What you need to know about Google Panda and Penguin

The latest update to Google Panda took action on September 18, 2012. Since being implemented in April of 2012, Google Panda has changed the way…
  • Caitlin Mekita
  • Customer Success Manager
  • January 10, 2013 Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The latest update to Google Panda took action on September 18, 2012. Since being implemented in April of 2012, Google Panda has changed the way that the world’s most popular search engine finds and ranks its websites.

Search engine ranking is extremely competitive. Every one of your competitors is trying to rank higher than you. There are countless tools, strategies,  myths and realities when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. In reality, Google does not care about any of these.

Google cares about bringing the best websites to online researchers. It cares about being the most trusted name in Search Engines and it cares about getting the best information directly to the people who are looking for it. Think about it – most of us use Google on a daily basis. Would you rather see your search lead to websites that are informative, dependable, well written and thorough? Or would  you prefer a website by the people who paid tens of thousands of dollars for a group of SEO experts to control the content on their site? When it comes to getting the best information, you don’t really care about who has the best SEO “tricks” and Google doesn’t either.

What is Google Panda and how is it effecting your rankings?

Panda is a change implemented in Google’s search algorithm. Picture Google as a great command center that sends billions of tiny robots throughout the web every time you make a search query. Google’s amazing little robots come back with the best information for you, and they do this with Google’s top secret algorithm.According to Google, the update is designed to improve rankings by weeding out weak websites that have poor content or that haven’t been taken care of properly. If your site is current, thorough, and informative, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about, but there are a few things you should consider:

Be an expert

In order to form its new algorithm, Google asked real people to rank sites based on reliability, information, and overall experience. Then it figured out what the best sites had in common and is using these attributes to rank those great sites higher. The best sites get the best rankings, makes sense doesn’t it?

Be a Content Stickler

Be careful about spelling, factuality, and content. Google advises strongly against copying content from another site or repeating the same general information over and over. Varying information provides a broader wealth of information.

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The New Sheriff in town: Google Penguin

This update was implemented by Google to keep track websites that break the rules and make sure they aren’t rewarded for their sketchy SEO ethics. In this competitive industry, players are always looking for the newest way to cheat the system, but this is a bad way to go about designing your SEO plan. In order to avoid penalties, be sure to steer clear of old-school methods that try and trick search engines. Google has smartened up to the cheap tricks some SEO experts were using. A couple of common cheats are:

Keyword Stuffing

Packing keywords into content or tags that are redundant or don’t necessarily belong there. Make sure your content is varied and you aren’t writing the same post with the same words and categories over and over just to try and lure in visitors.

Meta-Tag stuffing

Packing or repeating keywords in meta-tags. Meta Tags are implemented in code to tell search engines what your site is all about. They don’t appear on the actual page, so it might be tempting to try and cram as many keywords into them as possible. Don’t. Learn how to word your meta-tags properly. Make sure you mention the name of your site and be descriptive while using keywords once or twice. But over-doing it is only going to hurt you. This tactic is old and not common anymore so if you own an old site make sure that your meta tags play by the rules.

Hidden or invisible text

Putting a bunch of keyword-rich paragraphs in white text on a white background is not as clever as it seems. In fact this is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Don’t be sneaky and try pushing this text off to the side or behind anything either. Google wants to analyze only the information visitors are going to get when they come to your site. They have ways of knowing if you are hiding keywords where visitors can’t see them.

Doorway Pages

Designed to “spamdex” by pointing to a different page than the visitor was originally searching for. BMW Germany got removed from the index for this practice a few years ago. For a company who probably spends hundreds of thousands on SEO, they should know better!

If you are the proud owner of an informative, helpful, and expertly-written website, then have no fear! Google Panda with Penguin update was designed to help your site reach the people who are looking for you!

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