Web brands hammered in Google algorithm switch

Some of the biggest sites in the UK have been caught up in Google’s war on content farms, according to research.

Web brands hammered in Google algorithm switch

About.com and eHow.com have both seen their search rankings fall, despite ComScore listing both in its list of top 25 UK sites.

The change in search rankings is the fallout of an update – dubbed “Panda” – to the Google algorithm that hit US sites in February and was rolled out to the rest of the English-speaking world this week.

According to research by SEO company Search Metrics, About.com lost nearly 30% of its visibility in Google search results, while eHow.com suffered a 53% setback.

Price comparison sites were hit the hardest – notably Microsoft-owned Ciao, which suffered a 94% drop in visibility.

According to analysts, the changes were in line with Google’s intention to demote spam-filled sites in its search results, but some more legitimate sites have been rounded up at the same time.

“Some sites that shouldn’t have been affected have been,” said Yousaf Sekander, head of search and social marketing at SEO company Elevate Local. “Any site that has a lot of advertising and links away from the site and doesn’t have clear original content could be affected.”

The Search Metrics figures were calculated using an Organic Performance Index, which compared where web companies would have ranked on a number of keywords before and after Google rolled out the upgrade.

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