Wow! The first month of 2016 is coming to a close and it’s already shaken up the world of the web with Google throwing algorithm updates at us from all angles. So what exactly do these updates mean? Let’s break it down.

Core update

Many webmasters have reported a change in rankings over the last few weeks, and have been debating over whether this was the much anticipated Penguin update, due early this year, or Panda. Google confirmed on Twitter with the guys over at Search Engine Land that it was nothing to do with any animals, but was a core algorithm change.

However, Google have also confirmed that Panda is now a part of their core algorithm, meaning that further confusion rippled through SEOs – is Panda updating in real time? Was this a Panda update? But they said it wasn’t?


We know, confusing.

Google obviously saw the Twittersphere explode with questions and took action accordingly. Gary Illyes from Google updated us all, saying that Panda is not running in real time, but has become a core part of checking rankings overall. PHEW!

So let’s bring it all the way back to basics – what exactly is the difference between Penguin and Panda and why are they effecting your website?

Panda algorithm

In a nutshell, Panda is one of Google’s filters which downranks pages that are of low quality. This means that sites that are considered to be of higher quality and have more valuable content on site will rise in position in the search results.

Simply put by Google, “Panda is an algorithm that’s applied to sites overall and has become one of our core ranking signals. It measures the quality of the site, which you can read more about in our guidelines. Panda allows Google to take quality into account and adjust ranking accordingly.”


So, what exactly determines a high quality article, page or website? Google won’t give the game away entirely, but they have given us some examples of questions they have considered whilst creating this algorithm. The full list can be found here, but for now, here are a few to make you think about your own site.

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Is the site a recognised authority on this topic?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information on this site?

Penguin algorithm

Google have announced that there will be a Penguin update soon, very soon. So now is the time to get a good ol’ backlink analysis underway. Penguin is a bit different to Panda, in that it doesn’t even look at content, but looks at spammy backlink profiles circa SEO strategies 2010.

So what does this mean? The Penguin update will look into unnatural links that lead back to your site. This could be anything from sitewide sidebar links (old hat, but trust us, people still use this technique!) to exact anchor text to directories. If Google finds you and your site guilty of such tactics, you may experience a drop in search rankings.

Not sure how to check? Get in touch here.

So what else is new with us?

It’s not all keeping up with Google algorithm updates with us here at HookedOnMedia, we’ve been busy reaching out to new clients, chatting with our Google partners and expanding our social media presence.

If you don’t already follow us on Twitter and Facebook, you can do so here and here and we’ve also just entered the world of Instagram, where you can find us snapping away at the beautiful Cornish countryside and adventures in HOM HQ.

We’re signing off now until next month, so here’s a picture of Andrew soaking in some well needed vitamin D in the office.