Google’s latest algorithm update is making sure that the big-budget web properties get even bigger, according to CNNMoney.com.
We first told you last month about Google’s effort to lay the smack down on so-called “content farms”, and now it seems clear that the new search algorithm implemented by the search giant favors the big brands.
The Online Publishers Association, which has such deep-pocketed members as ESPN, The Wall Street Jounal, and CNN, estimates that Google’s “Panda” update (the company’s internal name given to this latest remixing of the Google recipe) has shifted $1 billion in annual revenue to larger web properties.
Further backing up these findings is the web traffic service Outbrain, which makes the widget seen at the bottom of every post here on Blippitt as well as on 91 “premium publisher sites” like USA Today, The Daily Beast, and Newsweek.
Outbrain says web traffic to these larger sites has increased by a whopping 48 percent.
GoogleGate: Did Google conspire with the OPA?
Those who lost out in the search way felt the effects almost immediately. Mahalo.com laid off 10 percent of its workforce last week due to what CEO Jason Calacanis called “a significant dip in our traffic and revenue.”
Traffic to sites that belong to the Online Publishers Association grew between 5 and 50 percent on just the day after Google’s “tweak”, according to Pam Horan, president of the OPA.
Not everyone feels quite as enthusiastic about the change.
Max Spankie, for instance, who runs the customer review site My3cents.com, says his website lost a significant portion of its traffic and revenues seemingly overnight.
What’s most surprising is that My3cents.com was recently recognized as the top consumer complaint site by the non-profit Consumer Federation of America.
Many of the sites that now outrank My3cents.com in Google’s rankings go unmoderated, while all complaints on Spankie’s site are moderated religiously.
“I thought they flipped the switch wrong,” Spankie said. “We work hard to be a quality site, and I definitely think the sites that are now winning in our niche aren’t about quality.”
Here at Blippitt, we’re one of the top 40,000 websites in the world and one of the top 12,000 websites in the U.S., according to Alexa.com. In 2010, we were also nominated as one of Maryland’s Outstanding Blogs by the Baltimore Sun, and our traffic is now down 50 percent since Google changed its algorithm.
The power of the juggernaut here is clearly scary and mystifying. While Google’s algorithm update did benefit some larger sites and eliminate some spammy results from many searches, there’s still a lot of spam in Google’s results, and now sites that scrape our content or sites to whom we’ve submitted our RSS feed (like Zimbio, for example) are outranking us.
Hopefully, Google figures out how to correct these inequities in the system and restore things to a more competitive balance.
UPDATE: It does look like Google is tweaking the algorithm as our traffic here at Blippitt is starting to return to normal levels.
- The Atlantic Wire: Google’s Billion-Dollar Algorithm Change: Winners and Losers (boxofmeat.net)
- Google Panda Update Shifts Estimated $1 Billion in Revenue to Large Publishers #SEWatch (seome.me)
- Who Gained From Google’s Search Algorithm Change? (paidcontent.org)
- Google Panda Update Shifts Estimated $1 Billion in Revenue to Large Publishers (searchenginewatch.com)
- Google Update Panda (seobook.com)
- If The Google Really Wants To Do Good, They Need To Open A Call Center And Resolve Disputes (adpulp.com)