Yesterday morning during my usual Monday morning rankings check I noticed an unusually large number of rankings increases for some of our clients and speculated that the so-called “Panda” update had finally arrived in the UK. Last night Google confirmed that the update, otherwise known as the “farmer” update and before yesterday only rolled out in the US, had been rolled out to all other english speaking countries. A quick check of client’s rankings this morning has revealed further rankings increases. In particular we have found the following:
- We have seen our clients rankings increase for searches where industry specific directories were previously dominating the top spots, with these directories dropping to the bottom of the first page or falling out of the top page altogether
- We have seen our clients rankings increase for ‘keyword + location’ searches where local directories and/or industry specific directories had previously dominated. Again the directories that previously dominated have dropped significantly
If Google has intentionally set out to stop directories from ranking for certain terms it would make sense. From the point of view of the user searching for say ‘widgets in London’, they went to Google to look for companies that sell widgets in London, not for a website that has another list of companies that sell widgets in London.
We have also noticed that despite a couple of hints from Google over the last few months that they were going to take a look at keyword rich domains, it appears that they have been spared in this update and they still dominate in certain searches unless they are sites of the type mentioned above. So for the time being it appears that keyword rich domains are still good for SEO.
We’ll be keeping an eye out for anything else we notice about this update and it will be interesting to see what else comes out over the next couple of days, especially since the UK update is reportedly affecting a higher percentage of searches than in the US.