The first Google Panda sighting and update of 2013 was rolled out on January 22nd.
According to Search Engine Land, the self-appointed Google Panda watchdog, estimates are that the latest changes to the Google algorithm will affect approximately 1.2% of English search queries. The last update was on December 21, with similar affected results.
History of the Panda
Google Panda updates have been instigated on a regular basis for the last two years. Panda is essentially Google’s quality control mechanism, designed to identify and prioritize search results according to the relevance and quality of the pages being found for any given query.
Panda started by affecting rankings for sites that had poor content – that didn’t offer any value to the searcher. Directly in the Panda crosshairs were those sites with scraped or stolen content and those dubbed “content farms” for their high volume, low quality pages aimed strictly at rankings. Google’s objective is to return relevant results that align as closely as possible with the intent of the search query.
How Panda Updates Can Impact Your Website
The Panda updates are designed to affect low quality websites, or sites that include spammy or “Black Hat” seo tactics.
For those sites, retribution is swift and sure, as Panda returns a site-wide penalty. Without any specifics given, if Google decided your overall website didn’t meet their content quality guidelines, you are booted to the bottom of the pile. (Aka page 50 in search results!) The affect can be swift and sure, as in this example:
A noble cause for the war on spam and an inevitable requirement if Google is to remain at the top of the pile for relevant search results. Unfortunately, many legitimate, well intentioned sites get caught up in the fray and find themselves suddenly invisible in search, losing traffic, visits, and business.
How to Prepare for the Panda
Simply knowing that Google has a strong bond with content, it’s in your site’s best interest to focus on creating great content. Use your knowledge of what your customers find helpful and relevant to generate good content for your website.
Great content can be added to your website in a variety of forms, including:
- Blog posts
- SlideShare presentations
While there are numerous formats for how to share great content, emphasis should be placed on what kind of content you’re producing. By providing relevant, informative, and easy-to-understand information that your customers find helpful, your site has a better chance of steering clear of these frequent search engine updates.
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