Everything you Wanted to Know About the Panda Update – Panda Part 1

Google Panda

Get off my rankings, panda!

First off let me start by saying because of Google, I HATE pandas. I don’t even eat at Panda Express anymore for obvious reasons. SEOs vs. Google’s Panda is a lot like snowmen vs. a volcano. But despite the lack of success stories, there is hope.

Since the first panda update back in February 2011 there have been many articles written about Panda and what webmasters should and shouldn’t do. Some have been very insightful and others pretty much worthless. After reading nearly every panda article published about the Panda update I would like to share with you what the general consensus on Panda is, as well as some of my own personal findings. My goal here is to equip all the webmasters and SEOs of the world with the right weapons to slay the panda.

So let’s get right to it. Grab some coffee and takes some notes because ladies and gentleman, it’s panda hunting season…

What is The Panda Update?

The name “Panda” comes from its creator Navneet Panda, a Google software engineer. Simply put, the Panda algorithm attempts to put all websites into 1 of 2 categories: good or bad. Sounds easy, right? Not quite, there is a lot that goes into this simple task. Essentially here is how Google does it:

  1. Google starts with a sample of many different websites with various levels of quality.
  2. Google’s quality raters look at the websites individually and place them into 1 of 5 categories: Vital, Useful, Relevant, Slightly Relevant, and Off-Topic/Useless.
  3. Using machine learning, Google looks at what metrics the bad websites have in common.
  4. Google applies these metrics to all websites on the web. Those that share the same metrics as the bad websites get penalized. This usually happens once every 4-6 weeks.

Even though the Panda update increased the quality of Google’s search results, many quality websites were negatively affected. Anytime a computer is given the task to think like a human, many mistakes are going to be made.

Why Was Panda Created?

Panda was put in place to reduce spam in Google’s search results by specifically targeting “scraper” websites and other low quality websites. A scraper website, sometimes known as an “autoblog,” is a blog which steals content from other websites and publishes it automatically. Usually a scraper website will have ads or affiliate links in an attempt to make some quick cash.

Example of a Scraper Website

These websites filled the web with thousands upon thousands of pages of duplicate content. Not only did this negatively impact the search results, but occasionally the copied content would outrank the original source. As a result Google was receiving a lot of pressure to clean up their search results and the Panda update was born.

Next – Part 2
Why was my Site Penalized by Panda?

 By Jeff Oxford

Leave A Reply (6 comments So Far)

  1. Dan
    6 years ago

    It’s ‘panda’monium out there in the SEO world.(ha-ha) Great introduction to topic. Can’t wait to read part two!

  2. Sam
    6 years ago

    How does Panda affect link building and the databases we use to do that? Will Google actually give them more credit now as being “Useful” websites?

    • Jeff Oxford
      6 years ago

      There have been a few correlation studies done and they all show that linking most likely wasn’t a panda factor.

  3. Nicholas
    6 years ago

    Can my snowman beat google’s volcano?

  4. Dominios Colombia
    6 years ago

    Panda was massive, and there have been many, many changes since – including social metrics. The landscape is evolving rapidly! It takes an expert now to stay ahead.

  5. Jeff Oxford
    6 years ago

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Jeff Oxford is the founder and lead SEO consultant of 180 Marketing. Jeff has managed many successful SEO campaigns for clients all around the world.