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Google Is Punishing These Major Web Brands For Publishing Spammy Content

Google’s most recent update to the way its search algorithm works, dubbed “Panda 4.0,” is wreaking havoc with some major brands on the web. Yesterday we told you that up to 80% of eBay’s prime search result listings had been banished from the first Google results page.

That’s a disaster for eBay, which relies heavily on attracting shoppers who are searching for something.

It turns out a bunch of other major brands have been crushed by the new Google rankings. Barry Diller’s Ask.com, and A&E’s Biography.com and History.com have all seen their search results decimated in the last 48 hours by Panda 4.0, according to Searchmetrics, a search analysis and marketing company.

The intent of Google’s updates is thr same as all its previous updates: It is attempting to discriminate against spam web pages that publish duplicate, thin or useless content simply for the purpose of getting search traffic from Google. Google has always said that the No.1 goal of its search engine is to point readers to the highest quality web pages possible, and to bury results for low quality sites.

So this Searchmetrics ranking of Panda 4.0 losers is also a backhanded way message from Google on how it feels about the quality of the material being published.

Here are the 10 biggest losers in terms of reduced visibility in Google searches under Panda 4.0:

  1. ask.com — 50%
  2. ebay.com — 33%
  3. biography.com — 33%
  4. retailmenot.com — 33%
  5. starpulse.com — 50%
  6. history.com — 33%
  7. isitdownrightnow.com — 50%
  8. aceshowbiz.com — 75%
  9. examiner.com — 50%
  10. yellowpages.com — 20%

And here are the 10 biggest winners in terms of visibility gained in Google searches under Panda 4.0:

  1. glassdoor.com 100%
  2. emedicinehealth.com 500 %
  3. medterms.com 500 %
  4. yourdictionary.com 50%
  5. shopstyle.com 250%
  6. zimbio.com 500%
  7. myrecipes.com 250%
  8. couponcabin.com 250%
  9. buzzfeed.com 25%
  10. consumeraffairs.com 100%

Note that the winners’ list features sites that publish original, useful or interesting content. You might not like BuzzFeed’s “designed to go viral” content (typical article: “16 things every teenage girl has Googled“) but you cannot deny that there is a certain wit and originality about it. BuzzFeed isn’t simply aping other sites.

To give you an idea of the content that Google is now essentially hiding from users, here is what Eric Enge, CEO at Stone Temple Consulting told Search Engine Journal about the simple act of searching for a recipe for French toast:

There are over 31,000 results! There is no need for more than or 5 articles on how to make French toast — it’s really easy. You can’t win by writing a new article on something that has already been covered many times before. So, the question you have to ask yourself today is — what are you going to do that stands out? What are you going to do that’s exceptional? Learning how to answer this question well may take practice.

Publishers of original, interesting content have nothing to fear, Onge adds.

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