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: 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 Ciao.de, Wikio.de & 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 Ciao.de, 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 [...]


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 [...]


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