How Google’s Panda / Farmer Algorithm Could Affect Email Marketing

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Google’s Panda / Farmer algorithm modification did more to shake up the established world of SERPs than any other update since the Big G was a junior-sized ankle biter cowering in the shadow of AltaVista. That may be no news to any SEO specialist, but its possibly unforeseen impact on email marketing could change that medium as profoundly as the publishing platforms have been hit.

Most of the primary article publishers got slammed hard

All of the primary blogging and article publishing platforms have been tagged with the discriminatory and derogatory title of “content farm” whether they deserve it or not.  Ezine Articles and Suite 101 lost over half of their visibility, with Wisegeek getting devastated at a 93% drop.

The percentage of loss as calculated by Sistrix placed some prominent sites such as Associated Content,, and Articles Base at over 90% of traffic which simply evaporated overnight. When it came to keyword rankings lost, the top 25 sites dropped anywhere between 78% and 88%.

While major sites such as YouTube, eBay, and Facebook were considered net winners in the Google algorithm modification, some prominent publishing sites such as Ezine Articles, Buzzle, and HubPages were seen to lose considerable traffic.

Manual teams feed data to the engineers & spam reports are weighted at 4x

Google’s algorithm incorporates functions which assign weighted values to spam issues and reports. Acting in parallel to the engineering teams which are writing the software to address spam at large scales, manual teams are seeking out instances of spam and providing the data to the engineers for algorithm modification so that similar instances can also be ferreted out and deleted from the index. A spam report from an individual outside the Google framework is weighted as equal to four instances of spam found manually, effectively assuring swift loss of SERPs from the offender’s rankings.

ISPs could copy Google’s engineering & manual team approach to squash spam

Even though Google may not have contemplated the application of this algorithm to ISP blacklisting, it seems that the mathematical and logistic basis of Panda / Farmer can certainly be applied in the determination of spam values of emails.

The combination of engineers drafting algorithms refined by manual teams who seek out and destroy spam is an approach that few ISPs could afford to engage in individually but could certainly ban together to implement. An effectively independent and impartial integrated team approach could theoretically improve spam determination and its granularity by an order of magnitude.

Proactive application of good email practices is more important than ever before

An implementation of this system on a large scale across ISPs would be very bad news for the spamming crowd, but it could also have an impact on legitimate email marketers. The caveats to keep your subscription list ultra-clean and meticulously up to date would become absolute prerequisites to achieving email delivery. Extensive procedures would have to be put into place by all email marketers in order to ensure that hard bouncing addresses are swiftly and irrevocably deleted from the list, as just a handful of resends could plunge a stake deep into the heart of any company’s online reputation.

Email marketers would be well advised to adopt a proactive stance and start tightening up on their email subscription list practices now, before they are forced to do so by a Panda / Farmer-ization of ISP spam controls. Following providential good email practice is a beneficial strategy in any form of delivery climate, thus Thomas Jefferson’s quote of “the sun has not caught me in bed in fifty years” should be heeded by all email marketers at this time.

Hal Licino
Hal Licino is a veteran freelance writer, book author and frequent contributor to a blog hosted by Benchmark Email, one of the world’s global email... Read Full Bio
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  • Webmaster

    Big ‘G’ is doing a good job but taking it so far. The Panda update is making it nearly impossible for new websites to find space on SERPs.

    Now they are contemplating taking the update to ISP that will affect email marketing campaign companies. It sounds good. Email marketing company I know is in a very good shape so no cause for alarm.

  • Fletchmonster

    This makes sense and ultimately supports unique and valuable content for humans. Most companies use email marketing providers that require single or double opt-in, so this isn;t an issue.

    My greater concern with the farmer algo is that Google themselves is aggregating data for Places listings, adding very little unique content. What gives?

  • Ravi Ratan

    yeah, I was a little surprised that EZA was effected that much considering how much Google loves manual approval.

  • Webliberty

    Really great article! Thanks)

  • SEO Advisor

    Many webmasters are confused about their ranking positions. But, as I guess only content publishing site are affected by Farmer algorithm in sense of traffic and rankings. But website owners those are submitting their content with site links, affecting in sense of referral traffic only and rankings are still on previous position.

  • Brandignity

    It is tough to stay positive during some of these updates but I know in the end they are being done for good reasons. Cleaning up the search results is a daunting task for Google and sometimes websites get axed. It is a dynamic space and all companies who market themselves online should realize that things can change over night.

  • andrea

    Is there a list of urls that have been highly affected?? So people know what placed to give less focus on? Thanks