Meet PanQualGuin - Google's New Secret Traffic Quota Manager

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  1. janderson99 profile image51
    janderson99posted 9 years ago

    PanQualGuin - Google's New Secret Traffic Quota Manager

    There has been a lot of fuss about the recent so-called Quality update to the core Google algorithm.
    see: … -up-221118
    and: … ter-221331
    A big G delegate at a recent conference has spilled the beans on a secret project called PanQualGuin which is an amalgamation of Panda, Penguin and Page quality metrics in the core of the algo designed to deliver what users want - good quality search results that meet their needs. The new PanQualGuin score is adjusted periodically, without any announcements. (Panda and Penguin and their periodic updates are now extinct). So you can all stop waiting in your local branch of Cargo Cult.

    History - The original Google algo was based on links. The idea was that the more back links a page received the more relevant and good was the page. BUT people started to game the system. They created reams of pages with thin content, landing pages, short machine generated pages of inferior quality that swamped the good stuff.

    Panda - was designed to identify and punish rogue sites that engaged in these diabolical practices. A system was designed to check the content within a site for this spammy junk. If found a penalty was imposed to the entire site to teach them a lesson. The penalty applied to ALL the pages within a site via a rank downgrade for all pages.

    Penguin - was designed to find sites that engaged in scandalous link building strategies. Once again a penalty was imposed for ALL pages within the site.

    Quality Scores - The overall quality of the pages on a site was assessed to provide an overall quality ranking for the 'Good, Bad and Ugly'. This too worked like a penalty. Poor quality pages degraded the entire site.

    Shared Traffic and Reputation - Delivering quality pages to users won't work if some new kid on the block starts grabbing traffic from established sites that generate good income for Google. The system requires stability so that the advertising can work effectively. This means that Google has to exert control over traffic and to share it among the hordes. The traffic for site with good reputation, needs to be stable and offered some protection. Effectively, Google needs to allocate a traffic quota to each site and to develop feed-back adjustments based on traffic. This is done weekly so that the traffic share to the site remains relatively similar over months. Periodically PanQualGuin reviews are applied. This tweaks the ranking adjustment formula so that the quota is increased or decreased. If the PanQualGuin score goes down the traffic quota is reduced. If the site lifts its game and improves its Google rated quality in relation to others within the category their quota goes up.

    How does the Quota System driven by PanQualGuin work?

    This is a very simplified concept description for what is a highly complex metric that no one really understands.

    Lets take three sites A,B and C that each have 3 pages. The original algo rank scores for these sites are listed below

    A 98 87 75 mean 86
    B 67 84 78 mean 76
    C 55 76 90 mean 73

    Lets say the PanQualGuin scores for these sites are 75%, 95%, 60%

    After applying the scores as a penalty downgrade using these percentages, the revised scores will be

    A 73 65 56 mean 64
    B 63 80 74 mean 72
    C 30 45 54 mean 43

    Notice that ALL B site pages now fare much better. A and C have much lower ranks and will get less traffic. But the individual pages will still get traffic based on how good they are.

    In very simplistic terms the quota share of traffic is assigned based on the average ranks score for the page.

    A 64 => share 36%
    B 72 => share 40%
    C 43 => share 24%

    The quota is adjusted by having a feedback mechanism driven by traffic. The idea is to maintain traffic quotas by minuscule adjustments of the ranks for the individual pages so that the overall traffic remains relatively stable. Ranks may be tweaked downward by 5% say if overall traffic rises. Similarly they would be tweaked upward if traffic falls. The traffic quota would remain relatively stable over months, but there would be day-to-day variations through the weekly cycle.

    If the PanQualGuin review identifies a need to modify the penalties applied the ranks are adjusted and this in turn leads to an adjustment of the quota. The feed-back mechanism then maintains the new quota going forward.

    So what does this means to sites such as HP.

    HP has a Quota with adjustments determined by PanQualGuin reviews. If the score falls the traffic for ALL pages will fall because the Quota will be lowered. Adding more and more pages won't work. The only way to change this is to remove the reasons for the penalty. As Paul E has stated may HP - Panda Free. The Hubpro program is designed to do that by focusing on the 20% of pages that deliver most (80%) traffic and are more seen by Google. It remains to be seen whether this will work or whether the hordes of low quality pages on HP will containing to weigh against it in the eyes of PanQualGuin. Time will tell. Cheeeeers!

    1. LuisEGonzalez profile image82
      LuisEGonzalezposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Hopefully it will all work out but unless HP does something (and I doubt that it is feasible) to get rid of spam, bad articles etc. nothing much will help in the eyes of Google.
      Just today on my two visits to the site, the first things that I saw were two "hubs" which were nothing much that sales ads.

    2. Lady Lorelei profile image87
      Lady Loreleiposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I think too that some factors are being taken out of the equation here at Hubpages. If you recall Paul said that there was an equal 20% loss of traffic across the board. Stop and think about this for one itty bitty minute. If the articles getting the huge promotion are also losing 20% than doesn't that kind of mean that the articles being shafted on promo might actually be out performing the top content? There are many factors involved in ranking.

      Perhaps Hubpages should STOP looking at what they consider to be a good article and look at the pages Google is sending traffic to. A writer's reputation, length of time on the internet, reputable linkage etc are all factors in ranking as well and these seem to be ignored here on Hubpages. Even if a person's top traffic page is receiving that traffic from Google it is shoved to the bottom of the ranking in Hubpages view. If Google likes it shouldn't that be a hint that maybe Hubpages ranking system should like that hub as well? Google is obviously finding a reason to keep promoting it despite all of Hubpages attempts to bury these pages into the depths of oblivion.

    3. toptenluxury profile image60
      toptenluxuryposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Ok I'm a bit unsure -is that name for real?

      1. Muttface profile image79
        Muttfaceposted 9 years agoin reply to this


  2. paradigm search profile image54
    paradigm searchposted 9 years ago

    Heck of a post there. big_smile

    I've pretty much run out of ideas as to further hub improvements. Still might remove a few of my low performers, but even that is getting difficult.

  3. Fiction Teller profile image59
    Fiction Tellerposted 9 years ago


    Interesting idea.  Must ponder on that.

    If Google IS doing that, then search via Google is NOT the wave of the very near future. To accommodate digital economic growth, a search engine needs to be more organic than stabilizing. Google's been walking that line for a while, trying to sheriff the Wild West Internet while still encouraging new settlers.  If your model is correct, they're pretty much all-out saying, "Go back, all you greenhorn entrepreneurs!  We've got enough ranchers! Now we just want people who'll buy the cattle," which is, well, an economically disastrous decision for a world that's still trying to transition to a new economy from a dying economy.  Yikes!

  4. Maffew James profile image94
    Maffew Jamesposted 9 years ago

    What you've described is basically the way that the Panda algorithm works. It looks at various quality factors like content depth, accuracy, and user engagement, compares this to values for similar websites, attributes a score, and this score becomes the quality factor that modifies the value of all ranking signals for that site.

    The Panda patent: … N/08682892

  5. Writer Fox profile image33
    Writer Foxposted 9 years ago

    The reality of what happened to cause the recent decline in traffic to HubPages is a result of design changes deliberately made by the HP staff.  These changes include reducing the number of visitors who can see the 'Share' buttons.  Social media shares are used in the Google algorithm to determine ranking on search results pages.  Other design changes were also detrimental.  Take a look at what happened and when:

    This is a prime example of HP being so convinced of its convoluted concepts that it ignores the writing on the wall.

    1. brakel2 profile image73
      brakel2posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I don't know why the share buttons were changed. Small changes can end up being disasters. That's why everything must be planned and impact taken into consideration. It baffles me why our hub scores dropped, and no one seems to have a legitimate answer. I guess HP wants us to work harder and smarter to get our traffic to a better level.

    2. lobobrandon profile image85
      lobobrandonposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I've got to disagree with you this time WriterFox, you have pointed out the May 5th traffic, but that was a day it peaked, the traffic on 4th and the days before and after 5th are pretty much the same for the days that follow. May 1st and 2nd saw the biggest drops that way.

      Also, stopping social shares for a day won't have an immediate effect. Definitely not. Unless that's because of the reduced social traffic. Not saying that they don't need to put the social share buttons back for all resolutions, just saying that it's not the reason for the decline you pointed out.

      1. Writer Fox profile image33
        Writer Foxposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        You are not looking at the whole picture.  Traffic overall on HP goes down on the weekends, especially on holiday weekends.  You have to look before and after that to understand the data:

        The Design changes involved more than the social sharing buttons.  There were also changes to Related Hubs (Matched Content), 'More By This Author', the 'Author Section', etc. … -part-two/

        The new 'Recommended Hubs' section puts a spam H2-tag on the page. The 'More By This Author' puts links to totally unrelated Hubs on many pages (most of mine).  When HP makes so many changes simultaneously, it is impossible for HP to track which changes were detrimental.  But what we can certainly see now is that the changes resulted in a downturn in traffic from search engines. Before the changes, traffic to HP was consistently above 1 million a day.  Now it is consistently below 1 million a day.

        1. lobobrandon profile image85
          lobobrandonposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          That's true, but we can't really tell now if it was the algorithm update that caused the decline or the changes here. I didn't notice that they were H2? I'll look into them later. I also hope they are all no-follow.

        2. janderson99 profile image51
          janderson99posted 9 years agoin reply to this

          @ Writer Fox
          I don't believe that the design changes would produce virtually instantaneous traffic changes. I have not seen that with my own sites - delays in indexing etc. take time to affect SERPS. Here's a 'Quota theory view'. If there is no effective 'Quota' what is your explanation for the stability of the traffic to HP in 2015 and from Sept-Dec 2014. Why is it so consistent despite changes on the site, addition of thousands of pages, deletion of others, SERP churn, links changes etc. I call it a Quota 'cause it looks and acts like a quota. What causes it?

          1. Writer Fox profile image33
            Writer Foxposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            Here are two examples of an immediate (overnight) reaction by Google.
            This is what happened to HP when Google Panda first rolled out on February 24, 2011:

            Here's what happened to traffic for after Panda hit:

            On September 23, 2014, HP took a huge hit in traffic due to uploading 175,000 pages of content from Squidoo:  traffic went DOWN to HP and has never come back to August, 2014, levels.

            A Google hit is always immediate and significant. 

            There is no such thing as a Google quota for search engine results or for sending traffic to a site.  There is a limit for domain clustering on page one, but even that has increased lately to allow more webpage results from the same site.

            What consistency? As I mentioned above, HP took a big hit in traffic beginning on September 23, 2014, when the Squidoo content was moved to the site. 

            HP took another hit as a result of design changes made to the site in November, 2014:
   … ming-soon/

            The worst thing about your 'theory' is that it makes writers believe that there is nothing they can do to improve traffic to their Hubs, which isn't true.  In spite of the mistakes HP makes on the site, individual Hubs can still do well.  I only have 62 Hubs on this account and have had 500,000 views since October, 2014.

            1. janderson99 profile image51
              janderson99posted 9 years agoin reply to this

              "it makes writers believe that there is nothing they can do to improve traffic to their Hubs"
              That suggestion does not follow from the theory. There is plenty of room to move within the allocated quota. Better hubs get more traffic than similar hubs on the same topic. Google only shows one page (rarely 2) in the SERPS from the entire HP domain. So we all compete and our reputation matters. HP does things to affect competition via links on topic pages etc. However HP is in control of how much traffic the site gets overall. If Paul E's aim to rid HP of the Panda penalty and to lift overall 'quality' on the site works - HP will get more traffic going forward. But we could be waiting a long time for the next Panda update as I suspect it is now built into the algo with adjustments, such as the recent Qual update, made without announcements. There is a strange ring of Cargo Cult about waiting for Panda and a reconsideration. IMO Cheers

            2. janderson99 profile image51
              janderson99posted 9 years agoin reply to this

              To me the Squidoo influx and the traffic response was classic Quota. Traffic initially surged as the thousands of pages were added in the first two weeks of September. Big G's response was swift - PULL BACK to QUOTA. The net result was more internal competition by authors for an unchanged total cake. How do you explain the apparent miraculous return of traffic to the original average after the surge? To me its a Classic Quota pull back. Down Scope


              1. Writer Fox profile image33
                Writer Foxposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                The traffic did NOT return.  Try looking at the traffic stats without your arbitrary lines:

                The announcement about the acquisition of Squidoo was made on August 15 and the content migration began on September 2.  While the content was added, 26,000 new authors from Squidoo were coming to the site and viewing their content.  When the migration ended, traffic to HP was LOWER than it was in June, July and August (the typically dead summer months before the fall upturn in traffic).  It NEVER returned to the levels before the acquisition.  Just look at the graph.  It is amazing that you don't see that. 

                Your use of the word 'quota' just confuses people.  No reputable SEO expert has ever stated such a theory and you have nothing to source that theory.  To use some made-up idea to explain why you don't get traffic just doesn't fly.

                1. janderson99 profile image51
                  janderson99posted 9 years agoin reply to this

                  Ah Hah The plot thickens. For my graphs I use US pageviews. Your graphs are different (global uniques??). Stats are in the eye of the beholder and chooser!

                  Hey people said fish can't fly - but THEY DO, my avatar proves it. Cheers!

                  1. lobobrandon profile image85
                    lobobrandonposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                    I've always thought about something like what Janderson says about the quota, seems unrealistic, but probably true considering the traffic on quite a few sites I've worked on before.

    3. Phyllis Doyle profile image94
      Phyllis Doyleposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with you, Fox. It seems like every time HP staff makes changes we suffer for it. It is really too much - and now our pages look tacky and unprofessional. I am sure many of our readers who liked our articles and came back again and again have been turned off by the design changes.

  6. Fiction Teller profile image59
    Fiction Tellerposted 9 years ago

    Way back in the day when I hung out on Webmasterworld and there were rumors of quotas, I got the impression that they acted more like caps. They limited how high traffic could go, but not how low it could go - so they did not guarantee a certain amount of traffic. I see no reason quotas couldn't lower due to being contingent on other (evolving) ranking factors.

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