Friday, March 11, 2011

Google’s Panda Update – If all your eggs are in one basket, the panda will eat them all!

Google’s Panda Update – If all your eggs are in one basket, the panda will eat them all! - Recently Google made a fairly major algorithmic update aimed at improving the quality of search results. Fairly normal stuff as far as Google updates go, but this one has caused quite a stir with the SEO industry.
The latest ‘Panda’ update was nicknamed so after one of the key Google engineers working on it, Navneet Panda. The key element to the update is the fact it is targeting ‘content farms’, websites designed solely to hoard content and links as a method of appearing relevant for as many topics as possible, therefore pushing traffic and links to other websites.

It’s a common, dodgy SEO tactic, it takes very little effort but can have a big effect in terms of keyword rankings and inbound links. However it provides the search engine users with practically useless sites and offers no real benefit so means that Google would be returning low quality search results if it kept displaying them.

The update was a double whammy, it was a big blow for those running and profiting from content farms but also those who relied heavily on those sites for links. Many argued, Google didn’t listen and rightly so, they are there to provide the best quality search results and we are in the search engine optimisation business, not the search engine exploitation business!

In an interview with Wired Magazine, chief engineers Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal justified their latest move and roughly explained how they implemented it algorithmically, however they weren’t keen on explaining the changes,

“If someone has a specific question about, for example, why a site dropped, I think it’s fair and justifiable and defensible to tell them why that site dropped. But for example, our most recent algorithm does contain signals that can be gamed. If that one were 100 percent transparent, the bad guys would know how to optimize their way back into the rankings.” Matt Cutts, Google Legend.

As for me, I like to think I’m few steps ahead of changes like this because Google makes fairly obvious hints about how it will continue to rank websites, they have made it pretty clear that linking is becoming much more of a social factor and white hat techniques continue to help ‘optimise’ websites, without ‘exploiting’ search engines.

As for everyone complaining about the update, they shouldn’t have kept all their eggs in one basket.
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