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:

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 [...]


Study Finds Google’s Penguin Update Getting Stricter Over Time

google-penguins-computer-featured A study by Portent, an Internet marketing company, shows that Google's tolerance of spammy links to trigger a Penguin algorithm ranking drop has declined by 30% since the Penguin algorithm launched. The study shows that of the 500,000 links found, Google has been steadily reducing its tolerance for webspam. Now, Google is likely to penalize sites with as little as 50 percent suspicious links in their link profiles, whereas 80 percent was required when Penguin first launched. Portent analyzed about 10,000 links pointing at each of the top 50 sites on the 2012 Inc. 5000 list. They then cap [...]


Google Panda Update 25 Seems To Have Hit

panda-face-top-news There are many webmasters and SEOs believing right now that Google has released an update to their Panda algorithm late yesterday. We've reached out to Google to confirm or deny the Panda update, as we've done 24 times previously; but this time, Google told us they are unlikely to confirm future Panda updates since Panda will be incorporated into their indexing processes. It would not be surprising if this was indeed a Panda update since Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, did say at SMX West that a Panda update will be rolling out this Friday through the weekend. Matt then said al [...]


Google: We’re Unlikely To Confirm Current Or Future Panda Updates

quiet-shutup-silence-featured What's that, a Panda Update you just felt? Some believe so. But Google says it is unlikely to confirm that or any future Panda Update, as it has done in the past, because of the new "gradual" rollout infrastructure it is using for Panda Update changes. Earlier this week at SMX West, Google's Matt Cutts said a new Panda Update might hit this week, then later said that the update — and future updates — would no longer be apparent as an abrupt change. Rather, Panda changes would roll out over a series of days. Because of this, Google now says it's unlikely it will confirm officially if [...]


Google: Panda To Be Integrated Into The Search Algorithm (Panda Everflux)

google-panda-featured Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, announced at SMX West today that their Panda algorithm will soon be more integrated into their overall continuous algorithm updates. Meaning, the Panda refreshes that we have been tracking in detail will start to be less severe and noticeable to webmasters and SEOs. The Panda updates will be more real-time, as opposed to being manually pushed out. When will this happen? As early as this weekend with the next Panda refresh. Here is the audio clip from the show where Matt Cutts announced this. Here is a partial transcript: Rather than ha [...]


Google’s Matt Cutts On Upcoming Penguin, Panda & Link Networks Updates

google-panda-penguin-blame-featured Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, announced new updates with Google's Penguin and Panda algorithms and new link network targets in 2013. Matt announced this during the SMX West panel, The Search Police. Significant Penguin Update Matt said that there will be a large Penguin update in 2013 that he thinks will be one of the more talked about Google algorithm updates this year. Google's search quality team is working on a major update to the Penguin algorithm, which Cutts called very significant. The last Penguin update we have on record was Penguin 3 in October 2012. Before that, w [...]


How To Stop The Panic Before Asking “Have I Been Panda Slapped?”

[caption id="attachment_112063" align="alignright" width="205"] Image credit to ShutterStock[/caption] You may see a drop in rankings or traffic and immediately panic. Have I been Panda-slapped? Even now, as we look at the two year anniversary of Google's Panda Update, the likelihood is that you have not. Rankings and traffic fluctuate for many reasons, most of which are not related to penalties from search engines. But, how can you tell? Instead of watching rankings overall, watch categories of keywords. If you separate your keyword categories by topic, you can more easily spot trends t [...]


Google Panda Two Years Later: 5 Questions With HubPages CEO Paul Edmondson

panda-birthday-anniversary-icon (Editor's Note: This is the final article in a 3-part series looking at the aftermath of Google's Panda algorithm update, which launched February 24, 2011. To catch up, please see the first two articles in the series: Google Panda Two Years Later: Losers Still Losing & One Real Recovery and Google Panda Two Years Later: The Real Impact Beyond Rankings & SEO Visibility.) In the two years since Google rolled out the Panda update, many of the "losers" are still losing, and several others have been impacted beyond rankings and SEO. HubPages.com fits both descriptions. Launched in [...]


Google Panda Two Years Later: The Real Impact Beyond Rankings & SEO Visibility

panda-birthday-anniversary-icon (Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of articles looking at the aftermath of Google's Panda algorithm update, which launched February 24, 2011. To catch up, please see the first article in the series: Google Panda Two Years Later: Losers Still Losing & One Real Recovery.) Google's Panda algorithm update, which launched two years ago, had an enormous impact on the SEO industry and online publishing as a whole. As with any Google algo change, there are winners and losers in its search results. In part one of this series, we looked at the current search visibility of some of P [...]


Google Panda Two Years Later: Losers Still Losing & One Real Recovery

panda-birthday-anniversary-icon (Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of articles looking at the aftermath of Google's Panda algorithm update, which launched February 24, 2011.) Two years ago today, Google sent shockwaves through not only the SEO industry, but also through online publishing in general when it launched the Panda algorithm update. It was originally called the "farmer" update because Google's prime target was "content farms," a name used to describe sites that created high-quantities of low-quality content that sometimes ranked highly in Google's search results. Although Google didn't specifically [...]


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