published: March 26, 2011 by Aaron Wall in google


March 26, 2011 - 9:15pm

Israel is a tiny market and most old SEO tricks still seem to work here, and the concept of local content farms is still new (veteran article sites are doing great at moment) and i see some demand media style sites on the rise. My point is: in small markets you can still game Google same way you could in Google US back in 2007.
BTW: what's with the NoFollow link to labnol?

March 26, 2011 - 9:42pm

Read the first 2 blog comments here. Someone tried duping me in the past & I remembered that. I didn't want to go out of my way to vote for them after that.

March 29, 2011 - 5:16am

Do every website owner be worried about this panda update if they are doing white hat seo to promote it?

March 29, 2011 - 1:07pm

is not based on an arbitrary hat color. In fact, many folks who were doing spammier stuff slid through that update, while many self proclaimed "white hat" folks had their sites torched.

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