On February 2011 Google started to roll out a major update to their ranking algorithm to improve their search engine results, called the Panda Update. Named after a Google engineer, this update is aimed at low quality sites in general, with some content farm reported to be the most affected. Quoting Google Webmaster Central blog;
This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.
While the update started on February, Google has only rolled out the update to all their English-language users on mid April. During that period of time, my content-based website, TechRecipes, doesn't seem to be negatively affected by the update. In fact, visitors to the website was slightly increasing. Only after 12 April however (the day that Google rolled out the update globally), the visitors dropped significantly.
Being a technical how-to site, most of the visitors come from the Google search engine. With the sudden and significant drop of traffic from Google, I call the result as devastating. Due to server outage, TechRecipes has recently been de-indexed by Google. Different URL structure due the migration from WordPress to DokuWiki platform could be the cause that the site's PageRank dropped 2 level not too long ago. I'm still working on bringing the site back to life, and I don't think I can afford to revive it from 'dying' again.
Since yesterday however, I see that TechRecipes has started to get back Google's traffic. I didn't do any significant changes to the site the past week (other than updating it's contents of course, which I occasionally do), and I can only hope things will only get better over time. Until now, I still don't know what temporarily caused the problem.
So, what about you? Are your websites affected by Google's Panda update?