The Google Panda Update Part - I
To celebrate the holiday season in our own special way, we bring to you an exclusive three-part series of reports on a Google phenomenon that has left virtually no one in cyber space untouched. We are talking of the Google Panda update. As we will find out in just a moment, no Google algorithm or “update” as it is called, has shaken up the often confusing world of Internet search as the Panda. In our three-part introspective on the Panda, we hope to reflect on three facets of the Panda with a view to eventually providing you with a set of guidelines on how you may correct the damage the Panda may have caused your website. If you happen to be one of those fortunate Internet properties that hasn’t been touched by the Panda update, good for you. We will tell you how to preserve status quo and even suggest proactive measures you can adopt to improve your rankings on Google searches.
Google Updates: Past Present and Future
The science of Google Search is not only complex but also a closely guarded secret much like Coke's formula. However, Google does publish periodic updates to its search algorithm. The first significant update, called the Florida Update, was announced by Google in 2003. The Florida Update was followed by the Vince Update in 2009 and the Mayday Update in 2010. Another significant Google update, dubbed the Caffeine Update, was fully implemented the same year after being launched in 2009. The real action, however, was still waiting in the wings all set to explode in 2011.
The Business Challenge of Search for Google
The human race is good at beating the system and Internet marketers, also known as search engine optimizers, are certainly no exception both individually and collectively. They figured that given a few choice ranking factors, the process of driving traffic to their websites through regular Google search, also known as organic search, could be achieved as long as these key ranking factors were taken into active consideration. The quality of the website in terms of content, look-and-feel, the user interface, design and responsiveness were all secondary issues for them because traffic and advertising sales and not the search experience happened to be their first and only priority. These Internet-savvy promoters also discovered that Google was too busy trying to break into social media with Google+ and other projects to penalize them for stealing content from other websites and passing it off as their own. One fine morning, Google woke up to face reality and launched the Panda. Before they knew it, webmasters were waking up in shock to steep plunges in organic Google rankings, lost traffic and possibilities of Google de-indexing. The Panda had finally arrived with a roar.
From February 2011, which is when Google announced the Panda Update, up until October 2011, Google found it necessary to tweak the update on several occasions. The latest Panda tweak took place on September 27, 2011 and was labeled Panda 2.5. In case you are wondering why the Panda Update took so long to implement, the inquiry is justifiable. The primary purpose of the Panda Update was to significantly enhance the search experience not from the perspective of webmasters and website owners but from the perspective of millions of searchers who use Google every hour as they attempt to explore the vast labyrinths of the Internet looking for answers to a zillion questions. Before the update, these searchers were being served up websites which left tons to be desired in the content quality department. Often referred to as scraper sites and content farms, these top ranking websites used dubious content farming strategies such as auto-blogging and stealth RSS to display pirated content which in any case was not just shallow but also poorly written and seldom edited. Genuinely content-rich websites weren't able to make it to page one of Google's search engine results because they didn't know how to play the SEO game a search phenomena Google eventually recognized and attempted to correct through the Panda Update.
Next month, we will tell you how the Panda has impacted the world of search and why it took Google almost a year to successfully implement corrective measures to improve search quality and search experience from a user’s point of view.