Google Panda Vs. Penguin – How Google Algorithm Updates Affect Your SEO
In this article I’ll explain why SEO for Panda and Penguin is important and give a high-level overview of the updates. Google Panda came out with major SEO changes that were controversial and debated for many months before Google rolled them out officially. Many people had suggested that Google might adopt algorithm changes that were too radical to the SEO community, but Google stuck by its statement and implemented two major Google Algorithm Updates for SEO. These updates significantly changed the landscape of search results for many Search Engine Optimization methods such as on page SEO and off page SEO. There’s a lot to cover in a quick lesson, so I’ll try to sum up the main points below.
Google Panda and Google Penguin were not actually unrelated updates. The main themes in both updates were to reduce spam and encourage quality content. In Google’s view, spam was a problem that had grown exponentially – over the past few years, thousands of websites with little or absolutely no content to the point of being an inconvenience for Google’s users were getting ranked high in the search results. Google wanted to discourage these websites and force them to provide value for visitors. In their view, sites that provided nothing more than duplicate content and link bait pages were not only annoyingly spam to Google’s crawlers, but also a clear sign of low quality. Thus, they were looking to change the face of the search results by making sure that only high quality sites would be indexed.
Google also wanted to reduce the effect of external links on a site’s rankings. External links can of course be extremely valuable for SEO purposes – getting lots of links pointing to your website will get your site noticed by a large number of webmasters and get it indexed in Google’s major search index. In theory, this should increase your rankings. Unfortunately, Google’s update also reduced the effectiveness of linking practices by reducing the importance of quality.
These updates seem to have had the opposite effect on website owners. Instead of benefiting from having a lot of external links, we see websites suffering at the hands of Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithm updates. Penguin and Panda each had a different approach to penalizing websites – Penguin targeted spamdexing and spam pages, while Panda focused on theme-flagging sites that were copied their competitor’s keywords and themes. Google’s latest updates seem to have punished even the most professional and well-designed sites with lower rankings and a worse experience for users. Why are these updates hurting so many websites?
Content is obviously important when it comes to Search Engine Optimization and getting ranked highly. Poor content (if there is any at all) can ruin your chance of getting higher rankings with Google, as can poor optimization of the website (if the website hasn’t been optimized in the past). Panda & Penguin both focused on providing better and more relevant content for users, which should improve a website’s chances of being higher ranked. However, the poor results from Penguin & Panda caused less ranking to be achieved from just the fresh content being submitted by website owners, which was a surprising result from Google’s update. With the updates to Panda & Penguin, Google was suddenly punishing websites for poor optimization instead of just poor content, which makes sense.
So how can you improve your rankings? If you want to avoid getting affected by the latest algorithm changes, you will need to focus on the website’s structure & functionality. This will ensure that Google doesn’t penalize you for a change made by someone in the team. You can start with improving the site’s layout, using a cleaner design for the header, navigation, & graphics. You can also improve the site’s usability, which will boost your ranking by improving the usability of a site and its visitors.