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BREAKING: Google launches traffic War on keyword domains with Panda 2.0

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Google launches war on keyword-driven domains with Panda 2.0

Google has done the unthinkable: it’s penalizing keyword-rich domains and web sites, that took months of painstakingly hard work to reach the upper tier pages of the world’s dominant search engine!

Here’s the analysis of the current situation from a domainer investor who experiences dramatic changes in his keyword-driven traffic:

I just got back from vacation in time to witness a wholesale slaughter of my Google search traffic. I’m looking at about 50% traffic losses across every keyword domain driven website that I manage (about 15 months worth of traffic growth).

I was mostly out of the loop on Google’s Panda 1.0 update which launched in late March, I believe.

Google claimed that the major purpose of that update was to target low quality content farms. That update came and went without causing so much as a ripple in my search traffic. I shrugged it all off and went about my business. I did read that ezinearticles.com, mahalo.com, and other mega-content farms lost upwards of 80% of their Google search traffic. I thought that was the end of it.

On April 11, 9:00am PST, my traffic fell through the floor.

I saw right away that it was Google ranking related so I hit every English webmaster forum out there to find out what had just happened. At the precise moment that my traffic tanked Google claims to have integrated its Panda update with its international English global search index.

What they didn’t mention initially, and what people are just now finding out, is that they simultaneously launched a new Panda update that affects the US results as well. This earth-shattering update is now being referred to as Google Panda 2.0.

Based on what I’ve read and what I’ve seen in my own traffic stats, this is a Google update unlike anything else that they’ve ever launched.

All my keyword driven domains lost almost all of their prominent search rankings (with just several odd exceptions). I’ve spoken with several other keyword domain driven webmasters and they have experienced the exact same level of traffic drop or more (in some cases 80%). This also seems to be reflected in posts at WebmasterWorld and various other places across the web.

Thus far, Google is silent on Panda 2.0 and uncharacteristically so. Usually they’re happy to mingle post-updates with the historically pro-Google folks over at WebmasterWorld, but not this time it would seem. This update has left nothing short of a tsunami of digital destruction in its wake.

The number of people claiming to have been put out of business by this is staggering. Based on what I’m seeing, reading, and what Matt Cutts is on record saying, I can only conclude that this update turned the nob down on domain based keyword weight.

None of my websites are penalized and the volume of traffic loss is perfectly uniform across the board. I’m sure many other factors are involved as well, but that stand out factor clearly seems to be domain keyword weight related. Time will tell what just happen for sure, or perhaps not – given Google’s record on transparency.

Simply Wow! Is Google now “not evil” as they have proclaimed themselves to be?

Where is the outrage from the pillars of the domain community, or are they fast asleep?


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Comments

27 Responses to “BREAKING: Google launches traffic War on keyword domains with Panda 2.0”
  1. BullS says:

    Whopeeeeeeeeeee…I told you so.

  2. Shawn says:

    Hopefully everyone with a keyword domain and a website will take a look at this situation very closely. Check your rankings, check your stats, and then keep a close eye on things at least for the short term.

    Rough days…

  3. Gnanes says:

    Last 2 weeks traffic from google has been steady for one of my one word .net domain site. The site was on second page before and now it’s on page 1. I’ll keep an eye on google stats.

  4. Francois says:

    Just to relativize, when 50% of sites lost rankings this also means new sites won better rankings!!!

    What about these happy webmasters, sites owners, domainers who seen their search engine traffic suddenly increase?

    In a side note, it’s because you cannot master SERPs I stopped playing with SEO.
    You cannot base your business in a lottery and the ones that cry are the ones who made this error.

  5. Good for Google! About time they stopped the spamming of keyword domains. It did nothing to help REAL domains with REAL type in traffic other than to dilute payouts with crappy and worthless sites with crappy and worthless content. That takes an entire generation of domainers and effectively puts them out of business.

    So, like Francois, I see a silver lining.

    Those upset at this….Google did you a favor. You were on a dead end from day #1. Spamming the engines for a living is no way to make a living.

  6. Michael says:

    I haven’t noticed any drop. Sure, you may be in trouble if the only thing your site had going for it was a keyword-rich domain, but you only had one page of content and no back links. That definitely won’t fly any more. But if you still give G what it wants, namely a good amount of unique content and back links, you’ll be in good shape.

  7. Bill says:

    Oddly enough, most of my keyword sites are up. The one site that took a hit was one that has been deindexed from Google since last year. Go figure.

  8. Will says:

    I may be wrong, but I strongly disagree that the “stand out factor” in the Panda 2.0 update is keyword-related domain names. Perhaps Google has reduced the SEO benefit of exact match keyword domains, but I think the key factor with all Google algorithm updates was, is, and always will be crappy, no-value added, duplicate content.

  9. Shawn says:

    LOL… Rick finally went senile.

  10. chris says:

    “It did nothing to help REAL domains with REAL type in traffic other than to dilute payouts with crappy and worthless sites with crappy and worthless content. That takes an entire generation of domainers and effectively puts them out of business.”

    This change hurts valid domain owners and it hurts big domainers too… not every exact keyword domain has worthless content. Think of all the “visit” domains as an example. Nobody is typing “VisitBerlin.com” into their browser directly (at least I don’t think they are), but they are searching for “visit berlin”. Should VisitBerlin.com have an advantage in the SERPS over a domain like CheckOutBerlin.com when people are searching for the phrase “visit Berlin”? I think so. If not, it hurts the value of VisitBerlin.com IMO. If someone is going to pay a premium for a keyword domain then they should get some search engine love for it.

  11. Name says:

    “Just to relativize, when 50% of sites lost rankings this also means new sites won better rankings!!! What about these happy webmasters, sites owners, domainers who seen their search engine traffic suddenly increase? ”

    Yeah, Amazon, BestBuy and Walmart are very happy.

  12. Lucius "Guns" Fabrice says:

    From reading the Sitemetrics data, I don’t see how “generic domains with type-in traffic” benefited. Here’s a list of the top 20 winners:

    ebay.co.uk
    techcrunch.com
    national-lottery.co.uk
    econsultancy.com
    thisismoney.co.uk
    siteslike.com
    mirror.co.uk
    blogspot.com
    mashable.com
    itv.com
    metro.co.uk
    independent.co.uk
    mozilla.org
    youtube.com
    vimeo.com
    wordpress.com
    laterooms.com
    dailymotion.com
    soundcloud.com

    What is the common denominator? These are websites with massive content that engages their visitors for several minutes. Unlike, say, Cowboys.com

  13. Shawn says:

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with trading a fist full of produce for a fist full of coin. That’s the mechanics of a great civilization in a nutshell. Unfortunately sometimes working smarter means working harder, especially when it comes to self-employment online vs sitting in an office cubicle. It is admirable that a few domainers were able to trade an empty palm for the King’s gold, but what isn’t admirable is that a couple of those domainers are sitting up in their white towers and raining perpetual shit down on the world below them.

    Domain driven hotel websites are spam now? Domain driven online art galleries are spam now? Domain driven digital furniture shops are spam? Artists and their domain driven blogs are spam? Someone needs to put the ego down and do their homework.

    Look at what Wall Street and these empty palms have done to my country. In 50 years these pieces of shit hell bent on trading nothing for the King’s gold have destroyed one of the greatest civilizations in human history. There is nothing wrong with working for your money, some say it brings an honest man satisfaction.

  14. Name says:

    “What is the common denominator? These are websites with massive content that engages their visitors for several minutes. Unlike, say, Cowboys.com”

    Dumb observation dude, sorry, but most sites that lost are ecommerce and very specialized niche so why is Google sending their visitors to these sites? Because they rank even for mentioning the keyword once, meanign Google gave them too much trust /juice.

    Rick, you are a pathetic human being, each post of yours makes it more clear.

  15. Lucius "Guns" Fabrice says:

    Name – Why is this a dumb observation? I am simply stating the facts, not an opinion.

    Check out Searchmetrics.com for the full data (link is provided above).

  16. Name says:

    “Name – Why is this a dumb observation? I am simply stating the facts, not an opinion. ”

    Facts yes but you are connecting them to something else. For example: It’s a fact that I’m 6.0 tall but it has nothing to do with the US Federal deficit. Or so I hope 🙂

    So, if 500 sites selling homemade jewelry and crafts were hit that does not or should explain why the Independent got more traffic. Where did their traffic go? If it went to a newspaper site it’s obvious that Google screwed up. Now if a blogger that had a blurb of an Independent story got hit, then it’s different.

    By the way, Google lost major market share in march, after Panda. Bing gained at least 3%. Google the Hitwise march report.

  17. Lucius "Guns" Fabrice says:

    Name – I don’t follow your logic. I simply linked to the top 20 most gained sites after Panda 1.0 – adding that the majority of those are content behemoths that engage their viewers for lengthy periods of time. It seems that this now matters *a lot* to Google.

    Yes, I agree, Bing is rising and those that battled Microsoft for a long time will now see how evil Google has been.

  18. Name says:

    :0 OK. My point was that Google f^*&^% up. Unrelated pages and sites rank higher for things they should not, and only because Google gave them a higher quality score. On the Google thread an Indian guy pointed out a search for “download Hindi songs” (in Google.co.in) and #3 was an EMPTY page, the title and header was “downloadhindisongs”. It was a blogger.com blog, a google property of course. HufffPost too, for example, ranks for a lot of crap now, even a tweet.

    Google can make your blog post rank for Bing if they wanted too simply because it’s mentioned here. Doesn’t mean it should though.

  19. Lucius "Guns" Fabrice says:

    Name – That’s the difference between reporting and serving an opinion. I am sure there is no direct answer right now about the long term effects of Panda 1.0 and Panda 2.0 that Google has implemented. Google has both the pie and the knife and they just decided to toss the old chocolate cake we were used to and substitute it with a lime cake.

  20. Marty C says:

    I fail to understand how keyword domain content is “crappy and worthless” when compared to parked domains that have No content. Buying up and sitting on type-in domains ( not that I have a problem with that) is a “real” business? But developing real content on domains that have keyword phrases is “crappy and worthless”? Only if it doesn’t go along with your business model.

  21. BFitz says:

    Also another step towards domains being valued higher due to their proven increased conversion rates for PPC. Overnight a PPC campaign can triple it’s click thru rate by having an exact match url.

  22. Lucius "Guns" Fabrice says:

    Marty – Agreed, although the content farms’ content has been criticized for being of low quality, poor grammar and very superficial level. I’d rather have 10-20 articles of substance than thousands of pages of insane junk, laced with Google ads.

  23. SEORookie says:

    Is this the last update, or are there more Panda 3.0, 4.0 etc. down the line?

  24. Ramya says:

    Hey, I saw that in your site, on clicking images (through google image search), I am directed to the page instead of the image within a frame. How did you do this? I see that people visit my blog just for the images. Any idea in this regard will be very helpful. Thanks!

  25. Lucius "Guns" Fabrice says:

    Hello Ramya – you came to the right place for the answer 😀 If you’re using WordPress, the solution is explained right here. Let me know if this worked for you.

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