WordPress.com hit by Panda 2.5?

Panda 2.5 hits WordPress.com blogs hard?

Several blogs I follow (as well as this blog), with articles that were doing very well in Google SERP (top 10) before Panda 2.5 have disappeared completely from results. Some of the articles contained useful information, e.g. Malware related articles. The only way to find these articles now is with a search so specific there is virtually no other alternative but to find the content.

This blog is one of those affected. Traffic has dropped off remarkably since Panada 2.5. The infographic below shows the marked decline.Blog views infographic

Yet Panda 2.5 continues to rank POACHED content from these articles: Several of my own articles have been heavily poached and re-posted verbatim on other sites – with external links in place. Can Google no longer detect which was the original content?

Additionally numerous articles have been linked to – one would think all these backlinks should be beneficial, but no, perhaps Google now considers these backlinks as link farming. Hard to reconcile as website owners and bloggers have little control over who links to their content.

Possibly Google decided that a recent spate of heavy splogging (spam blogs), e.g. ‘Kindle Fire Sale’ and 2 or 3 other splogs with similar names by the same crowd, was just cause to downgrade all wordpress.com blogs? I can’t disagree that ‘kindle fire sale’ posting 40 or 50 times an hour with rubbish linking to their Amazon product listings etc should have been blacklisted by Google – and removed from wordpress.com (no, I neglected to report these splogs – next time!). But it’s rather harsh on the genuine bloggers who use wordpress.com.

Lack of Transparency in Panda 2.5

Google Panda 2.5Apart from the impact Panda 2.5 will have on websites and blogs, the total lack of transparency by Google is of concern. I have not been able to find any OFFICIAL news from Google. One would think a term search for PANDA 2.5 would place Google’s own information release  right on top of SERP. No, I cannot find any reference from the official Google website!

What I do find is other articles CLAIMING to know about it;

“Google has confirmed that the latest iteration of its Panda Update, Panda 2.5, is live.”

and similar, but none that I have looked at contain a link to any OFFICIAL GOOGLE ANNOUNCEMENT!.

Please bloggers, if you have a link to an official Google statement, on Google.com, pass it on – I don’t want references to other 3rd party sites or hearsay information.

Move to Self Hosted WordPress or Stay

I have already considered moving this blog to a self hosted WordPress installation; a move I would be reluctant to make. Reluctant because wordpress.com host a vast and great community of bloggers. Things like Readomatic make following topics of interest easy (even when it’s abuse of WordPress.com by sploggers). I have no idea whether once wordpress.com redirects to a self hosted site inclusion in Readomatic etc. continues – someone could provide this info?

On the plus side, relocating to a self hosted site will allow more control over the blog; 301 redirects for out of date, updated or removed content,code where desired, htaccess control (or robots.txt) to restrict search engines to anything that today may be considered duplicate content. A whole lot more customisation from the extensive range of contributed modules form wordpress.org

On the down side; Additional workload to maintain a personal CMS site. Loss of existing readership and followers. Then another consideration, if Panda 2.5 has knocked wordpress.com blogs, and who knows what further updates to the algorithm will do, would a site redirect not be considered by Google as bad news?

Consideration for Home Industries

I can afford to have this blog downgraded – it will have ZERO impact financially or commercially. I can create a self hosted WordPress blog without any difficulties and only minimal expense to register a domain and host the site (or use a sub-domain on graphicline.co.za at no cost whatsoever), including transferring this blog with no outside intervention. Not an economically attractive option to everyone.

But what about those home industries and creative people who use wordpress.com (fully within the TOC’s) to publicise their work. Lately Google seems to be targeting SMB’s, with small websites, hard.  I offer the mentioned instances of larger sites poaching my blog content, WITHOUT PENALTY. Google now seems to be more interested in making money by supporting sites that no doubt spend on AdWords and Pay per Click, these poaching sites all contain  advertising of one form or another or other, and ‘friends’ rather than providing what they say their algorithm is intended to provide; good quality content that internet users find interesting and useful.

Google could do more to bring ‘quality’ to internet users by offering an option to exclude sites that contain advertising material from search results – highly unlikely as they want the revenue.

Panda 2.5 Update Breaks Browser Page Rank Tools

Page Rank Widget Broken
No page rank for WordPress.com

I use FireFox with add-ons (eg. Alexa add-ons) to indicate page rank of sites I manage and visit. The latest update no longer ‘talks’ to these tools, and they are not yet updated. Is this a case of Google not wanting people to know how badly their algorithm has affected their websites – not much point as site owners will discover this soon enough from lower traffic refferals. Or is it just a case of further lack of transparency?

On the brighter side, newer content, after Panda 2.5 release, seems to be getting fairer treatment. And my business website is doing slightly better – but it was already getting top SERP anyway. But how long will it last? As Panda 2.5 has evidently only been applied at the moment to US hosted sites, what will be the effect once the worldwide implementation takes place – the sites poaching content from graphicline.co.za in the top of the results, my ORIGINAL material being deleted from SERP?

This whole thing sounds like a really good case for Class Action law-suits in the making. Of course, Google will no doubt happily spend money on defending any such action brought by Small and Medium Enterprise.

Finally in closing, David Amerland published a really interesting article at Boost your Website After the Google Panda 2.5 Update, and provided some insights. This is recommended reading for anyone having had their blog or site adversely impacted by the algorithm update.


About Mike

Web Developer and Techno-geek Saltwater fishing nut Blogger

Posted on October 10, 2011, in Blogs, Internet, SEO, WordPress and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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