Google Panda is a search algorithm update released by Google on April 11, 2011. It is designed to filter search rankings so that only high-quality results reach the first pages. The changes to the algorithm are based on surveys taken to determine desirable and undesirable page characteristics. This new design is updated monthly, meaning that end-user quality needs to be maintained. With Panda, there are stronger incentives to provide quality content.
Before Panda, the Google search system relied heavily on keywords to determine relevancy. It also accounted for link quality, link volume, link velocity domain age, domain trust, and rolling updates. Now, Panda also monitors search impressions and click through rates, time on site, actions on site (browse rate), bounce rate, repeat visits, navigation, and on-site search queries.
Who Won With Panda
The change to link weights and other site characteristics, combined with an assessment of site rankings before and after the update, can help us see what pages gained from the change. Let’s take a look.
- wikiHow.com gained a positive difference of 79.1%
- Yahoo! Answers gained a positive difference of 28.9%
- eHow.com gained a positive difference of 13.6%
- howstuffworks.com gained a positive difference of 15.9%
- huffingtonpost.com gained a positive difference of 7.6%
- Facebook.com gained a positive difference of 2.0%
Who Lost with Panda?
The Panda update harmed link quality from several sources, meaning that their content was generally less reliable, lower quality, and led to lower rankings.
- blippr.com suffered a negative reduction of 97.9%
- suite101.com suffered a negative reduction of 92.5%
- tradekey.com suffered a negative reduction of 92.2%
- associatedcontent.com suffered a negative reduction of 91.6%
- articlesbase.com suffered a negative reduction of 91.5%
- helium.com suffered a negative reduction of 91.4%
- faqs.org suffered a negative reduction of 88.7%
- freedownloadscenter.com suffered a negative reduction of 87.9%
- mahalo.com suffered a negative reduction of 87.3%
- allbusiness.com suffered a negative reduction of 86.5%
What is Successful with Panda?
- Modern, high quality, thoughtful, and “attractive” UI and website designs.
- Richer, more authentic, non-paid content (Etsy, Dailymotion, LinkedIn, Facebook)
- Accessable content (LOC.gov, HuffingtonPost)
What Lost with Panda?
- Intrusive advertisements on sites.
- Ugly, simple, table-framed designs
- User-generated content that attracted “thin” contributions (EzineArticles, Hubpages, Buzzle).
- Convoluted, wordy content (AllBusiness, Findarticles).
A History of Google Updates
Between the Summer of 2003 and April 2004, Google released the Fritz (Summer 2003), Florida (November 2003), Austin (January 2004), and The Sandbox (April 2004) updates. Bourbon was released in the May of 2005, and later that year, in October, the Big Daddy update rolled out.
From then until January 2007 the algorithm was fairly stable – the Supplemental update was followed shortly by Paid Links in October, then the Dewey update of March 2008. The Vince/Brand release of 2009 was followed by the Scraper Filter release in January 2010. May Day, May 2010, was followed immediately by the Caffeine update in June of that year. The most recent update, Panda, was conceived in February of 2011.