Google Algorithm

Panda Update

Glossary  |  2 mins

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The Google Panda update is a Google algorithm update that was first launched in 2011, aimed at rewarding high quality content and diminishing the value of black hat SEO techniques. Initially known as the “farmer” update, Panda was rolled out over several months, and influenced the rankings of roughly 12% of English language content on Google’s index.

Like other algorithm updates, Panda worked to devalue various problematic site elements that had previously been used by webmasters to artificially improve the rankings of poor quality content.

Some of the primary targets for the Panda update were duplicate content pages, thin and low quality content, content that was lacking in authority and trustworthiness, and sites that were guilty of content farming. Panda was in part a correction for an earlier “caffeine” update, which allowed Google to index content much faster than before. This had the unintended effect of adding swathes of poor quality content to the search engine’s index.

Aligning your Site with the Panda Update on Google

When working to align your site with the Google Panda update, the most important guiding principle is to ensure that the content you publish is high quality, authoritative, and intended to solve the problems faced by your target audience.

Though most SEOs understand the importance of quality and authority when producing new content, there may still be older pieces of content which are being flagged by the Panda update and limiting the ranking potential of your site.

If you’re concerned that your site has been penalised due to the Panda update, it’s often a good idea to audit your site for content that doesn’t measure up to Google’s standards of quality, and remove or re-optimise pages that may have been targeted by Panda’s parameters.

Some common remedial actions to help sites align with Panda include ceasing content farming and preventing these practices from seeping into your future strategy, auditing your content for E-A-T values and amending them accordingly, auditing content for searcher intent relevance, and purging duplicate content.

It can also be useful to carry out a thorough backlink audit to check for any toxic links which may have come about through black hat SEO methods.

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Panda Update FAQs

What is the Google panda update?

The Google panda update is an algorithm update rolled out by Google in 2011, aimed at de-ranking poor quality sites and rewarding those that exhibit high authority and trust.

How can a website recover from the Google panda update?

Sites that have lost rank due to the panda update can recover from it by thoroughly auditing their content for quality, and purging any signs of thin content, content farming, duplicate content, and other poor quality elements targeted by panda.

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