If you’re familiar with Google’s 2011 Panda update, you know that some 12% of all search results were affected by some pretty drastic changes in the way Google treats them. This includes not only individual posts, blogs and article pages – but entire sites, even sites that arguably are of high quality.
Now, we’re asking ourselves if Matt Cutts’ blog is one of those sites.
With so many webmasters devastated by the Panda update – and just as many complaining that high-value sites have taken the beating low-value sites were supposed to – Matt Cutts’ blog might be one of the most high-profile examples of Google Panda having unintended consequences.
First, consider that the Google Panda update was rolled out in February of this year. Now, examine the Compete.com report for Matt Cutts’ traffic since then:
There definitely seems to be a downward trend coinciding with the release of Panda, but perhaps more revealing is Alexa.com‘s take, which shows a sharp drop coinciding with the Panda international rollout in April:
How could mattcutts.com be impacted by the Google Panda international rollout when the site is not technically an international site? Here are a couple of things to consider:
- Mattcutts.com would certainly be expected to receive large amounts of international visitors due to its subject matter. Might that constitute an international site in the eyes of Panda?
- Not all sites impacted by the international Panda rollout were international sites.
Third party traffic statistics sources like Alexa and Compete.com do not accurately measure site traffic, but the estimates they offer are commonly referred to in the search community.
If Matt Cutts is indeed feeling the Panda burn, he’s not the only one. As Barry Schwartz at SERoundtable.com wrote in April (bold added):
Google said the algorithm works even “deeper into the “long tail” of low-quality websites to return higher-quality results where the algorithm might not have been able to make an assessment before.” So if anything, it appears to impact even more sites and Google confirmed that, saying an additional “2% of U.S. queries” were impacted by this update. Impacted how? I do not think sites have claimed to be released from the algorithm update, even after updating their sites – but I do see more sites claiming they were hurt by this update.
Google itself has listed some bullet points for measuring a site’s quality in the form of 23 questions site owners should ask themselves like “would you trust the information presented in this article?” however don’t seem to apply to all of the sites that are feeling a traffic crunch after the new algorithms were rolled out. If one of Google’s own – and undeniably a provider of value to the search community in Matt Cutts – is vulnerable, what other high-quality sites is Google missing?
Juxtaposing mattcutts.com against the 23 questions leave only two that could possibly apply:
- Does the article describe both sides of a story?
- For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
Was Matt Cutts’ blog impacted by Panda? If so, there may be more than 23 questions to ask.
Update: Matt confirmed via Twitter that he was not impacted.