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 Confirms Panda 3.3 Update, Plus Changes To How It Evaluates Links, Local Search Rankings & Much More

google-g-logo Google has confirmed a new Panda update at the same time that it's announcing 40 search updates that happened in February (or are in progress right now). It would be all but impossible to fully sum up the full slate of changes here, but there are a few that seem especially noteworthy and will no doubt produce a lot of speculation among search marketers. Here's a look at the ones that stand out to me: Panda 3.3 Update Here's what Google says about its latest Panda-related change: Panda update. This launch refreshes data in the Panda system, making it more accurate and more sensitiv [...]

Infographic: The Google Panda Update, One Year Later

panda-year-infographic-featured One year ago, Google launched its "Panda Update" designed to filter low quality or "thin" content from its top search results. Below, our infographic produced in conjunction with BlueGlass covers how Panda works, what it impacted and the various updates from Panda 1.0 through Panda 3.2 that have happened along the way. After the infographic, you'll also find more information about the Panda Update ranging from in-depth analysis of how it works, "winners and losers" and well as recovery tips. (Note: An earlier version of this infographic listed scraper sites as something targeted by Pa [...]

Google Panda Update Costs Demand Media $6.4 Million In 4th Quarter?

ehow-pow-panda-featured Demand Media posts $6.4-million loss in fourth quarter from the Los Angeles Times reports that Google's Panda algorithm is mostly to blame for Demand Media's $6.4 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2011. Demand Media released their earnings report last night, showing revenues up 15% year over year, but profits down from a positive $1 million in the 4th quarter of 2010 to a loss of $6.4 million in the 4th quarter of 2011. Overall, Demand Media lost $18.5 million over the 2011 fiscal year. Our very own Greg Sterling told the LA Times, "When you generate articles based on keywords, you [...]

Google Panda 3.2 Update Confirmed

sad-panda-featured Google has confirmed reports of a Panda update with us. The company told us they have done a data refresh of the Google Panda algorithm about a week ago, and added that there were no additional signals or algorithm changes. This was only a data refresh. I saw reports over the past week or so of webmasters commenting about their rankings. Most were complaining that they lost rankings, but some said sites that were originally hit by Panda regained their traffic levels pre-Panda. This would explain the data refresh, where Google ran the algorithm and updated the sites that should or should not [...]

Google & Bing Have “Won A Major Victory” Over Content Farms, Study Says

panda-winning-featured Search engines have "won a major victory" in their battle against so-called content farms. So says the current issue of New Scientist magazine, in an article that's also available online. New Scientist asked University of Glasgow computer scientist Richard McCreadie to study 50 search queries that are "known to be a target of content farmers." One example query given is "how to train for a marathon." McCreadie studied those queries in both March and August, and the magazine says "the results show that Google and Microsoft have won a major victory" against content farms. The results are s [...]

Google’s Holiday Gift To Webmasters: No Panda Updates Till Next Year

google-panda-holiday-break-14455 Yesterday, I made an assumption that Google would put all Panda updates on hold until after the holiday season. Google tweeted yesterday afternoon that there would be "no major Panda updates until the new year." The last Panda update we had was labeled a "minor" update on November 18th and since then, it has been pretty quite on the Panda update side of things. Google typically does not do major algorithm updates during the holiday season in order to not impact online retailers that much during their most critical business sales time of the year. This all stems from the historic Flori [...]

Google’s New Multilingual Markup Signals New Issues Of Concern For Global SEOs

Last Monday, Google announced that they had released "new markup for multilingual content", see the webmaster tools blog post here. Even for those of us that work in the field of looking after global websites, this produced relatively unexciting headlines along the lines of "Google Launches New Multilingual Markup -- Wow". Big yawn. In fact, digging deeper into the announcement produces new worries and potential new solutions for international SEOs. For instance, whilst it may not have been Google's intention, they're presenting this as a "stronger signal than canonicals", and give scen [...]

Yahoo Deletes 75,000 Associated Content Articles, Moves Rest To New Yahoo Voices Site

yahoo logo Yahoo is cleaning up Associated Content by deleting some of the articles, moving the keepers to Yahoo's domain and giving the site a new name, too. And next year, Yahoo will begin an online training course to help its writers create higher quality content. The company has announced plans to "retire" more than 75,000 Associated Content articles, keep only "the best content submitted over the last seven years," and move it all to a new site, Yahoo! Voices ( In the process, Yahoo has also introduced new submission guidelines for its army of writers. Associated Content [...]

Bing Bans Holiday Deals Sites, Including One By Group That Created Cyber Monday

bing-deals-ban-featured Ironically, the trade group that created the Cyber Monday concept had its own site lost in cyberspace this week. Lost, that is, if you tried to use Bing to find it. The site, along with some Black Friday deals sites, have been deliberately dropped from Bing as being too "thin" in content. Bing's Version Of The Google Panda Update If "thin is bad" sounds familiar, that's because Google kicked off this trend earlier this year. The Google Panda Update was a change in how Google ranked web pages, designed to penalize pages deemed to be content-light. Google's change didn't rem [...]

Google Panda Update 3.1: “Minor” One Made Live On November 18th

Google Panda - Effect on Local SEO & Local Business Market Google tweeted that they have pushed out a minor update to the Google Panda algorithm this past Friday afternoon. The update impacts less than one-percent of searches, which is why Google labelled this a "minor" update. There have been a number of updates since the 2.5 update on September 28th. We have been calling those updates Panda fluxes. Google is making a conscious effort to provide more weather reports for when they do major of minor updates with the search algorithm. Previous Panda Updates Here’s the Panda update schedule so far, as we’ve tracked and had confirmed by Goo [...]

Panda Update 3.0 Live & Panda “Flux”

panda-face-top-news On around September 27th, Google launched what's being called 2.5 of its Panda algorithm. On October 5th, Google's Matt Cutts tweeted: "Weather report: expect some Panda-related flux in the next few weeks, but will have less impact than previous updates (~2%)." Panda-related flux? Indeed, this seems to be the case, with site owners reporting Panda-related changes on at least October 3rd and October 13th. In several  cases, I saw sites with Google organic traffic declines on 9/27, recovery on 10/3, and decline again on 10/13. I talked to Google to find out more about the flux and what sit [...]

Google: Low PageRank & Bad Spelling May Go Hand-In-Hand; Panda, Too?

bad-spelling If your website and/or web pages have low PageRank, it's possible that they also suffer from poor spelling and grammar. Google's top spam cop, Matt Cutts, made the correlation between low PageRank and poor spelling in a Google Webmaster Help video just made public today. In responding to a question about whether spelling and grammar matter when Google evaluates site quality, Cutts says: "We noticed a while ago that, if you look at the PageRank of a page -- how reputable we think a particular page or site is -- the ability to spell correlates relatively well with that. So, the reputable sit [...]

They’re Back! Google Issues Weather Report For Panda Update

weather report Google's Matt Cutts has just issued a "weather report" about upcoming changes to be expected from Google's Panda algorithm. If you're not familiar with algorithmic weather reports, sit back and learn. Because they're back, and that's a good thing. Before There Was Panda, There Was Florida At the end of 2003, Google released what became known as its Florida Update. Now kids, if you think Panda was bad, Florida was a storm that seemingly blew the roofs off SEO homes everywhere. It hit during the holiday shopping period. It caused confusion and havoc among many SEOs. Search engine optimizati [...]

Google Panda 2.5: Losers Include Today Show, The Next Web; Winners Include YouTube, Fox News

sad-panda-featured Searchmetrics has a pretty good track record of figuring out who lost after one of Google's Panda Updates. Among the latest victims of this week's Panda Update 2.5, some unexpected surprises: popular tech blog The Next Web, blog aggregator Technorati, and NBC's The Today Show. Winners include Google's own YouTube, along with Fox News and several other mainstream news sites. Apparently, that patented SEO process that Business Wire just announced isn't much help to the company. It was listed among the victims, along with PR Newswire. About The Losers The names are from a report that Searc [...]

Confirmed: Google Panda 2.5 Update Arrived This Week

google-panda-generic-featured Google has confirmed that the latest iteration of its Panda algorithm update is live. Based on our tracking of the algorithm changes, this is Panda Update 2.5. Google declined to share any specifics about what types of sites, pages or content this update targeted, instead only sharing the company's default statement: We're continuing to iterate on our Panda algorithm as part of our commitment to returning high-quality sites to Google users. This most recent update is one of the roughly 500 changes we make to our ranking algorithms each year. WebProNews reported this morning that the updat [...]

Yet More Tips For Diagnosing & Fixing Panda Problems

search-results-interaction Here we are, five months after Panda and the only publicly confirmed Panda recovery stories are those that followed the Panda 2.3 update. This is notable because this particular update was one in which Google took actions to help restore some sites that were unfairly hit by the earlier versions of Panda. Google told Barry Schwartz about the update: "this update incorporates some new signals that help differentiate between higher- and lower-quality sites. As a result, some sites are ranking higher after this most recent update". So what is the formula for Panda success? It starts with und [...]

Panda’s Winners & Losers In Germany: Bing’s, & More

panda-face-top-news Google has again slapped a comparison shopping site owned by its primary search competitor, Bing, as part of its most recent expansion of the "Panda" algorithm update. It's only been a few days since Google pushed out Panda around the world in all languages except Chinese, Japanese and Korean. But Searchmetrics has already published its list of German sites that Panda has impacted both positively and negatively. The biggest loser in terms of overall organic visibility? That would be, a comparison shopping site that Bing owns. Searchmetrics says that Ciao's overall visibility d [...]

Google Panda Update 2.4: Panda Goes International, In Most Languages

panda-international-featured Google has just announced that their "Panda" rankings changes, first launched in the United States in late February and rolled out to English language indices internationally in April, have now launched internationally in all languages other than Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Their post notes that for non-English indices,  this change impacts 6-9% of queries (vs. the 12% the original US English launch). This launch also includes a few minor changes to the English version of Panda, but shouldn't have a substantial impact. In their post, they say: For many months, we’ve been focused o [...]

Official: Google Panda 2.3 Update Is Live

google-panda-generic-featured Google has confirmed to Search Engine Land that late last week it pushed out a small update to the Panda filter. "We're continuing to iterate on our Panda algorithm as part of our commitment to returning high-quality sites to Google users," a Google spokesperson told us. "This most recent update is one of the roughly 500 changes we make to our ranking algorithms each year," the spokesperson added. Over the past week or so, I have been tracking the complaints in the various forums, including the large ongoing thread at WebmasterWorld. At first, I felt the complaints suggested that Goog [...]

Can You Dig Out Of Your Google Panda Hole By Offloading To Subdomains?

google-subdomains-dig-featured The Wall Street Journal has an article out today reporting that Hubpages, acting on advice from Google, has found that using subdomains seems to have gotten some of their content to recover from a Panda penalty. By moving some of their content to new subdomains, it either has escaped the penalty or is being assessed afresh. The article said: In June, a top Google search engineer, Matt Cutts, wrote to Edmondson that he might want to try subdomains, among other things. The HubPages subdomain testing began in late June and already has shown positive results. Edmondson’s own articl [...]

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide