Google Panda Update Guide

The Google Panda update made its mark in the winter of 2011.  In February of that year, the world meets Google Panda, also known as the “Farmer” update for quite some time. 

The impact of Google Panda felt across the entire search engine optimisation community is vast.  Low-quality content and poor user experiences were the main focuses of Google, working to lower sites that met such criteria in its rankings.  Google went on the offensive with Panda to clean up its search engine results.

Google Panda Has Its Targets

The targets with Google Panda were two-fold.  Google wanted to start by going after sites that had low-quality content.  Think about all of the content mills that were around at this time, with countless blogs posted, stuffed with keywords to get domains high in rankings.

Sites with duplicative content also took a hit with the Google Panda update.  Sites had to work to get custom content on each page to regain their ranking/stature with Google.

The second target was sites that had a poor user experience.  Over-use of advertisements on the pages, making it hard actually to find content, is an excellent example of this.  Once Google was able to target these two types of sites, they began to work to lower the rankings.

The Cause of the Demotion

The cause of so many sites to be demoted in search engine rankings usually had nothing to do with backlinks.  Plenty of other Google updates targeted backlinks, just not Google Panda.  The on-site search engine optimisation is typically what was the cause of demotions to occur in rankings.

Time to Recover

The path to recovery from the Google Panda update was difficult for many sites.  An investment in original content is necessary.  Each page of a website had to have authentic, fulfilling content to users. 

Filler content is no good. 

It was about unique, genuine, authoritative content.  Again, material needed to be more than just filler.  A large site was expected to have anywhere from 50 to 100 quality pages of content.

Duplicated content from one page to the next also had to be addressed.  Google was able to locate these pages, and as a result, they could not be indexed.  These needed to be corrected. 

Again, it all comes back to original content. 

Google got smarter with Panda, and they wanted to dig deep.  With the update, they could detect material that looked the same from one page to the next.

Pages of content that were over-optimised and stuffed with keywords had to be repaired.  Over optimisation, one of the primary targets of Panda was inevitably going to result in a reduction in the Google rankings of any website.  There may not have been cases where content had to be re-written, but certainly tweaked.  

The Google Panda update made its mark on the search engine optimisation community.  It caused sites to change the way they approached material, focusing more on quality than keywords and optimisation.   Following proper recovery tactics, though, led to even higher rankings for the sites that worked tirelessly to correct their issues.

The end result of this Google Panda update was the internet got better, the quality of websites has lifted and the SEO community were forced to lift their sloppy game and stop cutting corners in the area of quality content.

Some Google Panda Case Studies

Panda Case Studies

The Holy Grail of Panda Recovery – A 1-Year Case Study (Search Engine Journal)

Panda 4.0 Recovery Case Study (Wired SEO)

How I Recovered From Panda (BHW)

Panda 4.0 Analysis (HMT Web)


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