As a journalist, I want you to find this article, but after Wednesday’s update to Panda 4.0, I’m not sure Google will make it easy.
Google uses advanced algorithms, called webcrawlers or webspiders, that browse webpages for indexing and search engine optimization (SEO), ranking websites to provide users the most relevant results.
Panda 4.0, the most recent version of Google’s search algorithm, is the company’s attempt to fix the problem of “poor quality content” websites -- clickbait -- finding their way to the top of search results.
“Aggregators with little original content [will] lose visibility,” Marcus Tober, founder of Searchmetrics, a search analytics company, stated.
But days after Panda 4.0 launched, it’s clear that aggregators aren’t the only ones getting less traffic. Big name sites like eBay, Ask.com and the History Channel’s history.com have all been deemed losers, according to a chart published by Searchmetrics based on rankings they monitor.
By surfacing some websites while burying others, Panda has the power to anoint the Web’s winners and losers.
Moz, another analytics firm, reported similar data, showing that eBay fell from sixth to 25th in a matter of three days. Search results change and vary with time, Moz noted, “but this particular change is clearly out of place, historically speaking.”
Some websites gained visibility with the Panda 4.0 update. Glassdoor.com (a career advancement site), emedicinehealth.com, medterms.com and shopstyle.com all gained traction on the search engine results page. Each of those sites increased visibility from keyword searches 100 percent to 500 percent.
Wikimedia and Wordpress also took home more traffic, though by only a modest 20 percent. So did Buzzfeed -- which is virtually synonymous with news aggregation and gif-laden top-10 lists.
Webmasters keep track of changes to Google’s search algorithms to ensure that their sites get the best visibility and most clicks. And while eBay may have seen a huge drop in the last few days, it’s likely to recover. EBay webmasters will monitor how the 4.0 update operates and find ways to accommodate the new algorithm, as they have for past updates.