Search Engine Land's Guide to the Google Panda search filter

What Is The Google Panda Update?

Google’s Panda Update is a filter introduced in February 2011 meant to stop sites with poor quality content from working their way into Google’s top search results. Panda is updated from time-to-time. When this happens, sites previously hit may escape, if they’ve made the right changes. Panda may also catch sites that escaped before. A refresh also means “false positives” might get released.

Our Guide To Google Panda:

Read Search Engine Land’s latest news related to Panda updates:

Panda Strikes Again: Yahoo Voices & The Yahoo Contributor Network Closing Down

panda-xcu-600 Yahoo has announced another round of product cuts and changes, all part of what it calls a continued effort on "furthering our focus." The most notable cut announced today is the upcoming closure of both Yahoo Voices (voices.yahoo.com) and the Yahoo Contributor Network (contributor.yahoo.com). The former is Yahoo's home for user-generated articles; the latter is the network of authors that generates the content. Yahoo says that Voices will shut down on July 31st -- a help document pegs the exact (and odd) time at 11:38 pm on July 30th. The Yahoo Contributor Network will follow "by th [...]


PR Newswire’s Answer To Their Google Panda Troubles: Taking Action On Press Release Spammers

google-panda-featured When Google released its most recent modification to the Panda algorithm, Panda 4.0, on May 20th, one of the sites reportedly hit hard by the update was the large press release distribution company, PR Newswire. The company's answer to recover from the algorithmic penalty is to "take action" against press release spammers through new internal quality guidelines for press release submissions. SearchMetrics showed a significant drop in SEO visibility for PR Newswire, a drop ~63% after Panda 4.0 was released: PR Newswire announced "new copy quality guidelines" that their editorial st [...]


Panda 4.0: Redefining Site Authority

google-panda-xcu-600 Everyone in SEO talks about it: authority. It's the key measurement for ranking, right? But what defines authority in the eyes of each search engine? We all have our theories and correlations, and authority measurement has certainly changed over the years as new signals emerge that may give engines a better idea of a website's true authority on a subject. Over the past two years, many reputable, arguably authoritative websites have seen major Google organic ranking drops due to various Panda updates. How frustrating. But Panda may have just taken a positive turn, and Google may have fin [...]


Did Google Panda 4.0 Go After Press Release Sites?

google-panda-generic-featured Nine days ago when Google released Panda 4.0 -- which aims to filter out "thin" content from top rankings -- we focused our attention on the big Winners & Losers charts, Since then, some have noted that press releases may have also been hit big time. Using SearchMetrics, I looked at the top Press Release sites and checked if they lost any SEO visibility on a large scale since Panda 4.0 hit, and PRWeb.com, PR Newswire, BusinessWire and PRLog all seem to have lost significant rankings in Google. PRNewsWire.com seems to have shown a significant drop in SEO visibility, dropping ~63% af [...]


RetailMeNot Says On Google Ranking Drop: The Reports “Greatly Overstate” Our Organic Search Impact

retailmenot_logo_lg On Tuesday, Google pushed out their revised Panda Algorithm code-named Panda 4.0. Panda is designed to remove low-quality content from Google's search results. Yesterday, we published an early Winners & Losers report on which large sites were impacted the most both in a positive and negative way. RetailMeNot was one of the larger sites on the losers list, where Searchmetrics reported an approximate 33% loss in organic search visibility after Panda 4.0 was released. RetailMeNot was quick to issue a statement responding to these reports saying they "greatly overstate the impact on RetailM [...]


On MetaFilter Being Penalized By Google: An Explainer

Google Cop Big MetaFilter is a news and discussion site dating back to the early years of the web. Founded in 1999, it's attracting attention this week after coming forward about how a Google penalty has severely harmed its business, to the degree of having to let staff go. It serves as a poster child of problems with Google's penalty process, despite all the advances Google has made over the years. Google Hits Sites Large & Small If you just can't wait to get to the specifics of what happened to MetaFilter, scroll further down in this story now. But I'd encourage you to go through the background e [...]


Is eBay A Big Loser In Google’s Panda 4.0 Update? — Winners & Losers Data

sad-panda-featured Yesterday, Google began rolling out their Panda 4.0 update designed to punch low-quality content. That's generated both "winners" who have moved up in rankings as "losers" have dropped down -- and eBay might be one of the big losers. Searchmetrics gave us their initial winners and loser charts, based on rankings they continually monitor. These show that one of the biggest losers was eBay. According to the data, eBay lost a tremendous amount of traffic from Google, much of it from the ebay.com/bhp/ area of its site. Another huge loser was Ask.com, yes, the search engine, that lost a tre [...]


Google Begins Rolling Out Panda 4.0 Now

google-panda-xcu-600 Google's Matt Cutts announced on Twitter that they have released version 4.0 of the Google Panda algorithm. Google's Panda algorithm is designed to prevent sites with poor quality content from working their way into Google’s top search results. But didn't Google stop updating us on Panda refreshes and updates since they are monthly rolling updates? Yes, but this is a bigger update. Panda 4.0 must be a major update to the actual algorithm versus just a data refresh. Meaning, Google has made changes to how Panda identifies sites and has released a new version of the algorithm toda [...]


Were You Really Hit By A Search Engine Penalty, Or Is It Something Else?

shutterstock_136088975 Often, I'll speak to prospective clients who think they've been hit by an algorithm update or a penalty. They've lost a lot of organic traffic, so they immediately think that a search engine change is to blame. Unfortunately, I've also run into many situations where SEOs are using algorithm updates such as Panda or Penguin as explanations for organic traffic drops. Because clients may not understand the technical nature of SEO, vendors can often hide behind excuses of algorithm updates or past penalties as the reasons for traffic drops. So how can you know what the real problem is? Have Yo [...]


Google Granted Patent For Panda Algorithm

google-panda-generic-featured Google's Panda update has been one of the most talked about algorithmic updates by SEOs and webmasters since it launched in February 2011. Today is the day the patent document describing Panda was granted. It was written by Navneet Panda, which is why it was named Panda, and Vladimir Ofitserov of Google. The patent application was filed on September 28, 2012, well after Panda was released into the Google search ranking algorithm. Today, March 25, 2014, it was granted by the U.S. Patent Office. You can view the patent over here but Bill Slawski summarizes it very well, describing that the [...]


Google Working On A Softer & Gentler Panda Algorithm To Help Small Businesses

panda-and-baby Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, announced at Search Marketing Expo that his search team is working the "next generation" Panda update that would appear to many as being softer. Cutts explained that this new Panda update should have a direct impact on helping small businesses do better. One Googler on his team is specifically working on ways to help small web sites and businesses do better in the Google search results. This next generation update to Panda is one specific algorithmic change that should have a positive impact on the smaller businesses. Matt Cutts didn't mention [...]


The Brave New World of SEO: Beyond Websites

changes-ahead-exit-sign We hear it regularly -- the death knell tolling for SEO. In the past several years, we've been bombarded by a barrage of change in organic search, from Penguin to Panda to Hummingbird, from inbound link penalties to [not provided]. Let's face it: the only constant in search is change. But I propose that SEO isn't dead by far. In fact, the role of SEOs is expanding rapidly, and the reality is that we now have to look beyond just the company website. Let's review some of the ways search has changed in 2013 and take a look at how those changes have impacted the role of search marketers. Mobi [...]


Google’s Matt Cutts: Feel Free To Use The Disavow Tool Even Without A Manual Action

google analytics links In a new video answer today from Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, he says that you can use the disavow tool even if you do not have a manual action. In which cases can you use this tool even without a manual action? (1) You tried to remove links but the webmaster linking to you will not remove the links. (2) You think you may have been hit by negative SEO. (3) You see links pointing to your site you do not want to be associated with. (4) You saw a link bomb attack and are afraid it might hurt your site. (5) You are afraid someone will submit a spam report about you. [...]


Google’s Matt Cutts On What To Do If Your Site Was Hit By Panda

google-panda-generic-featured Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts posted a new video today talking about the Panda update. The question he tried to answer was, "what should a site owner do if they think they might be affected by Panda?" Matt's short answer to the question is to make sure to write high quality content, content at the level of published books or in popular magazines. Cutts explains that Panda launched on February 24, 2011 and this year has been integrated into the "indexing process" where the algorithm is somewhat baked into the normal ranking algorithms. The reason for this is because now the [...]


How to Recover When Your Content Is Stolen

dmca-google Last month, I shared a case study of a client I'm currently working with on a duplicate content issue. It turns out that this particular site had significantly lost rankings over the past year because of other sites "lifting" their content, often verbatim, causing the client's site to lose rankings through Panda updates. This is a common problem for content producers. You produce great content only to have other sites disregard copyright and repurpose the content on their own sites -- without attribution. I see this often in the case of associations and non-profits that may be producing val [...]


Penalized & Sad: When To Abandon The Sinking SEO Ship

Penalized and Sad Sometimes the captain can’t afford to go down with the ship, no matter the temptation or emotional investment. Every few weeks, I receive another hopeless phone call from another desperate webmaster. Since Penguin, I've seen more ships go down than I care to count. Websites that have delved too deeply into black hat SEO and spam tactics of the past have paid a heavy fine -- for many, the ultimate price. So, how do you know when it's time to abandon the sinking ship? Well, let me walk you through it the same way I do on calls. But please, bear in mind that this is only my professi [...]


Is Google Authorship Affecting Rankings Today?

trafficimprovement Many of us in SEO espouse the great benefits of Google Authorship and the potential of the rumored AuthorRank. Many in SEO would argue that AuthorRank has not yet been implemented as part of the Google algorithm. Or has it been added already? The Scenario A few weeks ago, one of my paid search clients contacted me with a problem. His normally very high ranking website had been dropping dramatically in traffic volumes from Google over the past 10-12 months. This particular client also is an association, a publisher of valuable information for the public. Diagnosis: Panda After taking a look [...]


Google Confirms Panda Update Is Rolling Out: This One Is More “Finely Targeted”

google-panda-generic-featured This morning, I noticed a possible Panda update was rolling out, one that seemed to be "softer" in nature than the previous updates, where many webmasters who were originally hit by the algorithm are now claiming recovery. Google has confirmed a Panda update is rolling out and this specific update is "more finely targeted." As you may remember, Google told us new Panda algorithms are being pushed out monthly over a ten day period. Google's Matt Cutts did imply there was a bit of a delay in pushing out their monthly Panda refresh because they wanted to release signals that would soften th [...]


Google Update Underway: But For Payday Or Panda?

payday-panda There appears to be an update underway, one that will be rolling out over a "multi-week" timeframe according to Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts. The update was announced by Matt on Twitter in response to a question about why some of the search results look spammy. Matt replied saying, "Yup we saw that. Multi-week rollout going on now, from next week all the way to the week after July 4th." It is unclear exactly what this is an update for. Is it in response to an update on the PayDay algorithm or maybe the softer Panda update? We asked Matt Cutts and Google to clarify but Google [...]


Google’s Panda Dance: Matt Cutts Confirms Panda Rolls Out Monthly Over 10 Of 30 Days

google-panda-featured At SMX Advanced, Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, announced that the Panda algorithm is still being updated roughly every month, but that update is rolled out slowly throughout the month. It is like a Google Dance, but in this case, a Panda Dance. What happens is Google will run the update on a particular day, let's say on the 4th of the month. Then Google will slowly push out that impact over 10 days or so throughout the month. Google will typically repeat this cycle over monthly. Google said in March that they will stop announcing Panda update because they were more of a rolli [...]


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