Google Panda/Farmer Update Rolls Out to UK

Following the highly publicised rollout of the Google Farmer (Panda) update in the US, Google announced that the same algorithmic change had been rolled out to all English-language Google users. However, alongside the update a further enhancement was included to take into account sites blocked using the Chrome Personal Blocklist widget.

Google commented on the Webmaster Central blog:

In some high-confidence situations, we are beginning to incorporate data about the sites that users block into our algorithms.

This comment suggests that they're still evaluating the effectiveness of including the personal blocklist in their algorithm. They are hesitant perhaps after concerns from worried webmasters that it's possible for a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) style attack against a site where hundreds of thousands of hacked computers around the world are instructed to send a block request back to Google for a specific site.

Presumably, Google has some way to monitor the quality, volume and frequency of any blocklist requests, which as a last resort may come down to a manual review. It is more than likely that Google would seek to provide an algorithmic solution that would capture other similar sites rather than one-off global blacklisting against individual sites. Otherwise, one might take this to the final degree and ask, what would happen if we all sent a personal blocklist request against one of Google's own sites?

As in the US, there have been significant winners and losers in this latest update. Figures produced early on by Search Metrics were disputed by some webmasters that the data was calculated prior to the Panda rollout having actually taken place. However, these figures were soon backed up by a second report from SISTRIX, which broadly contained the same results as the earlier Search Metrics report.

Some of the key losers were:

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