Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithms are some of the most important factors in modern SEO. As we’ve covered previously on our blog, the Penguin algorithm measures backlink quality, and applies penalties for low quality links. The Panda algorithm looks mostly for on-site content, and tries to punish weak content while improving rankings for high-quality content.
Managing around these two critical Google systems has become a very substantial topic in SEO for the past several years. Of course, a major part of the challenge is that these systems are not static. Just like everything in SEO, Panda and Penguin are always changing, and webmasters need to keep adjusting strategy to stay relevant.
Right now, we’re facing updates to both Panda and Penguin. In this post, we’ll cover the latest changes to these critical algorithms and explain how they might impact your website and online marketing.
Penguin Refresh: Good News?
At a recent marketing conference, Google engineer Gary Illyes stated that a major Penguin update was coming very soon. Although for some webmasters, more Penguin updates might sound scare, Gary commented that the changes were designed to make life “easier a bit” for webmasters, and that most people will think the new Penguin updates are “a delight.”
While some people might be skeptical of that claim initially, it does seem possible that Google is considering Penguin changes to help eliminate “false positives” for Penguin penalties and give suffering webmasters a break in the rankings. It’s important to note that this update to Penguin isn’t just a data refresh, but according to Google, a major update to the actual Penguin algorithm. For webmaster who have been dealing with Penguin issues for a long time, this really could be great news.
Of course, it’s impossible to know what exactly will change, and of course Google won’t be releasing any details which are overly specific. There’s also not much to really optimize towards right now, aside from the general advice of focusing only on high-quality link building tactics. However, for anyone still dealing with old Penguin issues, this coming update could be a light at the end of the tunnel. Finally!
Panda Gets Another Tune-Up to Version 4.1
As we know, Panda is Google’s system for punishing bad content and rewarding good content in the rankings. It’s an older algorithm then Penguin, and has gone through many revision. This particular update, theoretically version 4.1, likely isn’t as big a change as the Penguin update discussed above, but is still important to understand.
Google’s commentary on the update wasn’t overly detailed, but they did give us something to go on, stating, “Based on user (and webmaster!) feedback, we’ve been able to discover a few more signals to help Panda identify low-quality content more precisely. This results in a greater diversity of high-quality small- and medium-sized sites ranking higher, which is nice. Depending on the locale, around 3-5% of queries are affected.”
The update was officially launched on September 25th, but has been rolling out slowly. However, if you did happen to see major search engine traffic changes at that time, it is likely that Panda had an impact. If your site was previously hit with a Panda penalty, Panda updates are usually when you’ll know if a recovery is coming. If not, you need to keep working to optimize your website to meet Panda’s guidelines.
What are the actual Panda guidelines? There’s plenty of things to consider, but the basic idea is to remove pages on your website that have thin or duplicated content, and replace them with quality, unique, and interesting content.
Any pages that you have specifically for “SEO” are probably hurting you from a Panda perspective. Likewise, any content you’ve copied from other websites or sources is also a big issue for Panda. On the other hand, great unique content with original images or videos, supported by user-friendly design and features is a clear win from a Panda perspective.
With the SEO landscape changing all the time, it’s important to stay up to date, especially when it comes to the critical SEO systems of Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithms. If you’re looking to build an SEO strategy that meets the demands of Google’s latest updates, the team at Tech-Critic can help. Contact us today for a free SEO strategy analysis.