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Google change shakes things up for UK tech media

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 14th April 2011

Yesterday, Google rolled out a substantial update to its search algorithm, codenamed “Panda”. The update, which hit the US in February, aims to penalise sites which scrape content, known as content farms.

The Guardian has published a blog post which reveals the effect the change has had on UK technology news sites based on research by elevatelocal.co.uk (a nice bit of PR by them!)

In the tech sector, Pocket Lint, Electric Pig, Tech Radar, TechEye, RegHardware, PC Advisor, IT Pro Portal and the newly online-only Computer Weekly have all been penalised by the search engine.

At the other end, there are clear winners too with Ebay UK, Techcrunch, the National Lottery, This is Money, mirror.co.uk and Mashable all getting significant hikes.

With 99% of Google users never going beyond the second page of search results, the drop or rise could be significant for these businesses.

Pocket Lint founder Stuart Miles told the Guardian: “about 60% of our traffic comes from Google – it would be a lot worse if it were 90%… we put out all original content. I could understand it if we copied and pasted everyone else and were a massive aggregator of crap. But we don’t and we aren’t. As a small publisher, we’re always trying our best to bring good stories to the table.”

This is yet another hit for these trade media sites. Research we released this month showed that tech buyers were increasingly turning to social media and search when making those all important buying decisions, with 18% of IT decision makers said they are reading fewer IT print publications than they did 12 months ago.

For those of us working in tech PR, it’s doubly important to stay on top of these changes in the media landscape to ensure we can plan and execute effective campaigns that generate results.