Google's Latest Algorithm Change Affects Content Mills, Paywalls

The new updates Google has implemented in its page-rank-algorithm system, “Panda” pose some serious threat to paywalls, research suggests.

Thanks to Google’ search engine update, a number of well-established UK technology websites and paywalls suffered a major set back to their visibility as their pages dropped significantly in Google search results. The paywalls may have been affected because Google's webcrawler couldn't access the full website.

Google introduced these updates to its English-language search engine on April 11th with the intention of rewarding high quality content instead of search engine optimisation (SEO) tricks.

Keywords form part of the metric that most search engines, including Google, use to determine which sites are most relevant to a users search. An entire industry has sprung up around the correct placing of keywords to improve search visibility, leading to many spammy results getting high page ranks.

Google has actively attempted to lower the ranks of content mills and other companies that produce large amounts of content of arguably low quality.

Prominent websites such as About.com and eHow.com, both belonging to the ComScore’s top 25 UK sites, found themselves at the receiving end of the move. A report by the SEO company Search Metrics found that About.com lost almost ⅓ of its visibility on Google search results, and eHow.com lost 53% (http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2043352/googles-panda-update-bring-paywalls).