The Google Panda 2.5 update rolled out on September 28. As always, Google has been rather tight-lipped about the specific tweaks in this iteration of Panda, saying only that, “[t]his most recent update is one of the roughly 500 changes we make to our ranking algorithms each year.”
As usual, Searchmetrics has released a report of the websites most visibly affected by the Panda update. The report is based on a “visibility” score that the company calculates, based on a wide range of keywords. Not surprisingly, some sites benefited from the latest changes to Panda, while others were severely thrashed. Over on Search Engine Land, Danny Sullivan breaks down the winners and losers of Panda 2.5.
The website that benefited most from the new, improved Panda is YouTube, which is owned by Google. Google’s Android.com is also on the winner’s list, as is partner AOL.com. Whether this was by design or happenstance, Sullivan comments that these results are “sure to raise controversy in a climate when Google’s facing criticism that its search results favor itself.”
Other big winners in the Searchmetrics reports were CBS Interactive’s TV.com, gossip site Perez Hilton, and mainstream news sites Fox News, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. HubPages, which was hit hard by previous Panda updates, appears to have bounced back as well.
The biggest loser, in terms of SEO visibility, was Consumer Affairs. The consumer protection website’s SEO visibility score dropped from 447.586 to 100.513 in the wake of the Panda update (a loss of 78 percent). Also on the losing side of the Panda equation were a number of technical websites (including Technorati and The Next Web) and several gossip sites (such as Starpulse.com, The Hollywood Gossip, and Hollyscoop).
“It’s worth noting that Searchmetrics doesn’t really know the degree any of these sites has actually been harmed by the Panda update,” Sullivan notes. “It could be despite [the lower SEO visibility scores], these companies have gained visibility for terms that aren’t checked. It could also be that the terms they’ve lost visibility for weren’t sending important traffic that converted into sales or ad revenue.”