The first of Google’s search engine updates for 2013 has now been rolled out. Now considered to be the 24th update of the Google Panda algorithm. Google’s newest Panda updates were announced on the company’s official Twitter account, with the Google suggesting that following the latest changes to the algorithm, around 1.2% of English queries would be affected. The most recent Panda update prior to this latest one was released on December 21 2012, with the changes said to be impacting around 1.3% of queries.
The rationale, apparently, behind the Google Panda updates is that the search algorithms in place are designed to cut down on low quality websites, and reduce the search engine rankings of websites that use illicit forms of Internet marketing, such as stealing or duplicating content, spam, keyword-stuffed sites, content farms and other such dubious ‘techniques’ in the hope of higher page rankings for their key phrases. Websites that offer low quality content, duplicated content that is already existent elsewhere on the Internet, or content considered by Google as spam, should see their page rankings recede.
One of the more interesting aspects related to the Panda updates is its ability to penalise an entire website and not just specific web site pages. This aspect of the panda updates makes it absolutely imperative that all website owners ensure all their website content is both good quality and unique.
If Panda finds webpage content to be of poor quality, including irrelevant keyword inclusions, even if it these just feature on one page out of hundreds, then it is widely understood that the whole website could be removed from the search engine listings. Certainly, we at Direct Submit have seen numerous websites disappear into the depths of the search engine rankings, when previously they had held page one or two listings for specific key phrases.
With search engine optimisation and internet marketing predominantly focused on getting websites to rank well on the first page of the major search engines, including Google, the Panda updates are being used to try to weed out any search results that have unfairly got to the top of the listings.
Google followed Panda with the Penguin search engine update later in 2012, which focussed on unnatural link profiles attempting to confuse the Google spiders into thinking they were genuine and of good quality. Together, the Google updates combined – it is argued by Google, have seen a marked improvement in the general quality of the search results.
An interesting footnote to these continuous updates is that more people and businesses are now turning to Google PPC (ad words) to help ensure success for their website presence in the Google listings, which is itself driving up PPC costs, and no doubt adding further profitability of the Google brand. Some people think the two are related but you would have to be quite a cynic to think that Google would behave in such a way!