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Google Panda and the Black Hole Effect

Published on Dec 9, 2011


Read 'Google Panda and the Black Hole Effect' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
GooglePandaFreshnessBlackHoleEffectGoogle Panda's "freshness" update occurred early in November. In a press release, Google informed us of the types of sites (and blogs) that would be affected by the update. They fall into three broad categories: • Sites that cover recent events and hot topics • Sites that have regularly recurring events • Sites that require frequent updates At first glance, this seems pretty straight forward, right? You’re either producing content within one of these categories, or you’re not. But like many things in life, it’s not that simple. When Non-newsy Becomes Newsy What happens when the content you produce suddenly becomes part of one of these categories — what I refer to as newsy? For example, let’s say your company sells homeowners insurance. Very non-newsy, until there’s a scandal in the media regarding homeowners insurance. Suddenly there’s a media frenzy on the subject — from CNN.com to FoxNews.com, to countless bloggers publishing articles on the subject. Like it or not, the subject matter on your blog and Website is now newsy. In the past, if you had well-written, relevant contentand had good overall site authority/rankingthe impact of this type of event on your Website (or a particular blog post) would have been minimal because freshness played a much smaller role. I’ve experienced this phenomenon first hand on my dad blog. I wrote an article over two years ago that immediately began to gain traction. From a few hits a day, to dozens, to hundreds per day by November, 2011 (just days before the freshness update). Eleven months out of the year, my topic is not newsy. But around November, it becomes so. The article, in part, highlights Movember.com — a site that helps raise money and awareness regarding cancer and men’s health. For two years, this blog post spiked in October and November because of the Movember event, and was consistently one of my most viewed posts year round. I’ve always kept my content current and relevant, and the hits just kept on coming. Enter Panda’s freshness update. The Black Hole Effect Just days after the update, hits on this post went from hundreds per day to ZERO. It had been sucked into a black hole, apparently never to return. Even though I kept my content current, making updates as necessary, the blog post was still “stamped” with a two year old publication date. Since the freshness update, Google now interprets this as old, and even though I have a good authority rating with this blog post (and with my blog overall), the post has been essentially wiped clean from search engine results to make way for content with newer publishing dates. Is this going to happen to your Web site or blog? No necessarily. As always, it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your metrics, and if you see a top performer disappear from your stats it may have experienced the black hole effect. Unfortunately, I’ve not yet found a way to permanently rectify the issue. Here's hoping that the next Panda update has a better balance between newness, quality and over all site authority. Until then I hope your content avoids the black hole effect ... Related Links: - Google Panda and the Myth of Keyword Density - Is Your Website Fresh Enough for Google Panda - Google Panda Do's and Don'ts: Is Your Website Optimized Correctly? Business Blogs blog