So I've been doing pretty much nonstop research on Panda and how to thrive in the midst of it, and I thought I'd share some interesting info I learned that might help others.
1) Panda isn't actually a part of the Google algorithm. It's released periodically, to ravage the landscape as it were, every 4-7 weeks. So if you've found yourself in a plunge from a Panda slap and you do your best to fix your problems, it can take between 4-7 weeks for Panda to come rolling around again before you return to your pre-slap levels.
2) Panda can give out sitewide penalties for just a handful of pages on that site that have triggered an alarm. Just a few bad pages can penalize the whole site.
3) Panda is the first algorithm update that uses human metrics as a huge measure of quality. Things like pageview duration and bounce rate are now big measures for determining the Serps. Having content that doesn't satisfy these measures and keep the reader interested can get a Panda slap. This can have huge effects. In the past, more traffic was always better. But now, untargeted traffic can work against you. Sometimes pages are optimized for keywords that don't really suit the content, causing a low pageview duration and readers to leave more quickly, creating a potentially dangerous situation.
Interesting. thanks for the info. As bad as Panda has been for a lot of us, if Google is trying to increase quality, then I think they are on the right track. Penalizing entire sites just for a few bad pages sucks though.
Yeah, that's the bad part. And it makes it really hard to fix potential problems. Penalizing an entire site for just a few bad pages doesn't give the webmaster any information on how to fix their problems. So they're just stabbing in the dark on how to overcome the slap. Plus, having to wait 1 to 2 months per Panda release makes guess and check testing almost impossible. It's good for the users but horrible for the website owner.
What do you consider a reasonable time on page? Say, for a information type hub?
That's a good question, especially for informational type hubs that tend to have a high bounce rate because they do a good job of answering the question. Unfortunately though, Google Analytics is a terrible measure for informational hubs with high bounce rate. Analytics only measures view duration for people who haven't bounced. Take me for example. In Analytics, my average view duration across the board is over 4 minutes. Sounds impressive, but I still managed to get myself into a plunge. So I've been wondering a lot about your question myself.
Instead of Analytics, I've been using the Hubpages hubmetrics for each hub as a general guide. The pageview duration only goes up to 5 stars *****(At least, I'm pretty sure). I've been deleting or altering hubs that have less than 4 stars. I'm going to see if that makes any difference.
When you only measure time on page for non-bouncers that is indeed a problem, and your solution has merit.
When readers don't bounce, but stay and read thereby giving a time on page for analytics it kind of automatically means they are already interested. For the most part it seems to me that if they move on to another hub they have some interest, and thus analytics doesn't count those that don't.
And as you say, a high bounce rate is almost inevitable for info hubs and even sales hubs,too, and that complicates matters. I'm only getting 10% or so of my visitors coming from my own subdomain, which does reflect a high bounce rate. Can't think of much to do about it, though - most of my hubs are of the info type.
I'm with you. I write mostly informational type hubs and my bounce rate is unreal. It's above 90% across the board, but my view duration has always been great, so I haven't worried about it until I lost 50% of my traffic in one day. I don't know what to do about it except to keep tweaking my hubs and trying to make the content as good as I can.
Well, I had been wondering about time on page for the plungers, but yours is in line with mine (I have yet to plunge). Yes, I have some at over 10 minutes average, but overall the average is just under 4 minutes. My overall bounce is a little over 80%, but I actually doubt that is the problem even though yours is higher.
Benjimester, thanks so much for sharing your research. Outstanding info!
Tsk, Benji, you have been reading the wrong info.
Google wants people to read their article aloud, and if it doesn't sound right, SANDBOX.
Try it and see
Maybe it might be a good idea to disconnect G analytics to your Hubs. That way the big G will not know.
I have read about people doing this recently, but it is my understanding that Google Analytics only allows YOU to see what Google sees, so disconnecting accounts means nothing really. Just means you can't see what they see.
I have no doubt that is 100% true. Google sees all and knows all.
Trouble is that in real life it is 'different strokes for different folks', and with the big G trying to force their version of quality onto every writer it will eventually mean that any originality and diversity on the web will be gone - writers will only be producing bite-sized chunks of info with exactly the % of keyword density demanded. Whereas, in reality, we all like different things and different writing styles. Very soon the whole world is going to be a horrible homogeneous place in shrink wrap!
While it is admirable to try and get rid of the junk, they are really not doing a very good job of it, and maybe they should just let up for a while so that the dust can settle - after all is it really in G's interests if they send everyone broke?
Yeah, you have some really good questions in here. People are starting to call the Panda the "Big Purge" because it's getting rid of so many different types of sites. Google clearly is setting very strict guidelines for what it will display to users at least for now, showing that it can change the game whenever it pleases.
Hang in there though because the future of searches is going to be quite different. Google is moving in the direction of trying to figure out what people are looking for based on their search history and demographics. An example of how future searches will operate: if a 70 year old farmer in Kansas were to type in "beautiful art" into the search box it will display very different pictures and info than it would to an 18 year old living in Seattle who types in the same search. Google is going to try and cater the results to the demographic and search preferences it already has stored on the person. So that should create at least some level of diversity of content. People who have shown that they like to read longer, more comprehensive articles will have search results filled with long articles, and people who have ADD will get search results of bite sized content. There's lots of evidence to support that they're moving heavily in this direction. So the different strokes for different folks will eventually become a reality. We just have to keep enduring the crazy Panda for awhile and make sure now more than ever that our content is the best it can be.
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