Product comparison, reviews and voucher code sites all fared badly from Google’s “Panda” update that aimed to improve the quality of the search engine’s results.
Ciao’s UK site lost 94% of its SEO visibility after the update went live in the UK earlier this week.
The move increases the tension between the two companies at the top of the search market.
Ciao and other Microsoft sites including Foundem and ejustice.fr complained to the EU that Google was abusing its dominant position by lowering the ranking of unpaid search results of competitor services in November.
Microsoft declined to comment.
Google says its Panda update aimed to reduce the visibility of “low quality websites” that carry duplicate content that can be found elsewhere on the web. Google has also reduced the visibility of sites that carry heavy advertising.
However, the update has punished many sites that legitimately duplicate content such as product descriptions.
User recommendation site Qype lost almost 96% of its SEO visibility following the update but the company says it is relaxed about its new Google positioning, with a source adding: “it’s still very much business as usual”.
Other brands that suffered from the Panda update included Play.com, ehow.co.uk, about.com and Future Publishing’s Tech Radar.
However, the update benefited many other media sites including Tech Radar rival Tech Crunch, owned by AOL, which saw visibility increase by 41%. Mirror.co.uk, ITV.com and Metro.co.uk all saw visibility boosted by about 20%.
The search visibility data was compiled by Berlin-based search analytics company SearchMetrics that looked at how sites’ visibility fared before and after Google’s Panda update against popular keywords.
SearchMetrics CTO Marcus Tober says the brands affected by the Panda update can still turnaround their search visibility.
He says: “One of the important things to remember is that you must make your site useful to your visitors first – by putting information up there that is truly valuable and different.”
Tober adds that it is likely Google will fine tune its algorithm update in the coming weeks so that some sites will not take such a “painful hit”.
Top 20 ’losers’ from Google’s Panda UK update (Source: Search Metrics)
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Top 20 Winners from Google’s ’Panda’ UK update (Source: Search Metrics)
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