Google algorithm update downgrades Microsoft

Google has ramped up its rivalry with Microsoft by knocking the latter’s price comparison and reviews site Ciao down the search rankings in its latest algorithm update.

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)

Domain New visbility Old visibility Change %
 
moneypage.com 25 39231 -39206 -99.94
pricedash.com 127 55141 -55014 -99.77
njobs.org.uk 92 30693 -30601 -99.7
voucherstar.co.uk 126 38748 -38622 -99.67
osoyou.com 96 26668 -26572 -99.64
zath.co.uk 161 39768 -39607 -99.6
shoppingvouchers.co.uk 134 30056 -29922 -99.55
discountshoppinguk.co.uk 491 66270 -65779 -99.26
just-food.com 293 39282 -38989 -99.25
webdevelopersnotes.com 583 54948 -54365 -98.94
netvouchercodes.co.uk 1935 152376 -150441 -98.73
pocket-lint.com 2128 165956 -163828 -98.72
killerstartups.com 869 52717 -51848 -98.35
wakoopa.com 1334 71525 -70191 -98.13
aceshowbiz.com 907 46188 -45281 -98.04
everydaysale.co.uk 3822 175800 -171978 -97.83
hotfrog.co.uk 1124 44863 -43739 -97.49
phonesreview.co.uk 864 33418 -32554 -97.41
electricpig.co.uk 1678 60882 -59204 -97.24
kgbanswers.co.uk 1009 31427 -30418 -96.79

Top 20 Winners from Google’s ’Panda’ UK update (Source: Search Metrics)

domain New visibility Old visibility Change %
 
ebay.co.uk 1469346 1034302 435044 42.1
techcrunch.com 174797 124220 50577 40.7
national-lottery.co.uk 292053 209357 82696 39.5
econsultancy.com 186175 135804 50371 37.1
thisismoney.co.uk 234717 180377 54340 30.1
siteslike.com 175869 140279 35590 25.4
mirror.co.uk 275876 220937 54939 24.9
blogspot.com 1006719 819832 186887 22.8
mashable.com 295137 240714 54423 22.6
itv.com 345470 282300 63170 22.4
metro.co.uk 181507 149271 32236 21.6
independent.co.uk 471896 388280 83616 21.5
mozilla.org 146282 122471 23811 19.4
youtube.com 8856696 7446902 1409794 18.9
vimeo.com 168979 142182 26797 18.9
wordpress.com 331836 279738 52098 18.6
laterooms.com 150533 127297 23236 18.3
dailymotion.com 577590 490328 87262 17.8
soundcloud.com 150998 128569 22429 17.5

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