Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal blog posted an article named Site Claims to Loosen Google “Death Grip”.
The article describes how Hubpages was hit hard by Google’s Panda update and finally, after five months, they are noticing a recovery. They cite the main reason for their recovery is the strategy of moving their low-quality content from the main www of their site to subdomains, essentially bring up the important quality content they have on the www. This would make Google believe that the site is no longer Panda worthy and move the Panda penalty or filter to the subdomains and remove it from the main www.
As I explained at Search Engine Land, subdomains can be seen by Google as a completely different domain and thus this can make sense.
I followed up with Google and Google said:
Subdomains can be useful to separate out content that is completely different from the rest of a site – for example, on domains such as wordpress.com. However, site owners should not expect that simply adding a new subdomain on a site will trigger a boost in ranking.
Clearly, Google is warning many webmasters hit by Panda to not try this method unless they are the size of a WordPress type of site.
That being said, do I really believe Hubpages has seen a Panda recovery?
A WebmasterWorld thread has discussion around the story and many believe this can’t be a Panda recovery because of the dates. The article said, “the HubPages subdomain testing began in late June and already has shown positive results.”
The issue is, we know Google’s latest Panda update was on June 16th or so, i.e .Panda 2.2. So if they began their subdomain test in late June, how could they see improvements now? Especially since Panda is updated manually. There are some rumors there was an update in the past couple days to Panda, but I am not convinced. Even if there was an update, the story takes time to research.
Anyway, I am not convinced – what about you?
For more on Panda, see our Panda page.
Update: David Harry has some additional insight into this story over here.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.