Panda Update Hurts Demand Media, Helps Google’s Own YouTube and Android

Google Panda has reorganized the way that Google evaluates search results. As a result of this update, some websites have been pushed up in search engines, and others have been pushed down. This new update aims to provide users with the most up to date results. According to Searchmetric, “Google thought that Panda 2.5 was a bit too much,” and rolled back large portions of the update a week later. Then, on Nov. 3, 2011, Google rolled out a “freshness update” that impacted 35% of queries.

“Given the incredibly fast pace at which information moves in today’s world, the most recent information can be from the last week, day or even minute, and depending on the search terms, the algorithm needs to be able to figure out if a result from a week ago about a TV show is recent, or if a result from a week ago about breaking news is too old,” Google says in a blog post announcing the big change.

 This Panda update is estimated to have an effect on up to 35% of all Google searches, specifically those for recent events and hot topics. SearchMetrics has been tracking the effects of the recent update on different sites and it brings both good and bad news.

One of the companies that was hit hard was Demand Media. According to, Demand Media’s site lost around 29% of their search engine traffic due to the update targeting content farms that contain low-quality content.

Shares of Demand Media are off more than 70 percent from its year high in March of $26.25 due to worries that Google’s search engine changes have hurt the companies prospects. During the third quarter, Demand said that around 31 percent of their revenue was from Google, compared to the 33 percent in the second quarter of 2011. To fix this issue, Demand is putting more of an emphasis on video and is partnering with YouTube in three new channels on home improvement, pets, and health. It is also evaluating the content of its site eHow. Ehow brings in about 29 percent of total revenue for Demand, so they are placing the main focus on increasing its content quality.

On the contrary, this update of Panda has helped many news sites such as Washington Post, Rate my Professors, ScriBd, Zappos, and However, the biggest boost was to Youtube and Android, both properties of Google themselves. Google and Android saw a gain by 10%, with YouTube topping the list of absolute gains.

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