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Google's Panda Update May Lead You to the Wrong Doctor's Office!

Google's Panda update has been in the news a lot lately as the ranking of certain websites have decreased hurting their revenue, but worse yet it has now been discovered that the Panda update makes no distinction between professional advice and amateur freelance writers. In a recent study done by They found that when looking up medical advice on Google. Users are much more likely to run across sites like and, which hire freelance writers, rather than actual professional medical websites. Worse yet these same sites often appear near the top of the search results. is not a malicious site by any means, but the crux of their content comes from freelance writers who vaguely claim to have any authority in what they are writing. This means that when someone is looking up advice on how to cure, say the flu, they are suffering from at that time they might be inclined to click on as opposed to more reputable sites which they might have to hunt for literally 20 pages deep.

One of these more reputable sites buried that low was, which is a site with real medical professionals giving advice on everyday symptoms from small coughs to possibly cancerous lumps to even learning how to live with diabetes. In fact, while stayed at the top with a search of, "type 2 diabetes life expectancy" shrank down to the 18th page and has been dropping ever since.

One of the ways touted to getting over Google's update was to have better content. Then again Mark Britton, founder and CEO of Avvo, states that his site provides the best content with the most authority to back it up when it comes to the realm of medicine. In fact he specified that they, "certify every doctor and lawyer offering free advice on the site in two principle ways: First, we verify with the state licensing authorities that the answering doctors or lawyers are licensed and in good standing. Second, we rate the professionals from 1 'Extreme Caution' to 10 'Superb', which was unheard of prior to Avvo's entry into the professional ratings arena. We are big believers that not every doctor or lawyer is 'Super' or 'Best' which was the steady-state in professional ratings for decades."

It therefore becomes curious to wonder what Google's update actually considers legitimate, and if the users should take they search results at first page face value. Or perhaps users need to dig a bit for a site with real authority behind it; 18 pages deeper to be exact!

Darren Miller

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May 12, 2011