Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog

Google Panda Update – Panda’s Punitive Punishment of Good Content.

The Panda will Punish your Good Content if you have Bad Content as well….Panda Inflicts Punitive Damages on your Good Content…(but hey, Google says it’s not a penalty…it’s just an algorithm change).

On Friday May 6th, Google’s Amit Singhal wrote an interesting post on the Google WebmasterCentral Blog called, “More Guidance on Building High Quality Sites.” On Saturday I was in a partly silly mood and I published some tips and some tongue in cheek comments about each of the 23 questions Amit suggested that we ask ourselves about our content. I can understand these questions for “content sites”, but for e-commerce product sites, it seems to often come down to BRANDS.

Aaron Wall also questioned the questions that Amit asked as well – it’s a must read that should be picked up by every major news organization. Aaron already has 32 results in Google for panda hypocrisy that gets me boiling each time I read them…bless you Aaron!

But anyways, there was one sentence that I wanted to point out that Amit said in that same post he did where he gave the 23 questions to ask yourself in creating great sites….

Did everyone catch this sentence…or the significance of this sentence???

“One other specific piece of guidance we’ve offered is that low-quality content on some parts of a website can impact the whole site’s rankings, and thus removing low quality pages, merging or improving the content of individual shallow pages into more useful pages, or moving low quality pages to a different domain could eventually help the rankings of your higher-quality content.”

I’m not sure if the world understands the significance of this…really…. Remember how I talked about the history of the supplemental index, and its relations to Panda… well, back then, if you had pages that were “deep” in your site (poorly interlinked overall within your site as a whole)…or pages with duplicate or unoriginal content…or pages with little content…then Google would toss them in what used to be known as the Supplemental results index.

They then assured us that pages that Google put in the supplemental index would not hurt you. As Matt Cutts said in January of 2007:

“As a reminder, supplemental results aren’t something to be afraid of; I’ve got pages from my site in the supplemental results…. Having urls in the supplemental results doesn’t mean that you have some sort of penalty at all…

So for years….even if a client had duplicate content, or mash ups, or weak content, or buried content, the worst anyone ever figured that Google would do is to “Supplemental index” the pages…..But today, it seems to me it’s pretty clear that Google will not just hurt your “low quality” pages, they will now take this a step further and are now also delivering punitive damages to your “good quality” pages.

Does this seem fair to you? What’s your plans for Content Optimization?


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9 Responses

  1. What I’m having trouble with is understanding why seo people seem anxious to highlight what panda means, how it works, how to recover. Google doesn’t help you. I get exposing Google hypocrisy… but not broadcasting specifics that seem reasonable. Why tell Google (and the public) what you know?

    Unless you can tell me its for links… it seems foolish. Let Google ASSume?

  2. Hi John…I guess I’m doing it because people want to know what can help them….and I want to help them….I guess it’s because I believe in Karma…if my tips can help someone, then I might get a client from it one day in return…and if I get added traffic and branding and any links along the way, then hey, I’m even happier.

  3. Matt Cutts has to be the world’s worst source for SEO advice. How many people listened to his (bad) advice and got penalized by the Panda update?

  4. What interested me most about about that comment was this bit

    “moving low quality pages to a different domain could eventually help the rankings of your higher-quality content”

    So to me that means that you can experiment with putting all products pages in sub-domains, which are linked to from informative pages on the main domain.

    This way Google sees “authoritative” content on your main domain and ranks it well while visitors can still enjoy the normal shopping experience on sub-domains.

    Just make sure that visitors don’t have to jump through hoops to actually get to the page where they can buy the product in which they are interested in.

  5. Jim, really weird discovery here. I’m finishing up my presentation for the SEOmoz meetup tomorrow night and had already quoted that very statement from Amit and put together a whole bunch of slides about the supplemental index. It’s something I’ve inherently feared for years and knew it couldn’t be *good* and it’s why we work so hard to clean up whatever crap appears in the index. Years ago I was working on a site that released thousands of low-quality product pages and there was an obvious seesaw effect that impacted the entire site’s rankings. I’ve been pretty passionate about the subject ever since and this just confirms it. Interesting to see us on the same page here. Also, looks like Chuck is coming out tomorrow, will say hi. 🙂

    1. Hey Rhea! Yea…I really think that people don’t understand how important this is…those who haven’t been infected, will be…to some degree probably one day..
      Wish I could go tomorrow too, but I’ll be playing with my boys..I could use a break from SEO for some playtime with the boys.

  6. ps – found your post by doing a pretty extensive search for any blogs mentioning “supplemental index” in the last year. Not many authoritative sites discussing it or publicly if so.

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