Pandas are usually viewed as lovable, furry creatures when we see them on television, in the movies or at the zoo. However, talk to any number of people in the SEO community, particularly people that have blogs or create content on a daily basis for various other sites and many will tell you that the Panda is an evil entity! This is the tricky world of Search Engine Optimization and anytime there is a change to the formula there is plenty of commotion.
Google’s latest update to its search ranking algorithm has been nicknamed the “Panda update”. Originally the algorithm was being referred to as “Farmer” by Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land because the apparent target of the update seemed to be content farms, which are websites with low quality content. However, once Wired.com had a conversation with Google engineers Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts the term “Panda” was explained. The basic premise of targeting content farms and spam sites would seem to be a good thing for the online world.
Part of the uproar centered on the fact that some high quality sites were unfortunately caught in the same trap as the content farms and were adversely affected by Panda. This affects page ranking and for many sites will have a negative effect on sales and profit margin.
According to many people the content farm update occurred on January 26, 2011, or at least within a day or two of that date. Since then the possibility exists that there have been at least a couple of updates to Panda and as recently as June 16, 2011 Search Engine Roundtable was reporting that a Panda 2.2 update could be on the way.
There are some things you can to do to protect yourself and the hard work you have put into your blog and all pieces of content you have written for websites in the past:
- Be diligent with new content creation! This is critical if you or your company has a blog. New content keeps a site fresh and will help to avoid or at least lessen any negative impact from Panda.
- Research links that are coming to your site. Backlinks that are coming from reputable and high quality sites are a plus and need to be maintained. However, if a link is coming to your site from a low quality site, there is nothing wrong with sending a request to that website to remove the link. Remember, guilt by association is a philosophy that the online world believes in and all a negative backlink can do is hurt you!
- Social media, social media, social media! People are more likely to develop interest in a product or service because a Friend “Liked” it or “Shared” a link about it. Learn how to effectively use Facebook and Twitter to market your service or product.
Most important, stay focused and stay informed in regards to Panda. Do not take the chance of your hard work disintegrating if at all possible. Here are some quality pieces of reading about Panda from the past few months that could be a big help and give you the information you need to keep your blog or website relevant and enable you to maintain a good search ranking.
Search Engine Optimizician – Gary Pool – Google Panda Update-Update
Search Engine Roundtable – Barry Schwartz – Matt Cutts On Google Panda 2.2 Update
Search Engine Roundtable – Barry Schwartz – When To Use 404, NoIndex & 301 Redirects In Farmer/Panda Fix
SEO by the Sea – Bill Slawiski – Google’s Quality Score Patent: The Birth of Panda?
SEO Services Group – kumareasn – The Method to Overcome Panda