Google Panda Update Benefiting Local Search | Search Engine Update

Posted by | April 19, 2011 | Blog, SEO | 4 Comments

New data has been released that shows boost given to local search results

Google recently launched the Panda update in the U.S. with the aim of improving search results quality. The roll out from Google is now in place for UK searches from a global perspective.  This has had a big impact for many sites in the U.K.

Voucher sites, ‘content farms’, and some finance sites have been hit by rejigging of search algorithms – while winners include Mirror, Independent, and YouTube.
A number of prominent UK technology news sites have seen their Google rankings drop substantially after the search engine rolled out its “Panda” update, intended to demote sites which scrape content from others, to the UK and other English-language Google users

With the Panda update in place many sites from the U.S. and now a large number across U.K. have been effected. The resulting loss of search ranking has meant lower traffic referrals to those sites and a lower search engine ranking.

Data from German SEOtools developer, Sistrix, has revealed that article sites, price comparison sites and business directories, in general, have suffered a setback

CNET has now released some data, as it compiled about 100,000 Google results, testing Google.com in March, and then last week, just after the new update. The data reflects earlier reported data from SearchMetrics in terms of news sites benefiting and Demand Media’s eHow sliding.

One interesting element CNET’s data brings to the table, however, is that of Google’s localization and its relationship to the update.

“We also tested what happens if you connect to Google.com from an overseas Internet address. We picked one in London. We performed the same searches on the same day–the only variable that should have changed, in other words, was our location,” explains CNET chief political correspondent Declan McCullagh. “The results? Google engages in significant localization efforts, as you might imagine, with Yelp.com being the largest beneficiary by far.”

“In searches originating from the U.K., Yelp appeared only twice,” he adds. “In U.S. searches, by contrast, it was the ninth-most popular Web site, with both its topic and individual business pages weaved seamlessly into the main search results.”

SearchMetrics’ data did show yelp.co.uk as having a 29.59% boost in visibility.

Yelp picked up 45 first-page appearances for generic searches like “chocolate,” “cleaning,” “food,” “lights,” “laundry,” “tv,” and “weddings,” from a Califronia address, according to McCullagh, while Davidsbridal.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and Walgreens.com also benefited in the U.S. from localization.

It’s not all just big brands though.

Local-based results won big too, based on CNET’s testing. Not just local locations for big brands or local businesses, but locally-themed results.

“For our U.S. tests, we used an Internet address near Palo Alto, Calif., which prompted Google to rank nearby businesses and municipal Web sites near the top of search results,” McCullagh explains. “The City of Palo Alto’s Web site appears in the first page of search results for terms including ‘adventures,’ ‘art,’ ‘business,’ ‘gas,’ and ‘jobs.’ PaloAltoOnline.com makes repeat appearances (‘budget cuts,’ ‘restaurants’), as do Stanford, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, and Mike’s Bikes.”

Some of the common reasons why sites in U.K. and U.S.have lost ranking are too many links taking you away from the main page, too many broken links, expired vouchers or deals, too many ads and lack of original content.

Any Site that has dropped a page or two in Google’s search results could see more permanent bad effects by this update. We already know historically that most users do not click beyond the first page of Google search results. Therefore the wounded sites from this update could suffer a serious loss of traffic and it may take them some time to get back up into the premier league 1st page for their keywords.

About Zak Jacobs

Zak Jacobs is the Director of UK Digital Marketing Agency Red Alien and an experienced organic search (SEO) professional, passionate about online integrity, user experiences and optimisation strategies. Connect with Zak on Google+ here

4 Comments

  • Darell Rupard says:

    I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I certainly enjoying every miniature bit of it. I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

  • Helga says:

    I definitely knew about the majority of this, but having said that, I still considered it had been useful. Fine work!

  • Cabridge Wedding Photographer says:

    I was looking for info on local seo and this is really helpful and some interesting stats, thanks

  • vaisha says:

    I think it’s incredibly fair. Panda’s dramatically increased focus on social media makes rankings a little more democratic and forces webhosts and SEO’s to think more creatively to market and promote their site. This is better for everyone; hosts and consumers.

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