On January 22 this year, Google announced the release of the latest update of its Panda algorithm, the 24th so far and the first one issued in 2013. As observed by some commentators, Google has made a habit from updating Panda almost every month, which shows that some serious interest in the business of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is happening there.
What is Google Panda?
The first time Panda made its appearance was in February 2011, which makes it a fairly recent phenomenon. It was released as an attempt of Google to bring changes to the algorithm it uses in order to rank search results (Page Rank). This is an algorithm whereby websites are indexed by Google’s search engine, in accordance with their popularity and their reliability. In simple terms, this method of calculation states that the popularity of one website is the sum total of the popularities of all sites that send links to it.
Google introduced Panda as a way of optimizing its ranking by, supposedly, making it easier to detect spammers, link farms, and in general techniques employed as Black Hat SEO. One important change brought about by the Panda algorithm consists in downgrading the entire site that is found to bear Black Hat techniques, rather than only the page on that site where these techniques are found. In essence, therefore, Panda is aimed at disciplining those users who use “too much SEO,” to quote the title of one online commentator.
A cleaner internet?
The advantage that SEO-minded internet users are drawing from the Panda experience consists in the elimination of unwanted and unfair competition. The Panda algorithm targets precisely the users that present excessive use of automated internet spiders in order to generate limitless numbers of links. It has been repeatedly noted that scraped sites (i.e. copy-cats of pre-existing, genuine content) often climb higher in Google’s hierarchies than the original sites, which makes the internet a not-so-reliable source of information.
- With Panda, it is hoped that these spammers will be eliminated, by detecting the origins of a page content and tracking its journeys across the web, in search for duplications.
Spun articles are also targeted by Panda. Article spinners are software that work like automated thesauruses: they take already published articles, read them word by word, and suggest synonyms to replace the existent words. This way, dishonest content generators hope to eschew the issue of plagiarism by creating articles with identical conceptual content but different wording. As these articles are generated by software, they have grave flaws in syntax, since the automated tool is only designed to replace words, without being capable of observing grammatical or syntactic rules. Google Panda can detect these frauds and those who generated them are penalized and, in extreme situations, even banned from accessing Google’s search engine. To honest, hardworking, genuine content creators out there, the possibility of putting off these subversive competitors is obviously a welcome measure.
What’s in for no. 24?
Every time an update of the Panda algorithm is reported, Google also announces the proportion of its users that will be affected by the update. This year, the January refresh is said to have affected 1.2% of the total of English language queries performed via Google. This is by and large in line with the average of the previous updates, which affected under 1.5% of the users who employed English to perform their searches.
What Are Some Good Practices? Comments and Policies!
Transparent sites with “Contact” links, policies and UNIQUE content are rewarded. If you have an authority site you can easily benefit from Panda. We recommend that you don’t build links, instead focus on quality content and social media promotion
Social signals are very important these days – so are comments (hint: It’s a good practicate to post a legit comment yourself below each article)