Google's Latest "Minor" Panda Release Seems Pretty Major

Oct 18, 2011 • 8:35 am | comments (66) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Panda Update Minor?Yesterday we reported that Google rolled out a "minor" update to the Google Panda algorithm, which we labelled Panda 2.5.2.

The thing is, the level of complaints and forum posts, as well as comments on my post, is at a level that seems to be more than "minor" by our standards.

There are literally hundreds of complaints, complaints maybe at levels closer to a full major update to the Panda algorithm, as opposed to what we saw back on October 9th.

Here are some of the many threads I've seen with complaints at the Google Webmaster Help Forums, HighRankings Forums and WebmasterWorld.

Here are some of the complaints:

My 3-year-old site is about sharing the adventure of the renovation of my little house, with emphasis on energy efficiency and downsizing. Traffic has been growing steadily, thanks to all the original content, lots and lots of original photos, how-to's, interesting stories of the successes and failures. This is an ongoing project; as recently as last Thursday, I uploaded a page with some "Before and After" photos and descriptions.

I have followed all the rules over the years, yet on the morning of October 14 I woke up to an unexplainable 60% drop in traffic. I've heard that Google has been adjusting its algorithm or something. I don't understand how that works but I know that I have not done anything to deserve this huge loss (which of course is translated into a corresponding loss of income from my site).

I would like to hear FROM GOOGLE why my site was singled out for this disaster and what I can do to regain my traffic and my confidence in Google.

Oct. 14, 2011 - mid day, notice huge drop in traffic, a visitor here and there from google maybe every 2 or 3 minutes. Site is over 8 years old, no major changes have been done. Survived many Panda updates/tweeks prior to today, not sure what happened or how to go about fixing it. Any suggestions are welcome.

My site is about 13 months old. I have had increasing traffic until Oct. 14, when my traffic declined 67% overnight. I have put in hundreds of hours creating original, very informative, content to help my readers and I add about 4 pages per month. Is there something I have done to get this amount of loss in traffic?

Those are just a few of the hundreds of complaints in the various forums and blogs. To me, this October 13/14th update to Panda seems a lot more significant than what Google made it out to be. Or maybe I am wrong?

Take my poll:

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help Forums, HighRankings Forums and WebmasterWorld.

Image from bullet74/Shutterstock.

Previous story: comScore: Google With 65% + Search Market Share



10/18/2011 01:20 pm

Well the thing is that the panda update "learning machine" is teaching itself so every update is going to be more and more difficult because the machine is narrowing down the results more and more. Philadelphia SEO

Chris Bernard

10/18/2011 01:37 pm

I don't like surprises.  I am the first born in my family and planning is in the DNA.  Oh...our clients have also come to expect that as well.  Lately I have had problems communicating Google's chaotic behavior with regard to rankings.  That being said , what are the best sites and resources that have consistently foretold of changes in Google's algorithms.   Without the red phone to Google execs in hand,  these resources might help lift the performance for all!  Thanks sincerely @dock29:twitter


10/18/2011 01:45 pm

People that complain probably know what they did wrong but might not want to be totally honest. I seen people running sites for 1-2-3 years have 10K backlinks and most of those were bought by xrumer, scrapebox etc..  Not everyone deserves it but google is not perfect either, use the reconsideration button!


10/18/2011 02:33 pm

A couple of my sites got hit same as others 60% down, both are aged and are 100% white hat.. in both cases down a few places and replaced with very thin sites. I'm sure google will roll this back as it makes no sense. Been displaced by a better site comes with the territory this though is just down right wrong.. google [goldfish care] I'm now # 3  The # 1 position is 5 pages and the #2 in my opinion considering all things should not out rank mine...  I also see many posters with exactly the same problem...   If I had a site about Toyota Camry's hogging #1 I would have no complaints if's camary page displaced me, I wouldn't like it but I could see reason behind it, unlike what is happening..

Larry Page

10/18/2011 03:17 pm

Sorry webmasters but we need more revenue for the 4th quarter.


10/18/2011 04:03 pm

Of course the best way to beat Panda is dropping links in comments, right Chris?

Anthony Baker

10/18/2011 04:07 pm

Once again I thought I was making some progress towards Panda recovery of my 11 year old website of ALL unique original content, but this last so called  insignificant Panda "tweak" has sent my traffic off a cliff "again!". I took a 40% drop in traffic very noticeable on the morning of October 14th. When will the nightmare end? Ugh.


10/18/2011 04:57 pm

I have to say that this update was definitely substantial to some. We have lost close to 50% of organic traffic after first Panda release, and saw no recovery at all until the release on Saturday morning, when our numbers started rapidly climbing back to pre-Panda days.  Unlike most people who comment/complain here, ours is a public company site with 5 mil+ monthly visitors and saw a real three-figure revenue impact (losses, SEO consultants, release cycles).  I understand that I am generalizing, but through working on this issue for months, I am noticing that most people that are most vocal on the issue - run tiny scraping/rebloging sites, or work in SEO "firms" which practice in content outsourcing and linkbuilding. I find this damaging to the cases of sites that have been legitimately crying out for help for being unjustly punished. It's easy to get lost in the thousands of reconsideration requests from SEO-shops in Bangladesh.  All that said, I am really hoping that this update holds for us, but do recognize that some sites might still be taking an unfair hit just like us. 

Anthony Baker

10/18/2011 05:08 pm

NotRealName..... Of course your site has seen improvements.  5 mil+ monthly visitors? Yep, you are considered a big brand site or just big site in general. The Panda is catering to big sites and squashing us little guys."tiny scraping/rebloging sites, or work in SEO "firms" which practice in content outsourcing and linkbuilding"?Nope, that does not describe me. I have worked extremely hard for the past 11 years building a dream. All original content. High quality content that is useful to visitors and I have been slapped hard repeatedly since the Panda came out in April. With every slap, I loose traffic and position while huge sites like your take my spot.  It's frustrating to say the least. Google has assumed that if your a big brand or a huge site then you obviously of excellent content and if your a small guy, well... who needs ya! It's all very sad and has been a nightmare for me. My dream has been crushed by the Panda.


10/18/2011 05:29 pm

Like I said, I do recognize that there are plenty of sites being caught in this which are not in the category of those that "should" be punished.  I know it seems like it's small guys vs big brands, but actually this is how we feel too when we look at sites that have 20mil+ of traffic and seemingly get better treatment. If you have followed Panda developments closely you will see that sites of all sizes have been impacted. I do believe that there's a bigger chance for manual/human review process if you are a large brand but that is mostly because ranking changes for large sites impact more consumers. This is not to advocate preferential treatment, but it is the reality of domain/brand power. Which I consider we do not have by the way.  Please do not take me wrong, I don't know what your business is and what impact this had on your income/life, but consider a business loosing $300,000+ per month for almost a year and what that means for people who work in the company.  If you would like a free quick review of your property, let me know your email, I have been working on  Panda projects since it was rolled out and could possibly point you in the right direction. 

Anthony Baker

10/18/2011 05:49 pm

Yeah, I guess is all a matter of perspective. You, with 3 mil+ looking at sites with 20 mil + and a small guy like me working alone who used to get 3,000 - 6,000 visitors per day now getting 600 per day looking at site getting 3 mil. +. Definitively a matter of perspective indeed!  Since April this year when I saw my traffic leap off a cliff for the first time in 10 years, I have studies much, read much, and redesigned much. I have spent about 400 hours redesigning and restructuring my site to please the panda. I had everything Panda wanted, I just had it packaged wrong. I've always had quality and original content. One thing that has been killing me is the scrapper sites you speak of. There is TONS of my content copied in it's entirety on many blogs and sites. I have been spending a lot of time emailing webmasters and webhost services insisting that they take the copied content off their services. Duplicate content and or original content is one thing I believe I am getting penalized for but it's none of my doing. I can tell this is going to be a long, long fight to get back to where I was. I definitely fall under the category of a little go and the site was helping with family expenses. I have lost most of that extra money since Panda. I would love to briefly chat more about this with you and have a quick review. Would definitely not turn that down.   Drop me a note:  anthony.d.baker@@gmail:disqus .comPeace!   Tony

Tamil Nejam

10/18/2011 06:50 pm

Always My Site is Indexing well. But not showing in SERP from Oct 14th. all other scraper sites are getting first page result. So what is the Final Solution? 

Markom Dizajn

10/18/2011 07:49 pm

Thats exactly what I was thinking - until 2.5.2 update...


10/18/2011 09:15 pm

I also concur about the scraper sites that took my content and now outranking my site.  I really hope Google figures out how to fix this bug.  In the past, if you were the first with the content usually their algo was smart enough to know who was the original and whom wasn't.


10/18/2011 09:30 pm

You have no clue what you're talking about. Many autoblogs have reported to benefit. Stop guessing.


10/18/2011 09:34 pm

This is the first time I've been impacted by Panda in an obvious way. My organic search traffic is up at least 60% since 2.5.2 hit the night of October 13. I'm no SEO expert - I just have a high quality blog that I post to 10-15 times per year, for a total of about 35 (long and well researched) posts. Getting 600-800 total pageviews per day now, compared with 350-500 previously, and now most of it is coming from Google search. The extra traffic is coming entirely from longer tail keywords. The SERPs (and organic search traffic) for my top 10 most popular keywords have not changed. Obviously I have a different perspective on this but one thing interesting I've noticed based on just a few test searches is that long tail searches related to my most popular post (Best Browsers 2011: Which is the Best Browser for You?) are showing the highest quality search results that I've seen during the past 2 years for browser related searches. I usually see a lot of mediocre or outdated content from larger (or more SEO optimized) sites ranking better than my content but much less so since this update. So this could indicate that, for certain keywords at least, search quality has substantially improved.


10/18/2011 11:56 pm

Hilarious... Greg took the joke right out of my head.

Rock That

10/19/2011 01:20 am

Man, I feel like I cannot catch a break with this..... 

speed pc up

10/19/2011 01:57 am

what's changed in google Panda 2.5.2 ?


10/19/2011 02:39 am

FilterJoe, weren't you making fun of others hit by panda before? You must have a made for ads junk site.


10/19/2011 03:56 am

Karma - You must be thinking of someone else. This is the first time I've posted a comment on seoroundtable. I have no on-page ads on my site (though I do have a Google search box that includes ads in search results). I've never seen anything like this happen to my site before. I'm sure it's very frustrating for people who were negatively impacted by any of the Panda updates, and even more so for those who were hit multiple times.

Areeb Bajwa

10/19/2011 06:31 am

I noticed my sites moving around quite a bit on the 13th. Not much changed though. I ignore most changes nd just keep trying to make my sites better and bring in more relevant backlinks.

Black Cat SEO

10/19/2011 06:33 am

Someone is going to be pissed no matter what. Just a fact of life.

Glenn Bearsky

10/19/2011 07:04 am

My observation: This latest Panda Update is prep for the Holiday Shopping Season: SUPRISE! Amazon is all over the #1 position now, Oh look and there's more product images just below and Apple and BestBuy and Nextag and OfficeDepot and TigerDirect are all there - and your stoopid little product review site just got shoved down. Waaay down. Cuz your site isn't needed in Goog's world - at least not during the Xmas season... So tweak and twiddle 101 SEO factors all you want - cuz Goog want's all it's Big Box Big Boy Buddy-Buddies to be rewarded for their bulk AdWords purchases from Black Friday onwards. In the meantime - 'fix' your site 'quality' and hold your breath cuz I don't think we'll see the next Big Panda Shakeup until... Mid-January.


10/19/2011 10:45 am

You guys totally do not get what Matt cutts said. He said minor, yes. But do you know what it means? It means it ain't gonna affect the million or multimillion dollar companies but rather web masters or companies with small network of sites.  That is the reason Cutts referred to this panda maul as MINOR. You got to read between the lines.

Anthony Baker

10/19/2011 11:42 am

haha!.. yeah. Minor, as in the little guys don't count ;-) Minor Tweak. OK, I get it now. Thanks for clearing that up.


10/19/2011 11:47 am

Glad i helped :)


10/19/2011 12:05 pm

Oh, but you see that is not enough. You have to be a big brand to get the majority of long tail traffic from now on. 


10/19/2011 12:50 pm

Seeing lots of blogs and sub-domain based sites in ranking, is this the Google attempt to give value to sub-domain? hubpages had implemented this to overcome panda update!!! Isn't this suggestion given by Google employee? Looks like its a deliberate and manual push to promote blogspot more on search engine.


10/19/2011 01:41 pm

You sure the traffic drop doesn't have to do with the new way Google Analytics is counting "visits"?

Vivek Parmar

10/19/2011 01:52 pm

With this update traffic increases and did not know the reason. Even though some of the posts performing too good as they are not giving anything yet (may be few visits in 2-3 days). Now they are the top performing posts of the day..


10/19/2011 02:07 pm

Lesson learned people don't put your eggs in one basket.....dont rely on just Google ...differentiate to other marketing mix Google is a financial company and they will squizze every dime out of you and then throw like a dirty rag 


10/19/2011 02:15 pm

Yeah, well my sites never took a hit from the panda until this 2.5.2 update. Minor my ass, I'm getting 80% less traffic on my smaller websites. All the sites I've heavily nuked Areeb are doing really badly right now. Not sure if it has any correlation with it because of a bad artificial link profile. (Using the content creator and automatic spinner to submit everywhere) But I think the days of setting up small micro/review sites, outsourcing content and link profiles using tools like SEnuke are over. Looks like authority sites,  solid link profiles that consist of unique backlinks and lots of user/social activity is the way forward. Who knows, but even high quality sites full of unique content are getting hit. Companies that have been running for over a decade think they're going to go out of business. It's all shit in my opinion, Google better sort out the whipping of high quality sites thing.

Check Advantage

10/19/2011 03:38 pm

@68be1a6ac7ed790c3d56c57fa9209fb8:disqus the best thing you can do to get rid of the duplicate content issue (if you're not already) is start using the rel="author" attribute. Instructions from Google -

Anthony Baker

10/19/2011 03:43 pm

Thank you for this valuable tip! I was not even aware of this attribute! So much to keep up with. Head is spinning. I will jump on this right away! 

Will Spencer

10/19/2011 04:01 pm

All updates are "minor" when the results don't affect YOU.

Nick Roshon

10/19/2011 07:21 pm

I got hit on the 14th :( Not sure why, my site is far from only guess is that I haven't set my WordPress tag pages to noindex, so maybe they're seeing all the tag pages as empty/thin content. I just fixed that, I'm curious to see if that helps rebound. IMO all of these Panda updates have made Google look really sloppy, and that they're not really in control of their algo anymore. Them thinking all of these updates are necessary is definitely a signal that their algorithm itself is broken and they're not happy with it. 


10/20/2011 06:41 am

People say don't rely on Google. I agree and Google can forget about relying on me too - I have now changed to Bing (working well too) and my android phone is no more either. I may be just a little drip but lots of drips like me make an ocean.

GoGi Rana

10/20/2011 10:10 am

Thank god the update was not  a major one :- ) well traffic down for me too will wait and see if it recovers.  Interestingly alexa traffic rank seems to be jumping in joy, even when Google analytics is telling a rather disappointing story. Has anyone noticed alexa acting weirdly?


10/20/2011 12:14 pm

Barry, Look like search engine round table got + on recent panda update... good ranking of then last time.. :) if I am not wrong.. ?


10/20/2011 01:00 pm

Another update took place yesterday. 14/15th lost main keywords. In the past 24 hours lost all of my long tail keywords on a site with top rankings for over 7 years! Several AdSense sites replaced it!

Anthony Baker

10/20/2011 01:12 pm

Welcome to the nightmare John. Tell Google about your horror:Read this: post here:


10/21/2011 05:56 am

This update seems to have some flaws. How can Adsense sites, affiliate sites and sites using old school black hat techniques continue to rank well and sites which provide good quality content to a user take a hit? Is that what Google wants in their search results?


10/21/2011 06:40 am

your an idiot


10/21/2011 06:52 am

nah... its not the tag pages. Google absolutely knows its a tag page. the url itself says tag. All tags are Just Tags. By the way my site is number one for very competitve keyword. tags are all indexed! So no need to ever worry about tags.  I believe google will roll back. I seriously think somehow this was a test of the algo tweak, but sites that are just ridiculously poor content and very few backlinks ... that are just crappy spam links arebbeating  The sites that have extreme authority with a backlink profile that is so strong it would make your head spin. The one site that got hit, has incredible backlinks. Even strong backlinks from every Top television newsite like CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN etc. The one that moved up during this mes up has 23 scrapebox blog comments!  NO WAY IT WILL STAY THE SAME! So Next week at  this time.... There is a great chance to see your sites rolled back to previous ranking... as long as it really WAS a site that had authority, great original content, great onsite, and a strong backlink profile!


10/21/2011 08:47 pm

This Panda slap is not what our economy needs right now.  I had to take huge cut in pay on my day job and now have lost at least half of online income.  Shame on you Google.  You are acting like our Government.  As long as you have money, that's all that matters, never mind the hard-working people with honest websites.


10/22/2011 02:37 am

I was wondering about this.  Do you have more info?  Can you suggest where to get more info? Thanks!

Sourabh Rana

10/22/2011 12:02 pm

i m totally agree. for matt cutts it is very minor but mine 30% traffic is lost :( . I don't know what Google wants and what he proves from this Crappy & spammy Google panda update 

Matt cutts Mom

10/22/2011 08:48 pm

i had 5 people working on my website,traffic was good prior to panda 2.2. Now all got fired!! :(I dont know what these google geeks did in algorithm,that traffic dropped 80% and till today am not able to recover....One weird thing i noted now is that google books are shown more in serps,even when books are out of has gone greedy...wish we could create some opensource searchEngine


10/22/2011 09:19 pm

Didn't notice a thing Oct 14 Sept. 3rd is the day I lost 90% of my traffic from Google's wrath.. dee


10/23/2011 01:13 pm

My 4 year old wedding site, has lost 3/4 of its traffic starting on 10/14/11 and the earnings I am now getting per day from Google since this update won't even buy me a large Starbucks drink. My site is all original content written by me except for the Bible verses that brides can use in their weddings. Those were written by God and he does not mind that I am posting his Word on my wedding site. Thank you, Google! I am now losing hundreds of visitors each day and hundreds of dollars in income.


10/23/2011 05:40 pm

Am so fed up with Google.  We have been struggling for 5+ years with sites that STEAL our content and then outrank us in Google.  This is not a problem for other search engines.  Only Google.  We finally found some stability in the past year, albeit at significantly less traffic than we once received, but nonetheless, our rankings and site were stable.  So what does google do?  The 10/14 update took another 50% of our traffic away, and I can't help but think that it's because a few sites on foreign soil have stolen significant amounts of our content. It doesn't matter if they link to us or not.  Our site if screwed by Google.  Their sites show up in the first page or two; ours is nowhere to be found.  If Panda was supposed to fix the long-standing problem of crediting ORIGINAL CONTENT, it is doing a HORRIBLE job.


10/24/2011 03:07 pm

Just like the others quoted in the story, what is most disappointing is that I lost 60% of the traffic to a 4 year old very well established site. The site dominated it's niche and even though it was a commercial site, had the lowest bounce rate of any site I've ever built, including some popular blogs. I can see any good reason to knock it down. Hopefully Google will monitor these discussions and realize that there were unintended consequences in this latest tweak of the algo.

Anthony Baker

10/24/2011 03:22 pm

Jon, Google is not monitoring this discussion. It can't monitor the 1,000's of discussion boards going on about the evil Panda. However, they are monitoring this discussion here: Please go there and drop your complaint. Google Panda has been a heartbreak to many. I am one of them that is very frustrated and discouraged by all the Panda updates. I have all original content, was solid for years. My site is 10 years old and everything on my site is wjhat tghe Panda wants and still i get slapped HARD! It's all a nightmare. Please go to link above and complain. Thanks,   Tony


11/01/2011 11:23 pm

I have had an all original content site in the travel space for the past five years. Over that time Google seemed to like what I was doing. I was invited to visit with Google on one of their Adsense in Your City events. With the Panda update of last May or so I came out well. Search queries were up and more relevant to content and traffic was up,  not big, but solid. Starting about July of 2011 I noticed some pages starting to move down,including some very reliable solid content, & income producing pages. Search queries seemed to soften through September, then on October 13, 2011, traffic immediately dropped by about 45%. I've been waiting to see if it would work its way up again, but has not. Queries now seem to come heavily from image searches, though the site focues on origail text content with original images illustrating. Query quality and ctrs are off. Whatever Google did on Oct. 13, for me at least it finally hurt, badly.

Thomson UW

11/02/2011 11:32 am

MY site is also badly affected by Google Panda.My keywords ranking is too down and lost 80% traffic of my site.


11/02/2011 02:15 pm

I've actually noticed a huge drop in traffic/income for my site mid September 2011, and although I am receiving traffic/income it is way off from what it should be with a almost 2.5 year old informative content site.

Dip View

11/09/2011 07:27 am

This update on 14th october didnt affect that many websites like the 24 th Feb Panda update.The referral traffic from google has significantly gone down for some of the websites


11/15/2011 05:44 am

Just check out some of the garbage that has been promoted since 2.5.2. Well done Google, tossers.


11/15/2011 05:46 am

Get over it, it's God's will, right? LOL. But seriously, copied, duplicate, god's word, whatever, if you have any of this on your site then expect to get slapped. Google doesn't care about your religion.


11/28/2011 12:45 pm

I wish the Federal Trade Commission would take a big shit on Google's head for unfair and anti competitive practices. They have made many people suffer including myself from these PANDA updates. The whole process of SEO has been discredited.

Buy SEnuke

12/05/2011 08:29 am

Sure is. It's a game changer


12/12/2011 01:20 pm

I voted very significant since my website is one which lost all its traffic(almost 90-95%) overnight.

London Massage

01/14/2012 02:21 am

Google panda kill my site first time on 1st update than afther that panda give me 1st position on 5 main local kw's. 

Mike Langley

01/28/2012 10:19 pm

Let's start a world wide campaign against Google where we tell everybody to NEVER click ANY Google ad again! :-) That'll show them.

Very Bad

03/29/2012 01:25 pm

Still haven't recovered after so many months....ridiculous with a informative, content rich website... Nonsense Google...nonsense...

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