In light of the recent Google Penguin update, I felt it was important to revisit these two influential algorithm changes and look at how they changed SEO.
Why Google decided to name its algorithm upgrades after creatures in nature that are white and black is puzzling; in fact, the most recent was Hummingbird, although one might well have believed that the next upgrade would be called Zebra. All of them bear about as much similarity to the theme as an apple does to mobile phones to computers or an orange.
Both Penguin and Panda were changes to Google’s conditions for ranking sites. Panda was launched in February 2011 and Penguin on April 24th, 2012.
The purpose of Panda was to ensure that what Google considered “low quality” sites were lowered in the standings. According to some reports, around 12% of all sites were changed, many dropped from the top spots on page 1 that they’d inhabited for quite a while. Lots of these sites vanishing into oblivion meant that their owners, who’d undoubtedly worked hard to reach the positions in the first place, lost the important part – if not all – of their business essentially over night.
One might consider that Google actually doesn’t care how hard you actually work to make a living, and while you may be skeptical to accept this fact – it’s still accurate; Google is a business, concerned with its own profits. Nevertheless, from a purely business standpoint, you cannot fault them.
Panda is a filter that’s determined by Google’s Quality Rater which takes into account questions like “Is my credit card safe with this website?”. Google itself says that it just requires a couple of pages of content that is inferior to reduce the website’s position, although the remainder of it’s great quality.
Recommendations are to remove the offending pages or rewrite them and have new web design. Nevertheless, rewriting doesn’t ensure restoring the standing, unless the rewriting and web design is of quite high quality and creates a fresh idea that didn’t exist before. The main point here is that Panda is more focused on onpage content and quality
Penguin was aimed at reducing the search engine rankings of websites that used spammy link building tactics manipulating links. Google has for many years rewarded websites that had great back links; quality rates these, so a link back from an authority website might count for over 100 links from other websites. Google considers an authority website, for example, will naturally link back to a website that consequently has authority, and then that website would be deemed an authority as well.
Nevertheless, a wide range of devious “black hat” approaches are used in order to try to artificially increase the position of low-quality websites, and Penguin was designed to stamp out the practice. Sadly it also resulted in lots of websites that were innocent becoming caught in the cross, although significantly less than in the Panda upgrade. So here Penguin is based on targeting all off page efforts for promoting a website online.
Whatever the future holds, there’s no doubt that Google is becoming a lot smarter quite fast; attempting to outfox it won’t be simple or smart.e
The truth is, the easiest thing to do is clear: supply quality content that searchers want to learn about, interact with, and share. That way, your site will be rewarded organically.