After initially being deployed in the United States, Google’s new ranking algorithm has now been released in the United Kingdom. Searchmetrics criticises the service though, stating that some sites have lost a lot of visibility under the new system.
Google has updated their algorithm to give ranking preference to certain sites in their engine. This classification algorithm titled Panda has the aim of reducing the ranking of low quality sites. These are considered to be sites which have "little value add for users, with content copied from other sites or content of little interest".
Content farms are notably targeted by Google, as their aim is to produce as many articles as possible about a subject, no matter the quality of the articles, while respecting certain rules to give them a good ranking it the search engine.
Panda was firstly deployed in the United States, although not without some issues with sites like the Cult of Mac blog site dropping greatly in the rankings, with this having fallen victim to the new rules as their content is often taken from other sites. Such problems were corrected by Google before the roll out of the new engine in the United Kingdom – again, not without issue.
The company Searchmetrics has conducted an initial analysis to highlight the winners and losers with Panda, with these being the sites that have lost the most visibility following the changes made to the search engine, and those that have gained.
For some sites, the loss of visibility is estimated at more than 90%. This is notably the case for Wikio (a news streaming aggregator) and the Twenga price comparison site. Services which use content provided by other sites are penalised, while sites like eBay and Techcrunch have seen their ranking improved.
Controversy around the corner Taking into consideration the analysis put forward by Searchmetrics, we can only imagine that controversy is just around the corner. Some detractors have certainly pointed out that some of the biggest winners are services offered by Google (Blogger, YouTube); even though the same can be said of competing services (Wordpress, Dailymotion).
Among the biggest losers though was the Ciao price comparison site owned by Microsoft (-94% visibility). Ciao is the service which we find in named in a complaint filed against Google in Europe for abuse of their dominant position...
SearchEngineLand also reports that user feedback via the Google Chrome Personal Blocklist extension and the function which allows you to hide certain results has started to be exploited by Panda. It therefore appears to be more than secondary consideration when Panda is confirming the relevance of a web site.