Google’s latest algorithm update has been released, and as usual, everyone in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) community is talking about what it means. The previous update to the Panda algorithm was released in May 2014, and with this latest improvement, Google seems to be continuing in the same direction, helping smaller sites get better search rankings. But before we dive into the details, let’s review:
What Is Panda Again?
The purpose of Google’s Panda algorithm, which was introduced in February 2011, is to help sites with high quality content get better search results. Or, more accurately, Panda penalizes sites with low quality content, especially “content farms” that pack pages with keywords in hopes of gaming the system and getting higher search results even though they don’t contain the information that people are looking for.
Ever since Panda debuted, some websites have felt that they were unfairly penalized, and complaints of sites being “hit by Panda” have proliferated. As Google has continued to improve the Panda algorithm, they’ve worked to reduce this effect, trying to ensure that smaller websites are not hurt by this attempt to emphasize content quality.
The latest version of Panda has improved Google’s ability to discover low quality content, and it affects around 3-5% of search queries. Google has based these updates on feedback from users and webmasters, and the result is that a greater diversity of high-quality small and medium sized sites are ranking higher in search results.
Does This Affect Me?
Since the main purpose of Panda is to ensure that high quality content receives the best results, sites that follow best practices for SEO should only see positive effects from this update. One of the main things that Panda targets is thin and duplicate content, so making sure your content contains relevant, useful information that isn’t duplicated across multiple pages is the best way to make sure you aren’t affected negatively.
In addition to creating quality content, you should practice tried and true SEO tactics like establishing yourself as an authority in your area of expertise and increasing your audience through social media, demonstrating that you can provide relevant content to people who can benefit from your products and/or services. You should also make sure to resolve any technical issues your site might have that might be reducing your search rankings.
The eyes of the SEO community are always on Google as we try to determine what does and doesn’t affect the searches that so many people use to find information online. While keeping up with these changes is important, you shouldn’t have to worry about every little change and how it affects you. If you follow best practices when creating your website’s content, these SEO concerns should be an afterthought, allowing you to focus on providing the information that your audience needs and meeting your business goals.
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