Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Google’s Billion Dollar Update

We recently wrote about Google’s change to its search algorithm, which had been unoffically nicknamed the Farmer Update. Officially called Panda at Google, it’s dramatically shaken up the businesses of websites that moved up or down its search rankings. Sites whose rankings rose to the top found that their traffic and revenue soared — but the adjustment had an equally devastating effect on those that were dropped.

The Online Publishers Association, a group of content producers comprising many of the Internet’s largest properties (including, estimates that the algorithm change shifted $1 billion in annual revenue.

So-called content-farms were hit by the update. Google’s Matt Cutts specifically cited the rankings of that website have dropped drastically and their search traffic is down 94%. Legitimate websites with valuable content generally gained rankings as a result of the Panda algorithm update.


  1. “Legitimate websites with valuable content generally gained rankings as a result of the Panda algorithm update.”

    I challenge this final line because major information repositories such as EzineArticles were damaged which are used to syndicate and distribute article content as well as being source sites for many of the webs best quotes, news stories, and top blogs. Their operation is no more harmful to the online viewer than PRweb Press releases which was deemed a legitimate site and rewarded for being an article repository of the paid kind.

    Google own Google Base a direct competitor with Ezine Articles, just as they penalized Technorati and other RPC services but you can bet they didn’t harm their own Google Blog Search which is also a RPC ping engine of similar type and use. They didn’t hit Orkut and YouTube which they own, but hit tons of social networks, video share sites, and search engines they compete with. This was not an innocent making the web better it was a monopoly screwing the competition. Please get it straight.

    Andy Anderson
    The Competition.

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Andy. I actually appreciate comments expressing contrary opinions — it stimulates the conversation.

    I think article repositories got hit in the Panda update because they promote the existence of duplicate content on the web. I can’t comment on the fairness or unfairness of the actions you accuse Google of; you may be correct … I just don’t know for sure. If Google has done what you say, shame on them for abandoning their “Don’t be evil” motto.

    My main purpose in saying what I did was to reassure our clients and our target market in general (which is small and very small businesses) that their own websites would not typically be at risk as a result of this update.

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