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Posted on 03.29.2011

Google Panda: Odd Name, Big Consequences

First it was Google Caffeine, then Google Mayday.  Now it is Google Panda. These are more than clever names; they are changes to Google’s search engine algorithms in order to meet user expectations by providing the best possible search results as fast as possible. Everyone has typed in a search term and received a page of results full of junk or spam websites (websites that are independent of your search terms and designed to trick search engines or websites that consist only of advertisements and content from other websites). This kind of frustrating search result is what Google is trying to minimize, if not totally eliminate, by reducing the rankings of low-quality sites and increasing the rankings of websites that contain high-quality, valuable information. Across the country there are countless sites that benefited from this change but other sites were not so fortunate. There are also legitimate sites that have experienced a tremendous drop in rankings. Google Panda is such a hot topic that just last week the SES Conference (a search and social marketing event) in New York featured a roundtable discussion entitled Panda: The Aftermath.  Panelists stressed the importance of staying up to date on search engine news. Why? Because these algorithm changes happen all the time and you need to be educated on how it could impact your site and business. I’ve read stories from business owners who honestly didn’t realize that the infrastructure of their site was frowned upon by Google. If your site is a victim of Google changes or if you simply want to stay in Google’s good graces, I found an article that provides a few tips on how to improve search performance:
  1. Remove any copied or scraped content. (Scraped content is when you take copy from another web site and repackage it to make it look different.)
  2. Add unique, relevant, clear, concise content.
  3. Reconsider the amount of advertisements. (Ask yourself, Would this look OK in a magazine?)
  4. Drop any questionable link partners and avoid “link farming” (Your site can be penalized by search engines if you pay for inbound links (AKA backlinks) using link submission services.)  Look at your site’s inbound links and remove any that are associated with low-quality sites and increase the number of inbound links to more reputable sites. (There are companies that provide online backlink checker tools if you want to test your site.)
As SEO continues to evolve, search engines like Google have to constantly make tweaks if they want to stay among the top of the search engine giants. Our job is to keep up with the evolution.

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