Google Panda

What is Google Panda?

Google Panda – A Google algorithm update focused on analyzing the quality of a website’s on-page content. Initially released February 2011, and updated periodically after this release, similar to Google Penguin. This update would determine if the content on site pages was related to queries it was being displayed for, and alter the site’s rankings accordingly. Sites with low-quality content saw significant ranking drops due to this algorithm update. The algorithm has now been assimilated to Google’s core search algorithm and can assess content quality in real-time. (See also: Google Algorithm, Google Penguin)

Panda Triggers

The Panda algorithm update addressed a number of problematic phenomena in Google SERPs, including:

  • Thin content – Weak pages with very little relevant or substantive text and resources, such as a set of pages describing a variety of health conditions with only a few sentences present on each page.
  • Duplicate content – Copied content that appears on the Internet in more than one place. Duplicate content issues can also happen on your own website when you have multiple pages featuring the same text with little or no variation. For example, a chimney sweep company might create 10 pages, one for each city the business serves, with content that is nearly identical on all of the pages with only the city names swapped out (e.g. “We clean chimneys in Denver” on one page and “We clean chimneys in Boulder” on the next, and “We clean chimneys in Aspen” on the next).
  • Low-quality content – Pages that provide little value to human readers because they lack in-depth information.
  • Lack of authority/trustworthiness – Content produced by sources that are not considered definitive or verified. A Google rep stated that sites aiming to avoid Panda’s impact should work to become recognized as authorities on their topic and entities to which a human user would feel comfortable giving their credit card information.
  • Content farming – Large numbers of low-quality pages, often aggregated from other websites. For example, of a content farm might be a website that employs large numbers of writers at a low wage to create short articles covering a vast variety of search engine queries, producing a body of content that lacks authority and value to readers because its core purpose is simply to gain search engine rankings for every conceivable term.
  • Low-quality user-generated content (UGC) –  An example of this type of low-value User Generated Content would be a blog that publishes guest blog posts that are short, full of spelling and grammatical errors and lacking in authoritative information.
  • High ad-to-content ratio – Pages made up mostly of paid advertising rather than original content.
  • Low-quality content surrounding affiliate links – Poor content around links pointing to paid affiliate programs.
  • Websites blocked by users – Sites that human users are either blocking directly in the search engine results or by using a Chrome browser extension to do so, indicating low quality.
  • Content mismatching search query Pages that “promise” to deliver relevant answers if clicked on in the search results, but then fail to do so. For example, a website page might be titled “Coupons for Whole Foods,” but when clicked on, there might be no coupons or there might just be a page of ads, leading to disappointment.


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