Google's Panda update has now launched around the world in all but three languages. Here’s a look at some new statistics showing which websites in Germany, France, and Austria were hit and rewarded as a result of the expanded Panda rollout.
The Spread of Panda
Panda, first released in the U.S. in February of this year, has seen plenty of iterations since, with manual updates hitting almost monthly. However, more important to Google's grand scheme, Panda has slowly been trickling across borders. In April, Panda also made its way to the UK. Now it's made a great leap forward internationally.
The Panda algorithm, as Google tells us, is now functional on searches in "all languages except Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, where we continue to test improvements." There is no ETA as of yet for these three languages, but a release by the end of the year seems inevitable.
How the Game Has Changed
Big algorithmic changes always shake up the landscape – to the chagrin of some and the glee of others. This time around, Panda continued to downgrade the usual suspects: content farms, article directories, aggregators, scrapers, and people-finding search engines.
The impact won't be as big overseas as in the U.S. and UK; Google estimates that 6 to 9 percent of searches will be impacted by the changes, down from about 12 percent in the U.S.
But the sites being hit are being hit hard. Searchmetrics has compiled a list of the German, French, and Austrian sites that have suffered the greatest organic visibility loss, as well as a general look at the winners. While there are some common themes in the gains and drops, there are also some surprises.
Top losers in Germany include: Facebook Trends, a site that aggregated top content from Facebook and other social outlets, which suffered a 97.49 percent visibility loss; Gutscheinwurst, a bargain-hunting website, which suffered a 94.02 percent visibility loss; and profischnell.com, an international translation and interpretation company, that suffered a 94.49 percent visibility loss.
Meanwhile, in France, there are many more sites with an 80 percent or higher visibility loss, including: techno-science.net, a technology article and news story site which saw a 96.63 percent visibility loss; shoocare.fr, a clothing website that saw an 86.55 percent visibility loss; and dicodunet.com, an online dictionary that saw an 88.39 percent visibility loss.
In Austria, Searchmetrics noted that “some rather content-strong domains lost, and there is surely no better example than computerwelt.at” the German version of Computer World.
As with previous releases of Panda, the "winners" are simply those that now get the top spot at the expense of the demoted sites. In the case of the multilingual release, that means news sites and media platforms.
The biggest winners in Searchmetrics' German study were webauto.de, a car-searching site, which saw a 132.77 percent increase in visibility, and Google’s Android.com, which saw a 42.36 percent increase in visibility.
Meanwhile, in France, a surprising winner is bestofconcours.com, a sweepstakes aggregation site that received a 105.82 percent increase in visibility post-Panda. Informer.com, a web development company, and freenews.fr, a French information and news aggregation site, both nearly doubled in visibility.
Not among Austria’s winners were YouTube and Facebook, while the site informer.com grew in Austria and France but not in Germany.
An examination of the overall winners and losers show that some sites that were penalized are still relative winners because their direct competitors were penalized more. Additionally, news content, media, and social sites are getting additional exposure.
What is also interesting is that some sites gained in one country but were hammered in another (e.g., cylex.de gained in Germany, but Cylex-france.fr took a big hit in France, while Wikio was hit harder in France than Germany). Is it possible that human raters, which Google admitted were in the mix early on, could be the reason why a site would be hit harder in one country than another? Or does each country get its own slightly different version of the Panda update?
One final note about the stats: the Searchmetrics numbers don’t necessarily equate to lost traffic. As they note, “a loss in visibility does not necessarily mean lost traffic since direct traffic, social traffic, super-longtail traffic, etc. are not included.”