Google's Panda Algorithm Update

Google's Panda algorithm update, of this past February, has certainly had a significant impact on search results and made headlines across the web - from the NY Times to a variety of blogs. The original Panda update, which launched on February 24th, altered about 12% of results in the United States. A subsequent update, launched on April 11th, changed around 2% of rankings in the U.S. Google release around 500 search improvements per year but most are minor tweaks; so what gives with the recent changes and why have they been so dramatic?

According to Google "site quality algorithms are aimed at helping people find 'high-quality' sites by reducing the rankings of low-quality content." Low quality sites, known in the industry as content farms and/or scraper websites, produce or reproduce unoriginal or redundant content in order to game the rankings and drive traffic to their respective sites. From the Google perspective, there's quite a bit of low quality content distracting the end user.

At RepEquity, as mentioned in previous blog posts, 'black hat' or low level content network building does no service to our clients or our business. Instead, we aim to create and support a brand value to our client and the web community at large. In essence, a professionally produced integrated communications digital strategy should not be at all susceptible to Google's algorithm changes. In case you are though, feel free to browse these questions by Google Fellow Amit Singhal:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?

  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?

  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?

  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?

  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?

  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?

  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?

  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?

  • How much quality control is done on content?

  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?

  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?

  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don't get as much attention or care?

  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?

  • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?

  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?

  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?

  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?

  • Is this the sort of page you'd want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?

  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?

  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?

  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?

  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?

  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?


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