Hot At Sphinn: Google Panda 6 Months Later, 17-Year-Old Search Inventor & More

sphinn-logoIt’s been about six months since Google rolled out the first Panda (then called Farmer) update to its ranking algorithm — and Panda has since gone through at least three updates that we know of. Have we learned anything in that six month period?

That was the topic of our “Discussion of the Week,” which asked What Have We Learned From Google’s Panda Algorithm? And that topic got surprisingly few replies, perhaps due to vacations/summer, or perhaps — as I suggested in a comment that I posted — because we collectively haven’t learned much yet from Panda. There’ve been exceptionally few stories of sites that were hurt by Panda and have come around to recover.

In other news last week, the story of a 17-year-old who won a science fair project by writing an algorithm that excels at searching short documents — like tweets and Facebook status updates — was the number one story among Twitter users with 140 tweets and retweets. It’s a fascinating read.

Here’s a look back at all of last week’s Sphinn activity.

Most Comments

  • Discussion: What Have We Learned From Google's Panda Algorithm? – It's been about six months since the Panda (nee Farmer) algorithm first rolled out. There was a lot of speculation early on about how to avoid getting lumped in with the websites and web pages that Panda targets. Now that it's been six months, we've had more time to analyze what Google's doing. So, our "Discussion of the Week" asks — what have we learned about Panda? What's working now or not working now? What are you doing differently, or what are you doing more of? The floor is open!
  • 6 Advanced Ways to Improve Your Search Engine Rankings – Neil Patel some SEO tips that are off the beaten path. It's definitely worth a read if you're into reading stuff that's not just regurgitation of the same SEO "best practices" that have been going around for the last decade or so.
  • A Theory About Google: Authenticity and Passion as Ranking Signals – Over the past 6-9 months, I've been getting the sense that there's something new in Google's algorithm – a metric or set of metrics that looks for some form of authenticity in a site and passion in the content created on a page.  These aren't things a machine or algorithmic system has been traditionally able to measure, but (can I say this without sounding crazy?) I can feel it.
  • Google Chrome becomes UK's second most popular web browser – Google Chrome is moving on up in the UK, becoming the 2nd most used browser, now ahead of Firefox.
  • Calling All SEO’s! You Be The Judge and the Jury – An article that was run at (which is part of the Mercury News) has opened up the latest can of worms of a website (and in this case a large network of websites) feeling mistreated by Google. Their cause has been picked up by antitrust attorney Gary Reback (hmm, I see a dotted line connection here, what about you?).

Most Tweeted (not already listed above)

Hot On Sphinn: August 1 to August 7, 2011

This is the latest in a weekly look at the stories that were “hot” on Sphinn in the past week. We’ll post these recaps every week.

Related Topics: Channel: Other | Features: General | Sphinn


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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