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Google's Panda update hit a lot of websites of all sizes -- large, well-known sites and smaller, niche sites, too. Some sites reportedly saw search visibility decline by 80-90%. For our new "Discussion of the Week," we want to know: Would you want an inbound link to your site from a site that was hit hard by the Panda update? The floor is open!
Comments33 Comments  

Comments

Avatar Moderator
from nickfb76 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 0

It all depends on how relevent the site is to mine.  If for instance I was selling shoes and Nike offered me a link after being dinged by Panda I would be all for it.  The site while maybe being dinged by Panda is still offering a fantastic opportunity to send RELEVENT referal traffic directly to my site.

My answer is YES!



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from seotheory 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Any links that create visibility and/or send traffic are good links.  Whether they pass anchor text or PageRank should be at most only a secondary consideration.



Avatar Moderator
from Sebastian 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Of course I'd accept it. I wouldn't actively acquire links from doomed servers, but a link is a link. Also, I don't believe in relevant links. A link is good when it provides value to the user. If it transfers good karma too, well, that's nice to have.



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from hugoguzman 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Yes please



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from AlanBleiweiss 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Link diversity is vital.  Deciding that you're going to avoid links from any site just because it may have been hit by Panda would be a serious mistake.  Especially since so many sites that were hit are actually quality sites.

Of course, I also wouldn't ever intentionally want more than an occassional random link from bogus sites like Squidoo or many other sites that were hit.  Except my reasoning isn't because of the Panda factor. It's because they're crappy bogus sites to begin with.



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from Feydakin 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I'd take a link from any and every single web site on the internet.. Test me, give me a link..



Avatar Moderator
from Sebastian 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 0

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from toddmintz 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Of course...it just won't be as valuable as it used to be :.)



Avatar Moderator
from Jill 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Sure, why not? I don't really even understand the question as I can't imagine why someone would say no.



Avatar Moderator
from JulieJoyce 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Absolutely.



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from charlotteseo 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 0

it depends.

is the link going to be surrounding by text?

will it be on a relevant site?

will it be the only external link on the site?

will it be on a page that has PR 5 and above?

will it be nofollowed?

will the link bring in quality traffic to my site?


IF the answer was NO to all the above......I would still say YES

A link is a link....once you get one...you move on to the next one

and sometimes beggars can't be choosers!


...even Matt Cutts would say yes!



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from Nunney 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 0

This discussion isn't going anywhere. How about this:Does anyone have any evidence that links from Panda slapped sites now carrying less weight than they did pre-Panda?



Avatar Moderator
from JulieJoyce 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I have no proper evidence that I can share due to an NDA but I do know of a site whose rankings tanked with the UK Panda rollout and the only thing we can figure out that was wrong is that the sites linking to this site were knocked out by Panda. So yeah, kind of, in a non-evidentiary roundabout way.




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from charlotteseo 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 0

it would make sense that the links coming from Panda sites were devalued......



Avatar Moderator
from Jill 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Agree. It's simple PageRank. You devalue some pages, their links no longer pass their juice. If your pages were dependent upon PR from those devaulued pages, they're going to take a hit.

And of course any pages dependent upon links from your now devalued pages are going to take a hit and so on and so forth.



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from seotheory 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I have reviewed numerous discussions on Web forums where people have complained that their low quality link building appears to be going nowhere since February 24.

I have also looked at a few sites where I *think* the links are not passing value since Panda but because they are not using unique anchor text I cannot prove that.

And I have tested a few sites to which I have access (that are not my own) with inconclusive results.

It could be that Panda did something or it could be that Google's earlier link update (around February 8/9) drew a new line in the sand.



Avatar Moderator
from ajkohn2001 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I guess the question is whether Google believes in McCarthyism and guilt by association. I don't think a link from a Panda site is poison, so yes, I'd take the link.

However, as others have stated, those links likely pass less value then they used to. So if you built a lot of links from shallow content sites, your own trust and authority was likely damaged. As Jill states, simple PageRank.

I suppose there could be a ratio of shallow-links to total links signal. But it seems unlikely for a host of reasons. I see plenty of sites doing just fine who have many, many links from domains that have been removed from the index.

If Google doesn't see those links as guilt by association then I can't believe they'd see Panda links that way.



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from Nunney 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Do we know Panda affects PageRank?

Julie: you sure that site site hasn't been Panda slapped itself? A Panda slap is unmistakeable when you see it: 50% drop in G traffic overnight - nothing gradual. A traffic slide from a drop in power from Pandaed-links is unlikely to look the same.

Of course, it seems obvious that links from Pandaed sites are now weaker. But I'm not assuming it's the case.




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from seotheory 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 1

@Nunney: "Do we know Panda affects PageRank?"

Can't prove it, but in my opinion Panda definitely affects PageRank.  It would be an elegant way of handling the complexities of the problem.  Identify low-quality pages, strip them of PageRank (or prevent them fom passing PageRank), and then recompute PageRank for the Web (or a huge chunk of it).

What you end up with is a lot of pages that cannot help other pages, either on their own sites or elsewhere.  And that is what we're seeing, isn't it?



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from pashminu 1261 Days ago #
Votes: -1

With passage of time it will become more and more challenging for the search engine like Google to filter out the webstie that have purchased links and are associated with other web link farms and such black hat practises.



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from jaspal 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Of course I would accept the link.  Maybe the value of this link would be depreciated for now ... but I personally feel that in the long run having a relevant theme link from a website affected by the Panda update is still valuable.



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from ogletree 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 3

There are some people that make a living charging companies money to get links like this removed. I personally think that practice is a rip off.  Time spent getting a link to your site removed is taking away time from getting a new link.  There is no evidence that shows getting links removed improves rank and I know for a fact that getting a link to your site is always better than getting a link to your site removed no matter how bad it might be.

Many of the big names in the Industry charge a lot of money for things that don't help at all. It seems that if you can write a book and speak at conference’s you can charge a lot of money for snake oil and nobody will call you on it because everybody else is doing the same thing.



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from Nunney 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@seotheory I like the sense of the theory too. And I want that to happen so my spammy competitors get knocked back. But I'm wondering if there is any reliable evidence. I have none.



Avatar Moderator
from JulieJoyce 1261 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@Nunney: I'm not 100% sure...I don 't have access to their anayltics, only rankings. I just can't find anything that would have caused a Panda slap to occur based on anything else, so it's definitely not conclusive evidence.



Avatar Administrator
from MattMcGee 1260 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Glad to see this discussion go in the more general direction that it did. Was hoping for that, since we normally try to ask general questions but went with a very specific one here.

In any case, I'm somewhat surprised that there's been little mention of the "bad neighborhood" concept. For years link builders and SEOs have talked about aiming to get links from quality/relevant sites and avoiding low-quality sites/pages/links. But it sounds like, in the current link economy, a lot of people are happy right now to get any link they can get.

(Yes, obviously I'm speaking about links purely in an SEO benefit sense, not in terms of potential clickthru traffic.)



Avatar Moderator
from Jill 1260 Days ago #
Votes: 2

IMO, bad neighborhood only applies to pages YOU link to.



Avatar Administrator
from MattMcGee 1260 Days ago #
Votes: 0

That could be, Jill, but it seems contrary to what people have been saying for years about not going after inbound links from bad neighborhoods, low quality sites, etc.



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from joeyoungblood 1260 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I agree with Nunny. There is NO proof. Shortly after Panda1 hit a client of mine saw no drop in overall traffic but did see rankings for a set of pages/anchors we go after alter dramatically. those had all been done via ezine due to their low competition. The ezine account had been 'suspended' setting the links to nofollow. days after fixing the suspension the links were dofollow and the rankings back almost 100% (we had to kill a few pages). So after Panda1 Ezine (who got nailed) still had juice to pass equal to what we need before hand.

That same client was hit in Panda2, but it feels like a content issue.


Q: How do you know a site was hit by panda 1,2 or 2.1? How do you, as an SEO, decide on the quality of a site? For years it's been all about the Pagerank of the site, but now what's the test?


I honestly dont think panda affects page rank at all, at least not directly. I personally see it as affecting content and rankings based on content of the page and not on link juice into or out of the page (as much).



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from seotheory 1260 Days ago #
Votes: 1

@joeyoungblood your anecdote about ezinearticles is interesting but it doesn't in any way prove or disprove anything.

Even low PageRank pages can help with rankings if they are allowed to pass anchor text.  You don't need MAXIMUM POWER PAGERANK links in order to boost rankings through anchor text. Link spam would never have worked in the first place if that were the case.

The strongest argument for the impact on PageRank (and as I noted above, I cannot prove anything) is the allegedly reduced crawl for Panda-affected sites.  According to Google, sites downgraded by Panda may experience reduced crawl -- and many (but not all) people who claimed to have been hit by Panda also complained of seeing fewer visits from Googlebot.

Crawl is driven (at least in part) by PageRank.

Another possible sign of reduced PageRank is the apparent de-indexing of unique expressions on cached pages.  That is, pages that once appeared for unique expressions they contained stopped appearing for those expressions.  And yet the pages were/are still cached in Google.

Does that prove that PageRank has been reduced?  I don't know -- only Google can confirm if that's a valid test or not.  But the old Supplemental Index (which may or may not still be around) did not fully index every word or expression on a page.  And one of the few facts we were told about that index was that PageRank was used to determine whether a page was included in the Main Web Index or the Supplemental Index.

Even if Google no longer maintains a separate Supplemental Index, maybe they still have a threshold where a page with insufficient PageRank is not fully indexed.  Who outside of Google is to say whether that is true or not?

Another sign that PageRank may have been blocked, at least for some sites/pages, is a widespread general complaint among link spammers that their low quality links (forum profiles, blog comments, etc.) no longer seem to be working.  Not all link spammers have admitted to this, but I've seen complaints from dozens of these people across multiple forums -- even to the extent that they say they no longer use these tactics.

And I think there are some other signs of decreased PageRank but those three examples are faily easily checked (in my opinion) by anyone interested in doing due diligence.

Does it explain what happened to Pandalized sites?  Not necessarily, but it certainly seems to indicate that a part of the story has something to do with PageRank.

So, sure, some pages could have lost a significant percentage of their PageRank and still would be able to pass anchor text.  Other pages could have lost so much PageRank they cannot pass anchor text at all.

You cannot look at the toolbar PR to determine what is going on -- not in any meaningful way.  Perhaps if someone as a large enough historical database of TBPR data they might be able to identify a trend later this year.  I don't know.

But I'll hold to the PageRank hypothesis for now.  A preponderance of the evidence seems to support that point of view.



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from Nunney 1259 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"I just can't find anything that would have caused a Panda slap to occur"

@JulieJoyce that's a familiar story. Email (DM) me and I'll show you some sites that you wouldn't believe deserved being Panded. I'm looking at one right now that has approx 1,500 pages of the highest quality medical advice written by leading professors in their field. Old established site without one 'seo-style' category page.

The site you're looking at might match this pattern of quality sites that I've seen Pandaed:

• established old site

• lots of content on a range of subjects. Eg, a sports site covering lots of different sports or a medical site covering lots medical subjects

• not an established brand• successful on Google. Success is based on the quality of the content earning real links over time.

• success includes lots of long tail (thanks to those in-depth articles).• success includes some competitive words too.

• not a big social presence. Never really promoted socially (possibly because it was successful before the founders of facebook and twitter had left high school - many sites with that success didn't see the need to invest in social).

This is a picture of a site that an algorithm might say punches above its weight: few social signals, few mentions on the big media sites they used to beat on Google.

That picture also overlaps a lot with the profile of a content farm.

That picture also explains the recorded association between a Panda slap and old-school design (it's a correlation not a cause thing).

@seotheory some really good points you've made there.



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from Nunney 1259 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Over the years, I've often looked at such debates as this and said 'who cares?. I want quality links and that needs quality content promoted smartly. And sure I'll take a few low-effort, low-level links via article sites along the way'.

In other words, such discussions didn't change my actions so I wasn't that interested in what I deemed academic debate. For link building that remains the case.

But look at the situation of @JulieJoyce 's client. If that's your client's site then you really want to know if you've been Panda slapped or are just suffering from your inbound links losing PR.

If you've been Panda slapped then getting that lifted is your no.1 job as an SEO. If not, it's time to start building quality links.



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from DewaldtHuysamen 1256 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I believe that a link from a site hit by Google panda can be good if it is relevant to your page in question.

As for the site itself that was hit by Panda, one of the new key factors is whether links on the page in question is linking to a high quality rated page or low quality rated page? If it is a high qulaity rated page then the site thats hit scores itself (link being relevant as well of cours and all other anchor text related seo and link factors).

If its a low quality page then the site hit will loose more scoring points on the page itself that is linking to the low quality page.



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from joeyoungblood 1255 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@SeoTheory All good points, none solid proof. I dont typically jump into conversations with link spammers, so I wouldn't really know what their complaint is. All I am saying is that shouting really loud that the update killed page rank from these domains, to me, is not good SEO.

What if you're right and Google reduced pagerank, but only for the pages affected? It would take a lot more study to fully understand, but that would be enough to convince me. Until that time your anecdotal evidence isn't enough proof, nor is mine. If I had the time i'd gladly help you on such a project to put this discussion to rest and really hope someone out there with the pockets and time to do it can get us much more clear data.

As far as my other question it doesn't seem there was an answer yet. If Google had to hire engineers at $100k+ per year to develop an algorightm based on content quality across a domain how will you, as a content developer/marketer, know for sure that site was included in Panda. For example Issuu.com were they hit? The site has no editorial review, has some ads, and is home to duplicated magazine content in some cases (duplicated by the actual magazine) or even newspapers like a college newspaper that uploads a special insert.

How is the small business owner or the run of the mill SEO/Internet Marketer going to know if that site falls into Panda? Do we have to create intense algorightms and correlate them to Google's SERPs? Perhaps tool providers will try and sell this at somepoint.

As far as passing the anchor text, that there could be all you need from the panda site. So I would see this as a benefit.

However, creating quality content takes a LOT of time so I am more apt to suggest websites that were not mentioned in the Sistrix data or that just appear to be of higher quality. That means definitely avoiding Article sites, never been a fan anyways, and pursuing one on one relationships with bloggers and reporters where applicable.






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