As we’re sure you’ve heard if you keep half an eye on any digital marketing journals or websites, Google have integrated Panda into its core algorithm. This means that it’s a fundamental part of the ranking system, and isn’t necessarily a ‘bolt-on’ like we’ve seen in previous years from Penguin or Hummingbird. In this blog post, we’ll look at what we can learn from this step, as well as any information on whether what we do is looking like it’s set to change.
Google is paying more attention to content than ever before
Quality signals that a site sends to Google are more important now than they ever have been. As Chris Lake points out in his article regarding search engine guidelines on Search Engine Watch, ‘We’ve known for some time that Google uses humans to complement its search algorithm, to help it sense check the quality of its rankings,’ and there has been for some time a sense that the human element of any website is its most important factor.
A statement from 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 a site, which you can read more about in our guidelines. Panda allows Google to take quality into account and adjust ranking accordingly.’
A shift from quantity to quality
This is no news as such, as we’ve been talking about this for years within digital marketing, but having developed Panda to be within Google’s core algorithm emphasises the fact that webmasters needs to be more focussed not on how many visitors their site had on a certain day, but instead how many of those visitors they helped.
It’s clear that if you have been affected by Panda, either now or in the past, your website can still rank, however the usefulness of your search terms may be diminished. You may see that queries that were returning good content to users and were useful to you as a business in the past are no longer relevant. ‘Visibility will be reduced for queries where the site owner’s benefit is disproportionate to the user’s benefit.’
Learn to start afresh, rather than fix
One key message from Google here is that if you have been affected by Panda, it’s important to not go deleting swathes of pages you have a hunch about whether they might have been penalised or not.
Current fluctuations in rankings seen across the board, and across the world, point to a distinct shift in Google’s activity, but they have made it clear that it’s better to start with a fresh pair of eyes and create new pages that don’t fall into those that may be affected by Panda updates. ‘Create pages that provide unique value for your users who would trust your site in the future when they see it in the results.’
Visibility vs. Traffic
Over the past few days, people have been discussing the actual impact of the update on their sites, and it has become clear that althouh visibility has been affected, the impact on actual traffic figures may not be as clear cut or as major as it seems. In the future, we will see no sign of Google Panda or its updates – it has simply been subsumed into the overall algorithm and it will be harder to differentiate which ‘animal,’ if any, your site has been affected by.
For more information of Google Panda, the latest update, or to get some advice if you think your website or business has been affected, contact Hooked on Media today and speak to one of our digital marketing experts.