In 2011, Google launched Panda, a search results algorithm which threw out websites with thin, low-quality content. Google Panda stripped search results pages of poorly constructed, spammy content, and enabled good quality websites to rise on top of SERPs.
Since Google Panda launched, the algorithm has become one of Google’s core ranking signals. Algorithms are under constant development of what is defined as low-quality content, driving up the level required by websites wishing to rank.
How does Google Panda work?
Finding low quality or duplicate content websites may be easy for the user, but for search engines, it is a very tricky process. Google researches a set of questions and answers, some of which are listed here, for website testers to review a selection of websites. From these questions and reviews, the Google team and algorithm decide a set of ranking signals which formed the definition of what would be low quality content and what is high-quality content.
Google is constantly changing and upgrading its metrics it uses to determine the value or ranking of a website. This enables Google on top of all search engines and continuously provides an excellent user experience.
Also Read: Google Disavow Links Tool
Panda Update: If your website gets slapped by Panda then you have to wait for the next update to find out if any changes you have made will get the Panda off your back. Here is a full list of Panda update dates :
24 Feb 2011 (USA only)
10 April 2011 (all English language results)
10 May 2011
16 June 2011
12 August 2011 (all languages updated)
28 Sept 2011
9 Oct 2011
13 Oct 2011
20 Oct 2011
18 Nov 2011 ( Google’s tweet announcing this Panda Update)
15 Jan 2012
28 Feb 2012
23 March 2012
March to April: There was a lot of, non-Panda related updates which could have affected your website
19 April 2012
24 April 2012: This is a Penguin webspam update and not Panda
27 April 2012. Yes, just eight days after the previous Panda. Though it was a “small” update
24 July 2012
20 Aug 2012
27 Sept 2012. 2.4% English queries, impacted, belated announced
28 Sept 2012: Non-Panda – this one hit Exact-Match Domains. Less than 1% of “low quality” websites affected this time
5 Nov 2012. Panda – 1.1% of English -language queries in the US; 0.4% affected
21 Nov 2012 Panda- 0.8% of English- language queries ; 0.4% affected
21 December 2012. 1.3% of English-language queries websites affected in the US and all over the world, officially confirmed as a ‘refresh’
22 Jan 2013. 1.3% of English-language queries websites affected all over the world, officially confirmed as a ‘refresh’
15 March 2013. Google says that no further updates will happen but that panda will be rolled out among with some new normal algorithm updates
22 May 2013. Penguin”2.0″. 2.3% of English-language queries affected
What to do if you are affected
1. Work on getting an overview of the situation
- Is some part or full website affected?
- What are the differences between the websites that are affected and those that are not?
- Is there a difference in the quality of content, when compared to competitors who have not been affected?
2. Analyze the website
- Do the above quality factors apply to the entire website or just parts of it?
- Are there pages with positive signals (where the above factors do not apply)?
3. Improve the website
- Create content in compliance with the Google Quality Guidelines.
- Improve the usability and accessibility of your website.