- Category: Our Blog
- Written by Brent Williams
In an effort to remain relevant as a search engine, Google is making sure it serves the most relevant SERP's (search engine results page) to users. To do this Google contently update their algorithms to create the best possible experience from searchers.
The Panda update, announced by Google on Feb 24th 2011, was the first time Google had incorporated a penalty system for ranking down websites. This down-ranking applied to what Google considered as “thin” content or what they deemed “not good enough”.
Although Panda is only one of many different factors (or signals, of which their are estimated to be 200+) that Google uses to rank pages, it is something that Publishers & search professionals are following closely. This is because it Panda has the potential to severely impact SEO strategy and technique.
Panda is called an update because is and is run periodically, and filters out the content that lacks substance. Note that Panda uses a site wide penalty, so an entire site is effected if “enough” pages are tagged as poor. To lose the penalty all you need to do is remove or improve the quality of the content – and then wait for the next Panda to be released, however this may take several months.
The updates seem to be increasing in frequency, with several in the first quarter of 2012. In addition, each update adds further refinement (or restriction depending how you look at it). More recently (April 2012) Google released a further update called Penguin that serves to penalize “over optimized” sites and “web spam”.
These Panda updates have required many large sites to completely revisit their SEO and content strategies. This included sites like about.com, and Yahoo. However, those who already had good content in place are not affected.
What to do
- Don't use services that "auto" create content on your site
- Be careful about aggregating or duplicating content from other sites
- Follow Google's rules if you are syndicating content
- Be careful when using RSS feeds on blogs
- Be mindful of using plugins that auto post articles between blogs or social-media like facebook
- Do continue to write original articles that are useful and relevant to your audience
- A good explanation of "What to do if your site was hit by a Panda update"
Google's guidance for building high-quality sites. This includes a checklist of 23 items which may affect ranking.