Google Panda and its impact on Ecommerce stores

During Feb 2011 Google the leading search engine introduced a significant change to the way its algorithm worked. As Google accounts for something like 85% of UK and USA based search results the impact was dramatic.

The change involved the introduction of a filter that excluded certain types of pages from their search results. Their stated aim was to reduce the numbers of lower quality pages within their index. The main target being what are known as content farms, these are very large sites that collect together content with the aim of achieving prominence in the search results. Very shortly after Panda was rolled out it was extended to the internet in general.

Google set up a team to develop the Panda algorithm which was headed by a senior Google engineer called Amrit Panda, hence the name given to the Algorithm update. This involved a team of human reviewers looking at a wide range of types of pages, then attributing scores to each according to how reputable and useful they found each type. Google then used a process known as machine learning and a maths approach called decision trees to replicate the human opinion.

The exact criteria that the Panda filter uses are only known to the engineers at Google, however from our own research we have indentified the following as indicators that Panda is using to determine if a web page should be filtered out or not.

Sad looking PandaThis approach works from Google's perspective as it quickly separates pages into those that meet the criteria and those that do not. If you run an ecommerce store then you potentially have a series of major headaches as a result of this update. Here are some of the issues that we have seen since 2011.

There are similar issue with distributors and resellers.

How to solve or address the problems?

In some situations the changes brought about by Panda mean that it is not possible to fully recover traffic levels back to what was achieved prior to Feb 2011, as Google now works differently. There are a lot of steps that can be taken to improve however. Here are some examples.

All these approaches work, and can turn the Google Panda update to your advantage. Here at Discount Domains we have our own dedicated in house team of experts who can give help and advice on how to recover and develop a website that is suffering in this way.

We can work on a one off consultancy basis or for as part of an ongoing monthly promotion campaign. If you want to speak to our team, then please complete the enquiry form on this page or call our main number on 01952 288383, we are a friendly team of UK based search engine experts based in Telford Shropshire.

Adrian Lawrence is the author of this article and is one of the webmasters at Discount Domains

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