Thousands of small business owners have pleaded with Google for help on Google's own webmaster forum and on blogs and forums across the web, to no avail. Although Google claims they're listening, every month more and more businesses are wiped out by their Panda experiments. Google's claims ring hollow, as they continue to test and update Panda, not only destroying more businesses with each iteration, but also bringing a few up and down repeatedly. Google's incompetence and the resulting lack of confidence in their search algorithm makes it impossible for businesses who might temporarily see the light of day to hire their employees back.
Below are just a few of the thousands of stories told by small business owners who have suffered at the expense of Google's experiment, taken from public forums and blogs. In the near future, we'll add links to pages with detailed business profiles and interviews from companies that have been adversely affected.
From Google's webmaster forum:
"PLEASE HELP. THIS IS KILLING US FINANCIALLY...PLEASE RECONSIDER THIS UPDATE. If only for a short time, could you please consider exempting some of the mid-size sites while you work on the algorithm to make it better? Could you give us guidance on what the best way to improve our rank is in the new rules? This is killing smaller sites that have worked very hard and played by the rules."
"This is a real-time, real-life experiment that's gone horribly wrong."
"I am sharing my story for 2 reasons. First, with the terrible downturn in rankings, I am most likely going to lose my house. This is not an exaggeration. My wife and I are in free fall now..."
"Since the update, we've seen a massive drop in rankings and traffic (down more than 50%). I believe we were caught in the cross hairs of the [panda] update but we are not a [low quality site]!!"
"I'm Tim Carter, Founder of AsktheBuilder.com. I'm a smoldering cinder from last week's Napalm Strike - better known by many as the [Panda] Update. I've lost at least 50% of my traffic because of the algorithm change. Here's what's so troubling. First, Google for years has held me up as an example of stellar content - high quality that others should strive to achieve. Don't believe me? Go here: https://www.google.com/adsense/static/en/AsktheBuilder.html"
"We are another site hit within the cross hairs of this algorithmic change. Our high quality e-commerce site, www.lcipaper.com, has a niche focus selling specialty papers, envelopes and invitations to people that design, create and print their own invitations. We spend considerable resources to develop all types of helpful FAQs, tutorials, videos and how to articles to help people with their projects. Our pages are well organized in a tab format to allow better visitor usability. We have overwhelming positive customer feedback that relates to our helpful tips and guidance that we offer..."
"TheSchoolRun.com was severely hit by the first worldwide Panda update. So we went back to the drawing board and have spent thousands and thousands of pounds and hundreds of man hours revamping the site and went live with the new look on 1st September. It is now loaded with fantastic quality content and has an excellent navigation system. We bore in mind all the recommendations you made on how to create a very user-friendly site. Since then, we've seen an increase in our page views per visitor, time on site and a drop in our bounce, so obviously the site is now more engaging, and we get great feedback from users. However, we have seen absolutely no increase in traffic since the Panda update in mid-September. We are at a complete loss as to what to do next."
"We have had a website http://www.thefruitcompany.com for the last ten years...We are one of the top companies in our industry and unique in the fact that we manufacture everything we sell...We only have a few weeks to make adjustments if needed before the holiday season starts."
"When a company has become so large and influential as Google and has a motto- First Do No Evil, then they need to take into account what might happen. A little collateral damage is not acceptable."
From WebmasterWorld's Minor Panda Update thread:
"I equate Panda to giving a blind man a gun, in a crowded gun range, spinning him around and asking him to hit the target. Panda is about as accurate as that blind man would be and certainly has left many innocent victims on the floor bleeding."
"I can't believe it! My un-affected Panda sites are finally hit too. That's it for me. I am wiped out, my whole life's career come to an end."
"It's like being arrested and never being told the charges. It's not right when the cops do it; it's not right when Google does it, and these days, they are doing it all the time, and apparently feel zero responsibility for the lives they are ruining."
"With the economy the way it is, that speaks volumes. When Google does these updates, they don't care about anybody else but Google and the engineers' own egos that worked on the latest release."
From WebmasterWorld's October 2011 Changes thread:
"This is literally killing me. I have poured my life into my website. How can google reward us for our efforts one day, then stab us in the back and leave us dying the next?"
"My sincerest apologies and heart-felt condolences for those that were negatively affected by the most recent rendition of Panda. I can remember my first weekend after Panda annihilated my site of 6 years... a site that I had put my blood/sweat and tears into. At the time Panda hit my first child was less than a month old and it seemed as if my world was falling apart."
"I don't know why Google has to do all their "testing" on a live system. If I would have done that at work, I'd be fired. They should be able to do extensive testing before letting the damn panda loose in the crystal vase boutique..."