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.

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Why Google Panda Is More A Ranking Factor Than Algorithm Update

google-panda-generic-featured With Google Panda Update 2.2 upon us, it's worth revisiting what exactly Panda is and isn't. Panda is a new ranking factor. Panda is not an entirely new overall ranking algorithm that's employed by Google. The difference is important for anyone hit by Panda and hoping to recover from it. Google's Ranking Algorithm & Updates Let's start with search engine optimization 101. After search engines collect pages from across the web, they need to sort through them in demand to searches that are done. Which are the best? To decide this, they employ a ranking algorithm. It's like a recipe for coo [...]


Official: Google Panda Update 2.2 Is Live

Google has given us confirmation that they have run an update to the Panda filter recently. We have been expecting the Panda 2.2 update based on news coming out of the SMX Advanced conference. Matt Cutts told SMX attendees that Panda 2.2 has been approved, hasn’t been rolled out yet, but that should happen soon. The update hit sometime late last week. I believe Google manually pushed out the Panda 2.2 update around June 16th. As some of you know, I track the SEO discussion forums very closely and have two posts at the Search Engine Roundtable discussing Webmaster chatter around th [...]


Coming Soon: Google Panda Update 2.2

panda-face-top-news One of the bigger pieces of news -- certainly for webmasters and SEOs -- from our SMX Advanced conference this week is that Google will soon be releasing version 2.2 of the Panda algorithm update. Google's Matt Cutts confirmed that during Tuesday's keynote question-and-answer session with Danny Sullivan. Cutts said that the update has been approved, hasn't been rolled out yet, but that should happen soon. Improved Scraper Detection The next update will target a common webmaster complaint related to the original Panda/Farmer update: sites that scrape and re-publish content and are out-rank [...]


It’s Panda Update 2.1, Not Panda 3.0, Google Says

sad-panda-featured There have been rumblings that Google has unveiled another huge algorithm change being dubbed "Panda 3.0" in some quarters. Officially, Google says it's not so. Only a minor update, "far smaller" than Panda 2, has happened. Changes have been spotted by some sharp-eyed SEOs over the past few days, and Google agrees that there were some tweaks made. But as I said, the company says this impacts far fewer rankings than in the past. Let's recap: Panda 1.0: Launched on February 24, this targeted "shallow" or "thin" content and impacted about 12% of the rankings in the United States. See our [...]


Hit By Panda Update? Google Has 23 Questions To Ask Yourself To Improve

sad-panda-featured Amit Singhal, Google's head of search, published a blog post on the Google Webmaster Central blog named More guidance on building high-quality sites. Amit's goal with this post is to have those webmasters impacted by this Panda Update, which rolled out internationally about a month ago, with some direction and guidance to help explain what sites Google likes and which they dislike. Amit said that he cannot document publicly the "actual ranking signals" but will share questions you should ask yourself and consider when trying to understand why a site was impacted by this update. Those q [...]


New York Times: Yes, Google’s Panda Update Hit NYT-Owned About.com

aboutcom-logo-250 The New York Times Company has confirmed recent reports that its About.com property was one of the sites that suffered traffic declines in the wake of Google's recent Panda/Farmer algorithm change. Speaking during its recent earnings call, CEO Janet Robinson said that About.com "experienced a moderately negative impact on page views from the algorithm changes Google implemented in the quarter." About.com was included on several third-party reports listing sites that were hurt by Google's changes, but the general consensus was that many other sites had been hurt worse. The second link in [...]


Hitwise Data Pegs Panda Impact On Demand Media Sites At 40%

demand-media-logo Demand Media sites have suffered an estimated loss of about 40% of overall Google traffic since the Panda/Farmer update took effect. That's according to new Experian Hitwise statistics measuring outbound traffic from Google to other sites, and reported today by Forbes. The Hitwise numbers suggest that about 0.57% of all outbound Google traffic went to Demand Media sites in early January, but that's dropped to 0.34% as of April 23rd. That's an overall loss of 40% when measuring outbound/downstream traffic from Google. On an individual basis, Hitwise includes these Demand sites and their e [...]


5 New Tactics For SEO Post-Panda

chess-board-featured I hear this question, in various forms, quite often these days: "What's up with Google now, post-Panda/Farmer/whaddayacallit? What am I supposed to be doing for SEO?" (Usually accompanied with a deep sigh, aggressive hand gestures, and/or grimacing.) It All Started With Caffeine "Caffeine lets us index web pages on an enormous scale." - Carrie Grimes, Google   If we look back a year ago, when Google rolled out Caffeine, which was (and still is) unprecedented in search, it was this infrastructure change that allowed for the dramatic algorithm improvements we've seen recentl [...]


Yellow Pages SEO In The Post-Panda World

This week at the Yellow Pages Association conference in Las Vegas, I will be leading a session on the state of search engine optimization and how local directories can benefit (or not) from using SEO strategically. For those of you who can't make it to the show, I thought I'd provide some highlights of my presentation. Since February of this year, Google has been rolling out an algorithm change (known as "Farmer" or "Panda") aimed at identifying low-quality pages and sites. As of last week, the update has been rolled out internationally and is apparently (in certain situations) using [...]


Demand Media: Panda’s Impact On eHow.com “Significantly Overstated”

demand-media-logo Demand Media says recent reports have "significant overstated" the impact of Google's Panda update on eHow.com, its flagship website. In a brief statement issued early this morning, the company says: Certain third parties that have published reports attempting to estimate the effect of recent search engine algorithm changes made by Google on traffic to the Company's owned and operated websites have significantly overstated the negative impact of those changes on traffic to eHow.com, as compared to the Company's directly measured internal data. Recent search engine algorithm changes have ne [...]


Panda Update: Google Lowers The Boom On eHow.com

ehow-pow-panda-featured After escaping damage in the first rollout of Google's Farmer/Panda update, Demand Media's eHow.com was reportedly not as fortunate in this week's expansion. Sistrix, one of the companies that's been tracking the impact of Google's changes, says that eHow.com was hit hard by the latest Panda update. We already reported the Sistrix (and other) numbers showing that eHow.co.uk and eHow.com were hit outside the US this week; Sistrix's latest numbers also show that eHow.com is seeing less visibility inside the US, too. As the chart above shows, eHow.com's search visibility has tanked sinc [...]


Winners & Losers As Panda 2.0 Goes Global? eHow, Bing’s Ciao.co.uk & More

panda-expand-losers-featured It's only been 48 hours since Google expanded the Panda/Farmer update to all English language searches outside the US, and we're already seeing reports about who the early winners and losers are. In some cases, the names are familiar if you followed the original reports when the algorithm change first hit in the US in late February. But there are also some new names, including a notable one that was missing the first time around. Sistrix Visibility Index Losers Earlier today, Sistrix posted its initial list of the 30 biggest losers from Panda's expansion. It's based on an analysis of a [...]


Panda 2.0: Google Rolls Out Panda Update Internationally & Incorporates Searcher Blocking Data

panda-international-featured Late February, Google launched a substantial algorithm change (known as "Farmer" or "Panda") aimed at identifying low-quality pages and sites. These are pages (often seen on so-called "content farms") with text that is relevant for a query, but may not provide the best user experience. (Google calls it a "high quality sites algorithm".) Today, Google has rolled this change out to all English language queries and made a few minor updates (with an estimated impact to 2% of U.S. queries). Live for All English Queries The original algorithm update impacted only U.S. queries. As of today, this c [...]


When Pandas Attack: Online Retailers Need To React

panda-featured We interrupt our regularly scheduled RETAIL SMARTS column for this special update on extremely rare, but deadly Panda attacks in the retail community... So this week, I was supposed to share the results from that 300% sales increase of that leather dog collar with nameplate example from last column, but this is a little more important. Stock image from Shutterstock, used under license. I was out of the country and out in the jungle the week the Google Panda/Farmer update hit. None of our sites or client sites were really affected, but that meant I had no real information on the dire [...]


Lessons Learned at SMX West: Google’s Panda Update, White Hat Cloaking & Link Building

An amazing amount of great information came out of SMX West this week. Below is a summary of some of what I found to be the most actionable and useful. Google's Own Words About the Farmer/Panda Update Google's Matt Cutts said that while the change isn't 100% perfect, searcher feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. He noted that the change is completely algorithmic with no manual exceptions. Blocking "Low Quality" Content Matt reiterated that enough low quality content on a site could reduce rankings for that site as a whole. Improving the quality of the pages or removing the pages alto [...]


The Farmer/Panda Update: New Information From Google and The Latest from SMX West

[caption id="attachment_67584" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image from Sony200boy on Flickr"][/caption] Today at SMX West, the subject of the day was content farms. One session included the founder of (sometimes-called content farm) Associated Content, Luke Beatty, and focused on the good that can be learned from content farms, as well as what sites who have been hit by Google’s Farmer aka Panda update can do to regain their rankings. This discussion coincides with an updated posting from Google in the webmaster discussion forum thread they opened for site owners on the sub [...]


The Farmer Panda Impact On Links Nobody Is Talking About

I've seen a few hundred articles and columns and blog posts about the GFP update, ranging from small SEO blogs all the way up to the Wall Street Journal. The primary focus of all these articles has been two-fold. First, those who are operating what was deemed as "shallow" content have taken a hit in their search rank. Good. Second, some sites that never were content farms and had original content were caught up in the algo tweak and became collateral damage. Not so good. Having lived through every Google update, I'm not going to pile on with another I told you so post. All I'll say is af [...]


Your Site’s Traffic Has Plummeted Since Google’s Panda Update. Now What?

Google's latest algorithm change has impacted nearly 12% of queries. That means that a lot of sites, big and small, are looking at their web analytics reports this week and seeing devastating traffic graphs down and to the right. It can be difficult to think strategically and objectively in such a a situation and your first reactions may be panic and anger. Understandable, but if you want to restore your site's traffic, you need actionable steps for evaluation and change. Even if it is truly the case that you were unfairly hit as a result of collateral damage, you want to spend your limited [...]


Google Speaks More About The Farmer Update, AKA Panda Update

In an interview with Wired magazine's Steven Levy (who's keynoting at our SMX West conference next week), Googlers Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts speak more about the recent Farmer algorithm update. One of the interesting things they say is that last year's launch of the "Caffeine" indexing infrastructure played a role in upping the visibility of "shallow content." [Amit Singhal speaking] Our index grew so quickly, and we were just crawling at a much faster speed. When that happened, we basically got a lot of good fresh content, and some not so good. The problem had shifted from random gibber [...]


Google: We’ve Made No “Significant” Changes To The Farmer Update

Earlier, we wrote about a Wired article that looked at how the Cult Of Mac web site had regained traffic lost after Google's recent Farmer Update algorithm change. A fix just for Cult Of Mac? A fix to the algorithm? Neither, Google has told Search Engine Land. No Manual Changes Google has told us that it made no manual change to help improve how the Cult Of Mac site is doing, nor is it making any types of manual changes along these lines. There's no "whitelist" that people are being put on, nor is there some type of "blacklist" that the Farmer Update went after. Instead, Google rolled out [...]


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