Google’s Panda update created a storm when it hit the UK back in April. It was big news for the affiliate channel and there was lots of speculation around the impact Panda would have within the industry.
The intention of Panda was to ensure that websites that added value to consumers would rank well within Google, while poorly constructed, thin sites that added no additional value would not rank within the search results. There were a number of contributing factors that would be flagged within Google’s algorithm which would result in a penalisation from them, such as:
A high % of duplicate content. This might apply to a page, a site or both.
A high % (or number) of pages with a low amount of original content.
A high amount of inappropriate adverts (ie they don’t match the search queries a page does well for), especially if these occur high on the page.
These factors reiterate that sites with poor quality or irrelevant content would be penalised.
The initial speculation surrounding the type of sites that would be most impacted by the update highlighted voucher code and discount sites. An early report featured on Search Metrics SEO blog detailed the sites that had been affected. Early indications from their research intimated voucher code sites had been significantly affected by the update. Various discussions centred on how accurate these findings were.
Having had time to analyse the impact of the update upon affiliates, we have been able to look at traffic stats across Digital Window to see how each promotional type has been affected by Panda.
And what we found was that content, discount codes and email experienced a very small drop in traffic post the panda update, and all of the other affiliate types actually increased.
While voucher code affiliates may have seen a slight decline as a whole, a number of key voucher code sites have actually seen an increase in traffic. This reflects the fact that voucher code affiliates are becoming less reliant on natural search listings, now receiving vast amounts of traffic through additional revenue streams such as social media and regular emails to their loyal customer base.
As with each of their updates, Google’s intention with Panda was to make their results relevant to users. Affiliates who are able to add additional value and content to their visitors will benefit from the updates, while those that do not will become the ultimate losers.