Did Google ease off Panda and then tighten the thin content manual penalty?

Earlier this week there was a confirmation from Google about a recent Panda update. As part of the news on this it seems it was ‘lightened’ in the sense that most of the reports coming out were about people recovering and that Google had eased off the algorithm to some degree.

Google manual penalty for thin content

Then, last night, I was wandering about the Google webmaster help forums and noticed a webmaster talking about a new manual penalty action notification I hadn’t seen before, it went like this;

Google has detected that some of your pages may be using techniques that are outside our Webmaster Guidelines.

As a result of your site having thin content with little or no added value, Google has applied a manual spam action to <DOMAIN>. There may be other actions on your site or parts of your site.

 

Huh. I hadn’t seen that one before. So, I hit the trails this morning and started asking around to see if anyone else had seen these. Along the way, Nichola Stott (of MediaFlow) mentioned she’d seen one of these a few week’s back;

We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Specifically, we’ve detected low-quality pages on your site which do not provide substantially unique content or added value. Examples could include thin affiliate pages, doorway pages, automatically generated content or copied content. For more information about unique and compelling content, visit http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=66361.

We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration

Equally interesting.

So, what’s going on here? Has Google scaled back the algorithmic elements of thin content, (ie Panda) and instead started giving a manual penalty for the more egregious offenders? One might theorize there were some issues with false-positives. It’s hard to say.

Anyway, I wanted to at least bring it to light in hopes of getting some kind of time-line on these. Another person I talked with, said he’d heard of them as far back as 4 months ago.

If you’ve seen one of these in the past, please do let me know as I have a post with the evolution of manual actions and reconsideration replies etc…

Thanks

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