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Have you been trolled by Panda?


This morning my friend contacted me via Skype to ask if I knew of any problems with SearchMetrics. SearchMetrics and problems? This is something that has never happened before. So I asked him more about the problems. He answered that there has probably been a calculation error in recent weekly visibility updates. There was a weekly update yesterday (7th Nov) and I had this weird feeling that something was going to happen. My feeling was right. However I didn’t expect to see an earthquake.

Here is what I did:

First of all I checked some of the UK big-fishes. I will keep quiet who I exactly checked (their online teams have had enough of a headache today) but the results were really weird. What I saw made me think that the drop is significant and that most possibly my friend is right: there is a visibility calculation error. And maybe (just maybe) not every keyword position and exact search volume was included in the weekly update. Or maybe it could just be that an update is in-progress. Or maybe something different…? An algorithm update perhaps?

Next I decided to call Paul from SearchMetrics.
He told me that they (as in SearchMetrics) had already had a conversation about the “problem” and had come to the conclusion that it isn’t an error.
So then I checked SeoMOZ to see if there had been any recent Google algorithm updates.

I found this:

“Google rolled out their 21st Panda update, roughly 5-1/2 weeks after Panda #20. This update was reported to be smaller, officially impacting 1.1% of English queries.”

Google Releases Panda Update 21, Impacts 1.1% Of US Queries In English (SEL)

Official: Google Panda Refresh On November 5th (Version 21) (SER)

Sounds innocent doesn’t it?
However check the SearchMetrics graphs.  1.1% of English queries might not sound high but there is nothing about exactly WHAT type of queries we are talking about.

The conclusion I have come to is below:

  • The SearchMetrics data is correct;
  • No-one expected a Panda update;
  • Next week’s updates will give an answer to the major question – was this just a glitch or are these drops more permanent and related to the Panda update?

Take a look at the pictures below:

What about you guys? Have you noticed any fluctuation in search visibility?

Written by +Lukasz Zelezny