Panda 4.1 - The Winners and Losers (HubPages loses 46%)

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  1. makingamark profile image69
    makingamarkposted 8 years ago

    Search Metrics has produced its perennial update about winners and losers post a Panda Update - in this case the 4.1 which commenced its slow roll-out last week

    Here's a link to the report "Panda Update 4.1: Winners / Losers – Google U.S." 

    HubPages is noted as the 32nd biggest loser with a loss of 46% of SEO visibility   If you right click on the link in the report you get to see the more detailed searchmetrics chart and other related data - and whose hubs get to be highlighted!

    Interestingly another well respected article site is also a big loser - losing 34%

    Plus even the eminent "Oxford Dictionaries" is noted as a big loser - losing 31% of SEO visibility

    So before you start to unpick the stats, reflect on the following

    * The explanation of SEO Visibility - which is what SearchMetrics actually measures

    Just a friendly reminder: The following data is based on the organic SEO Visibility for each domain for all researched keywords, compared to our last data point. The actual traffic by each domain – for example brand and/or direct traffic etc. – can vary with values given here.

    * PLUS whether your explanation also explains these other losses. If you pick a hypothesis which is HubPages specific there's a very good chance you are only discussing the marginal impact.

    1. Redneck Lady Luck profile image61
      Redneck Lady Luckposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I think Google may be overstepping their power a bit and it may be time for them to back down a bit.

      1. makingamark profile image69
        makingamarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Google has the power because we've given them the power by using their search service which enables them to sell their AdSense and AdWords services.

        There's no way that Google is going to back down. However giving them feedback about the impact of their changes is one way to influence future change. 

        Bear in mind when feeding back that their two priorities are:
        1) better search experience for users of the search engine
        2) better search results so as to gain more income from their commercial services.

        Protecting article sites does NOT feature in their priority list. Sites like HubPages make it - or not - on the basis of sticking to the Google Guidelines for quality content.

      2. Brite-Ideas profile image94
        Brite-Ideasposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        I'm doing my part with word of mouth - There's a rule in biz marketing (generally) everybody knows 50 people (in general) so bad press can multiply fast. I'm sure google could care less. Doesn't matter to me, I'll still do my part.  I have four sons, and I've told all of them what google did to me, their extremely hard working mom, and they know how hard I work, they see it. Their friends have heard this too. I said, spread the word. Tell your friends to use Bing. Sure I know it won't make a difference in the big picture, but it's the only power I have so I use it.

        1. MelRootsNWrites profile image90
          MelRootsNWritesposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          You know what is interesting?  Over the last year, I have found myself using Bing more and more--on purpose.  I've become less reliant on Google because for the last year or so it's been giving me less relevant search results.  I do quite a bit of research for my genealogy.  I used to depend on Google as my first search point to find new resources.  I'm finding more and more that I get better results on Bing.  It doesn't hold true for every type of search.  But, it seems for that purpose it's gotten more difficult to find what I want on Google.  I don't see it as my number one starting point anymore.

          I am probably in a very tiny minority.  LOL

          1. Jadelynx-HP profile image43
            Jadelynx-HPposted 8 years agoin reply to this

            Actually no, I have been using Bing for years, I like their results better.  Over the years I have developed a pretty healthy hate for Google.  I am sick of the hoops we all have to jump through trying to figure out what they want.  They have too much power and they need to get knocked down a peg or ten.

      3. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image89
        TIMETRAVELER2posted 8 years agoin reply to this

        a bit???   Right!  You need to take a look at my post called Let's Dump Google...make sure to read all of the posts and especially the articles on lawsuits that are mentioned.  Google is WAY out of line!

    2. best-gifts-ever profile image51
      best-gifts-everposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      It seems small (and probably niche) sites are (in general) winners in this.

      Yes - Redneck Lady - Google is definitely making it hard on webmasters in general. Personally my biggest beef is with the manual penalties, handed out by people who have a minute to compare two sites.

    3. paradigmsearch profile image62
      paradigmsearchposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      One heck of a link there, thanks! smile

      I guess by the end of this week, each of us will pretty much know where our individual accounts stand...

    4. Nell Rose profile image89
      Nell Roseposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Ironically one site called spoonful dot com which is near the top of the 'best sites now' is actually closing today! I just checked it! well done Google!

  2. Len Cannon profile image88
    Len Cannonposted 8 years ago

    If ComDotGame is the big winner of this Panda update, I think it might be fair to say this might have been a failed iteration of the algorithm on Google's part.

    1. NateB11 profile image88
      NateB11posted 8 years agoin reply to this


    2. Brite-Ideas profile image94
      Brite-Ideasposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      +100 percent as well

  3. makingamark profile image69
    makingamarkposted 8 years ago

    Note that searchengineland hypothesises that the level of losses sustained by HubPages and Office365 might be related to URL migrations … ers-204504

  4. makingamark profile image69
    makingamarkposted 8 years ago

    Reviewing the winners and losers, the thing which strikes me is that it's dedicated niche sites who are the winners compared to generic compendiums - such as article sites.

    However this site seems to have done well (+53%).

    I'm trying to work out what's different about it - and it seems to be that it's employed dedicated experts to provide the advice. Sounds like the model to me.

    1. Marisa Wright profile image90
      Marisa Wrightposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Way back in 2011 when Google released the first Panda, the one thing they actually explained (amongst all their vague pointers) was that they were declaring war on content farms.  Then they made it clear that they considered ALL article sites were content farms.   Subsequently they said they wanted to favour "authority sites", meaning sites with expert opinions and sites dedicated to providing solid information on niche subjects.

      So nothing surprises me about your findings (and thanks for doing that, by the way) - it sounds like Google is finally managing to get Panda to do what it's supposed to do.

      1. makingamark profile image69
        makingamarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        That was my way of thinking too.

        I guess I'm going to have to back to the original strategy which is to base my expertise on the heavy weight authority of my blog and set up my very related content on associated websites focused on specific topics.  Same model as at present but just different sites.

        At least HubPages gives me some time think and breath while I do that!

  5. Swisstoons profile image76
    Swisstoonsposted 8 years ago

    Did you see what the biggest winner is?  This: 
    Check the site.  This is "quality content?"  What???

  6. justholidays profile image66
    justholidaysposted 8 years ago

    I'd like to know which site outranks Oxford Dictionaries now... *Since big G's notion of "best" or "quality content" isn't the same as the one of the rest of the world.*

    1. makingamark profile image69
      makingamarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Oddly enough it's the site which I regularly use when looking up a word  (+31%)

      I only go to the Oxford if I want to quote a refined definition

      Plus there's another dedicated dictionary site

  7. makingamark profile image69
    makingamarkposted 8 years ago

    People need to remember that these are the sites with best SEO visibility.

  8. Glimmer Twin Fan profile image96
    Glimmer Twin Fanposted 8 years ago

    Not getting their math unless the figures they posted are not typed in correctly.  According to their biggest loser chart, HubPages went up, not down like all of the others.

    1. makingamark profile image69
      makingamarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Hence the comment about whether some of the issues relate to lens migration

      Click the link in the name and then look at their chart. That makes more sense of the rating.  However the loss relates to the peak associated with the migration - hence it might possibly be an issue related to timing.

    2. profile image0
      Tilecleaninghubposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Hubpages did not get a 5x gain in traffic so there is obviously a typo somewhere there.

      1. makingamark profile image69
        makingamarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        It's not traffic - the measure they are using is SEO Visibility which is different.

        I'm sure that Paul Edmondson will take that possibility up with Searchmetrics once he's seen the report.

        In the meantime you might like to take a look at the Searchmetrics chart

        1. daxamite profile image93
          daxamiteposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          I was looking at this graph and wondering what went on. The lenses! *Slaps forehead*

  9. makingamark profile image69
    makingamarkposted 8 years ago

    Here's another blog post by SearchMetrics also posted last week (on the 23rd) after the Panda update started

    It's called 5 ways to definitely get hit by a Panda algorithm penalty

    1. NateB11 profile image88
      NateB11posted 8 years agoin reply to this

      That's a good article and helpful. It tells me I'm not doing anything wrong and, so, hopefully the Google slap I've experienced over the past week (more or less) is temporary.

      1. makingamark profile image69
        makingamarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        It's always really useful to have authoritative articles like that which remind you what you know already and reassure you that you're doing the right things.

        I still think there's a couple of things going on right now - Panda and Google regurgitation after having had to absorb an awful lot of content into HubPages.

        I'm thinking the timeline for having a clearer picture of what is going on is more likely to be around three months - with hiccups and burps en route!

        1. Alison Graham profile image94
          Alison Grahamposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Yes, I agree, the dust will settle in a few months - just long enough for us to lose the majority of all those lovel pre-Christmas Amazon sales (and for those to go instead to paid search results on Google!)

      2. DrMark1961 profile image97
        DrMark1961posted 8 years agoin reply to this

        After reading this article, however, I wonder if that Panda update is affecting the whole HP site, including subdomains, or only those that do not follow any of those suggestions. (And you know as well as I do that there are a lot of them published by HP with plenty of ads, numerous spelling and grammatical errors, etc.)
        I also wonder if the EC hubs, which are under the HP subdomain, are going to be hurt a lot worse that our individual subdomains. I would like to see input from someone that is heavily invested in that program. I know Glen Stork has about 1/3 of his hubs listed as EC.
        I also have quite a few, but not nearly as many as he does, and do not feel that I could make a judgement based on those that I have.

        1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image89
          TIMETRAVELER2posted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Dr. Mark 1961:

          Well, I do not write that way, have very few ads, am a retired Language Arts teacher, am extremely knowledgeable in my main niche, etc., etc....and Google has almost totally ruined me.  Thus, your supposition is false.

          1. DrMark1961 profile image97
            DrMark1961posted 8 years agoin reply to this

            Yes, but you mentioned your traffic problems long before this Panda update. Thus, I still have to wonder if this update is affecting those that do not follow the "5 ways to get hit by a Panda algorithm penalty" more than others.

            1. janshares profile image96
              jansharesposted 8 years agoin reply to this

              All was well with my hubs and subdomain until about 5 days ago. Traffic and earnings were good. They've been steady for months, increasing nicely. Now it's gone. I think this is all Panda.

            2. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image89
              TIMETRAVELER2posted 8 years agoin reply to this


              I cannot know what caused my initial problems, which occurred one month to the day prior to Panda, but it clearly was not the result of Panda.  However, once Panda hit, my numbers were cut in half again.

              I was getting between 600 - 700 Google hits daily, and today I got 8!

              Something is really wrong, and Panda is definitely a part of it...but I have other problems as well. If you read any of my work, you will see that I carefully follow the rules.  So, I may never recover and may never know why or what happened...thanks to Google and its secretive ways.

  10. Dale Hyde profile image85
    Dale Hydeposted 8 years ago

    Sites with authority?  Ummm.... I always have thought those that I find here are pretty much an authority on what they write about, so I have to disagree with that reasoning. 

    Overall?  Well Google is sort of "semi-human" and humans make mistakes.

    Overall earnings will drop for whatever the reason.  This is nothing new for us that have been here a day or two.  We have seen this happen over and over with all the various updates.  It is the trend and it appears to be a trend that will not change in the near future.

    Thankfully, I have a "regular" job to pay the bills, lol. smile

    1. Marisa Wright profile image90
      Marisa Wrightposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Google's robots can't judge the correctness of information on a site, so it has to use other, cruder methods.  Its way of judging authority is to look at whether the site is a specialist in one subject or a dilettante.  Ever since the first Panda update in 2011, Google has tended to favour the specialist sites over generalist sites, even if said specialist is talking rubbish.  That's why all revenue-sharing sites have struggled.

      The worry is that with this Panda, they may have strengthened that preference even further.

  11. brakel2 profile image77
    brakel2posted 8 years ago

    Why wouldn't Google give HubPages a break due to site merger?  I guess they don't care about side issues. I think it is a good idea to use Bing. What goes around comes around. I do like the idea of spreading the word from Brite Ideas, I believe.

    1. Marisa Wright profile image90
      Marisa Wrightposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Google isn't interested in giving HubPages a break.   It doesn't like article-writing sites in general and won't go out of its way to do favours for them.

  12. Thomas Swan profile image97
    Thomas Swanposted 8 years ago

    The acquisition of Squidoo seems to have messed up the stats on that linked page. The `after' number is actually higher. So who knows what the 46% is referring to. That could be limited solely to ex-Squidoo users as they gradually migrate/update their work.

    I checked two of my most popular hubs and they are still appearing high on google though. For my most recent stats, traffic hasn't reduced at all, though the stats are several days old now. Was this really the best time for Hubpages to start messing with the server?

    I stopped using google search several months ago. Using another search engine doesn't produce a noticeable difference in quality for me. Once you get used to the stylistic differences, the transition is seamless. I wouldn't dream of using Bing though. There are better alternatives that don't track your history to bombard you with ads. Also, I don't think hubs do particularly well in Bing... so why support that?

    I write consistently on a range of topics. About a year ago, I asked the staff if I should separate my subdomain into 4 or 5 separate ones for fairly niche subjects. It was recommended that I keep my subdomain together. I don't know if I'd get the same recommendation now.

    I wouldn't mind some kind of announcement about how site-wide traffic has changed due to Panda. If Hubpages are still collecting stats, it would be good to have the figures.

  13. Kathleen Odenthal profile image90
    Kathleen Odenthalposted 8 years ago

    This is a direct result of the squidoo merger. Im so tired of people saying its not. I have never seen such low quality work since HP and Squidoo merged. This is not only disheartening, but its clear proof that HubPages is doomed.

    1. Len Cannon profile image88
      Len Cannonposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I overall have a negative opinion on Squidoo as a service, but I don't think that absorbing Squid's articles had much to do with this. Panda collates data over a large period of time. It is my opinion that this would have been the outcome regardless of when the old "Lens's" were imported.

      Just looking around, I'm finding a shockingly high amount of poorly written featured Hubs. From an objective standpoint. I think we have removed a lot of spun content, but I think HubPages has a major problem with non-English speakers running content through Google Translate and barely (if at all) cleaning up the results.

      I really, REALLY believe that most of these people are honestly serious about writing well so they can earn money, but it is impossible to do when the major advertising markets and viewership demographic don't speak your language. However, it is really obvious HP has a problem with translated material.

      I sometimes use mturk and rate these very low for grammar, but mturk isn't a great use of my time and I don't feel like it was doing much good anyways.

      1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image89
        TIMETRAVELER2posted 8 years agoin reply to this

        I discussed this issue years ago, but everybody thought I was  horrible for doing so...despite the fact that I am professionally trained in foreign languages and am well aware of the problems involved in writing anything in another language.

        HP is an English speaking site, and although I love many who write here who are not fluent in English, they are damaging this site simply due to the fact that they lack the language skills they need to function well on this site.

        Heck, a lot of English speakers lack the skills for good writing!

        The QAP was supposed to address these issues, but it clearly is not working.  This site is in trouble and until somebody on the team makes some immediate and brash decisions, we may all end up kissing HP goodbye because Google will kill it.

        1. Kathleen Odenthal profile image90
          Kathleen Odenthalposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Amen TimeTraveler

    2. Marisa Wright profile image90
      Marisa Wrightposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Kathleen, how often do you Hub hop?   If you've been reading mainly new Hubs, you've probably been unaware of the large amounts of dross that still exist on HubPages - all of it published in the several years before QAP was introduced.   A lot of the Squidoo stuff is miles better than that lot!

      Please bear in mind that when you denigrate the Squidoo lenses, you insult all their writers.   If the merger had happened in reverse, I'm sure the good Squidoo writers would've been horrified to get some of our garbage Hubs - and how would you have felt if they'd implied that all Hubs, including yours, were rubbish?

      Also, when did your traffic drop?   If it was September 25th or later, it is due to Google's new Panda update.

      1. Mark Ewbie profile image82
        Mark Ewbieposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Thank goodness for some common sense at last!

        The import of the Squidoo pages actually improved the site. Who knows how bad the Panda hit would have been without them.

        If you check the Quantcast figures for the last two years you can see that Squidoo was on a massive upward curve and those poor writers will have been shocked to come to a site like this that gets slammed repeatedly by Panda.

        I can see a bright future ahead once they get rid of my stuff.

        1. Marisa Wright profile image90
          Marisa Wrightposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Why exaggerate in the opposite direction?   I'm just getting fed up of people claiming HubPages was a quality site full of carefully vetted articles, and the Squidoo transfer has brought over a heap of rubbish.   HubPages was not a shining example of top quality writing before, and it's not now. 

          And yes, who knows how bad the Panda slap would have been without them?  It's impossible to say.

          1. Mark Ewbie profile image82
            Mark Ewbieposted 8 years agoin reply to this

            I am trying to reach out to these people as a friend Marisa.  Together we can build a bright new site where Panda will bless us all.

            I do hope my being unbanned will not result in a return to the old ways on these forums - which I have been scared to enter on occasions.

  14. misterhollywood profile image90
    misterhollywoodposted 8 years ago

    Kathleen I am sorry to say that I am starting to think we are all in deep do do given the writing on the wall.

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image89
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Mister Hollywood:

      I am wondering what would happen if every writer here eliminated all posts except those that relate to a specific niche, which Google would see as writing in an area of "authority" or "expertise".  It could be the very thing that would save us, but the problem is that I do not know how HP could get people to do this.

      1. Barbara Kay profile image75
        Barbara Kayposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        I've wondered about doing this too. I have a new account that I am trying this out with. Once I have enough content on it, I'll let you know what happens.

        1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image89
          TIMETRAVELER2posted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Barbara Kay:

          I'm not sure this will work for you unless two things happen:  Google unslaps HP and everybody here writes only niche articles.  I doubt either of these will ever happen.  If you read what Marisa wrote about the history of Google's take on writing sites, you will see that we all are in trouble here, regardless of what we write...or at least it appears to be that way.

  15. Kathleen Odenthal profile image90
    Kathleen Odenthalposted 8 years ago

    Hubpages may be, but I never signed anything and know plenty of other sites who don't just accept anyone who wants to signup, so Im not doomed. Im just experiencing a setback as I move alll of my hubs elsewhere.

  16. makingamark profile image69
    makingamarkposted 8 years ago

    I'm not sure we're in trouble as writers.  My blog for example is completely unaffected.

    I think we're only in trouble if we have our content on article writing sites.

    My inclination at the moment is to use HubPages as a staging post. To linger long enough to
    * see if HP makes a recovery from the crash in traffic and
    * take a break from needing to do all the work to get sites over to here and then updated on here

    ...and then I might well take my content elsewhere - to a site which Google might like better.......

  17. janderson99 profile image55
    janderson99posted 8 years ago

    Stand by - New Penguin Update Looms!
    A major rewrite of the algorithm … eek-204891

    1. Mark Ewbie profile image82
      Mark Ewbieposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      OK, I read disavow for the fiftieth time and lost the will to live.  In my opinion anyone using the word disavow or knowing what it means should be sent to prison.  Internet crime or whatever.

      1. DrMark1961 profile image97
        DrMark1961posted 8 years agoin reply to this

        If you would like to learn more about how to disavow I wrote a hub about it. I was going to write a hub on how to be banned on the forums, but when I checked Google I found out there were already thousands of pages.

    2. Thomas Swan profile image97
      Thomas Swanposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      What does this Penguin update mean? Is it just about bad links on your pages... or is it also about links to your pages? Is it about anything other than just links?

      1. janderson99 profile image55
        janderson99posted 8 years agoin reply to this

        From the article
        "This is not just a refresh, but a large re-write of the algorithm that took Google almost a full year to release."
        If you recall, the original rating algorithm was based on links and this appears to be a fundamental update of the algorithm.


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