Demand Media downplays effect of Google’s algorithmic changes

Demand Media, arguably the largest target of Google’s recent algorithmic changes aimed at “content farms,” has downplayed the effects of the search engine’s edits on the traffic of their properties.

The company concedes that eHow’s traffic has been pummeled by the algorithmic changes, but overall says the effects of the update, dubbed Panda, on Demand Media sites including and has been “exaggerated” in the media. In a blog post, Larry Fitzgibbon, Demand Media Executive Vice President, addressed the “overstated” concerns about dropping traffic stats in the wake of the change:

As I said in my prior post, we generally do not comment or speculate on changes by major search engines, as these changes can happen nearly daily. However, recent third-party reports attempting to estimate the impact to our search driven traffic, including one projecting a 2/3rds decline in traffic, are so significantly overstated that we decided to comment. As discussed in our press release issued today, we currently expect that in Q2 2011 our owned and operated Content & Media properties will generate year-over-year page view growth comparable to or greater than the year-over-year page view growth reported for Q2 2010. We have also reaffirmed our calendar year 2011 financial guidance in this press release.

Notably, the aforementioned post was succeeded by a lengthy disclaimer about “forward-looking statements” and risks. Fitzgibbon also pointed to “organic growth” and non-Google related visits later in the post, citing the virally popular site Cracked and talking up Facebook likes as a search engine traffic alternative:

Organic growth in visits from non-search sources to eHow continue to grow rapidly and is now the most visited humor site on the Internet with the majority of its page views coming from direct visits. Improvements have been registered from eHow’s recent redesign and the introduction of new video series leading to significant growth in Facebook likes.

Demand Media promised more detailed traffic stats on a conference call scheduled for May 5th.