Google has rolled out its ‘Panda’ system to all of its English-language search engines in a bid to lower the rankings of websites with aggressive advertising and recycled content in order to boost the quality of results.
Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow, said in a blog that the algorithmic tweak had affected about 12% of queries in the US since it was introduced in February, while the inclusion of supplementary data about the sites that users block had had an impact on about 2%.
But because the change can affect the rankings of legitimate sites that carry high levels of advertising, Singhal added that it was important to "evaluate the different aspects of your site extensively" in line with the vendor’s quality guidelines.
"As sites change, our algorithmic rankings will update to reflect that. In addition, you’re welcome to post in our Webmaster Help Forums. While we aren’t making any manual exceptions, we will consider this feedback as we continue to refine our algorithms," he said.
But Will Critchlow, co-founder of search engine optimisation specialist Distilled, told Sky News that the majority of businesses would gain from the update, although some had reported a 30% decline in traffic to their sites in the week that it was released.
"The move to a system like this is something that the industry has supported for some time and it’s a big win for most businesses. As many as 12% of all Google searches are affected by this issue so it’s a welcome change," he said.
Early indications from Search Engine Watch are that sites including pricedash.com, discountshoppinguk.co.uk, webdevelopersnotes.com, netvouchercodes.co.uk, killerstartups.com, wakoopa.com and everydaysale.co.uk have all lost significant placings in search rankings. In these cases there appears to be little original content and/or most words on the web pages are links.
Meanwhile, Search Metrics reports that the major winners include eBay.co.uk, Techcrunch.com and national-lottery.co.uk.