Panda Power!

A number UK companies have seen their Google rankings drop substantially after the search engine rolled out its latest "Panda" update, intended to demote sites which scrape content from others, to the UK and other English-language Google users.

The effects of the downgrading were calculated by Searchmetrics, which compared where the sites appeared in searches for particular keywords before and after the update. Search engine optimization specialists constantly check which sites appear where on which keyword searches (such as "Hotels in Florida" or "Car Insurance UK"), and can see the effects of large-scale changes to Google's algorithm almost immediately.

The update runs the risks of angering direct competitors such as Microsoft - and the European Commission - because one of the sites it demotes Ciao, the shopping comparison site owned by Microsoft.

But as with all changes there are winners as well as losers with the new update rewarding sites that have longer content reading times such as eBay UK and newspaper online sites such as the Mirror.

The challenge is now on for the masses to try and work out how to increase traffic and generate original content to enter the promised land of page one on one of the world’s most influential marketing medias.