Did Google Panda Change the Playing Field?

From time to time, when Google identifies a ‘gaming’ of their search engine results, its engineers open up the algorithms and tweak them, sending shudders in the world of e commerce and Internet advertising. Speculations run rampart until Google launches it to the world.

One such tweak happened lately; in February 2011, Google launched such a change and named it Panda. They called the tweak “A High Quality Sites Algorithms”. It came in reaction to what they call “Content Farms” and the blogosphere immediately filled in the name of one of the biggest player – Demand Media, who was gaining top listings with copied content.

In order to cut on the clutter of results you get from a query, Google is trying to root out the low quality sites either by checking content, enabling users (through a Chrome extension) to block sites from their searches, or by lowering the ranking of copies material. “The net effect is that searchers are more likely to see the sites that wrote the original content rather than a site that scraped or copied the original site’s content.” Said Google’s Matt Cutts.

This changed impacted US sites only until April 11, 2011, when Google rolled this change to all English language queries and made a few changes. Their statistics show the change has impacted 12% of the queries in the United States. Most impacted were Mahalo.com, Wisegeek.com followed by Ezinearticles.com, Hubpages.com, Suite101.com, Superpages.com and spike.com. The gainers were news sources like Reuters.com, LATimes.com, CBSnews.com and information sites like Techcrunch.com, Blogpost.com, Mashable.com and even YouTube.

The new adjustment was meant to take care of a gap in their program that enables a site like eHow.com not only slide down but gain in ranking. Demand Media, the owner of eHow, was immediately impacted.

Some small businesses might have seen a change in their ranking. Google is said to be open to complaints that will be implemented, if found correct.

Online Publisher Association estimated that $1 Billion will be redistributed across the online publishing industry as a result of this change.

Sources:

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