Google “panda” update – impact on small publishers

An open letter to Google.

I’ve been doing online publishing since 1999, across various successful websites, and have never knowingly been affected by any of your previous algorithm changes – sticking to the motto of great content, and optimizing for our user experience had so far done us well.

However, the Google “panda” algorithm changes being made over the last few weeks seem to have be far more wide reaching than any previously. I’m totally behind the goals you’ve stated to reduce the number of spam sites and content farms, but I’m sure I speak for a large number of publishers that we feel let down in the way this has been handled.

We are now consistently seeing exactly the kind of sites you claimed to want to punish, ripping off our content and ranking for our articles, while our original content is nowhere to be seen. I have talked to your PR team, contacted your search team, and all been given a standard response. We’ve posted in forums, filed reconsideration requests, and reported the people ripping our content off as spam. All with no effect.

I’ve no doubt that it was well within the technical realms of Google to establish which large, well established, high quality editorial sites would benefit and suffer – and so can only assume that a decision was made to press ahead regardless. While the really big publishers will no doubt survive, at the same time you are no doubt making or breaking thousands of small businesses across the web, who like it or not are dependent on traffic from Google, and yet have made every effort to produce genuine high quality original content for their audience.

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