All about Google’s Panda SEO Update

Google Panda update was introduced in Feb 2011 as a measure to remove or penalize thin or poor content. It was mainly designed as a part of Google’s quest to eliminate black hat SEO tactics and webspam. The principal objective of this update’s filter was particularly aimed at stopping the poor and irrelevant content which has anyhow managed to rank high on certain queries and keywords despite having little or weak content, to offer to its readers.

From 2011 to 2015 Google updated its filter periodically which resulted in new sites being penalized. It was published by Google as an algorithm update, which later came to be known as the Panda Update. Panda update, along with the Penguin update is one of the most important Google updates as its effect on the ranking of the websites was dramatic.

At that time users complain about the burgeoning influence of the ‘content farms’ which arouses the need for launching the Panda Update. It came up as a quality classification factor, which helped in measuring the quality of the site in determining its ranking on the SERP. Now, in 2021, it is extremely vital for Google to focus on quality and user experience.

This algorithm primarily worked as a quality filter for the websites. Many sites immediately experienced a huge Google Panda penalty and were drastically hit hard in their rankings. The update produced major damage to companies such as Demand Media, which had built their entire business model on content farms.

Panda update graphically referenced as a bear image in the SEO world is named after its relevant developer’s last name, Navneet Panda.

Features of Panda Update

Google in its blog post expressed the purpose of the update as follows:
“This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites – sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites – sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis, and so on.”

The Panda update was profoundly concentrated on site content and worked fundamentally on filtering out the low-quality websites and devalued them in order to improve the search results.
The consequence of this devaluation was that the affected websites suffered in the SERP and in turn SEO visibility.

Removes Duplicate Content: Google Panda is penalizing all those sites that are indulging in providing duplicate content to the users and in turn, helps in taking the ranking up of those websites that are working hard in providing high-quality content.
John Mueller has clarified that duplicate content is independent of Panda. Google employees have stressed that Panda encourages unique content, but this goes deeper than avoiding duplication. In 2021, Google’s John Mueller explained that duplicate content is not a negative ranking factor.

Effective Time Utilizing: Through this Panda update, Google is proving timely content to the users, which means serving the right kind of information at the right time to solve the users’ queries in time.

Enhancing the Internet Browsing Experience: By proving the quality content on top searches of the SERP by filtering out the unwanted and unnecessary content, users are benefitted from easy access to relevant high-quality content.

Targeting Content Farming: A content farm is a website that produces a large amount of low-quality articles on many different topics, then uses keywords so that they are placed highly on Google or other search engine results.

Reward Good SEO: Google Panda algorithm helps in eliminating the Black Hat practices of SEO, hence hitting hard on those websites.

Panda Updates Timeline

For the starting first two years, Google rolled out its Panda update once a month. There were massive effects of SEOs in the first few weeks of the introduction of the Panda update. Content farms and websites with inferior content were affected a lot.
Panda was running externally from Google’s core algorithm which only affected on or near the date of new Panda updates.

This continued until June 11, 2013, when Cutts said at SMX Advanced that, while Panda was not incorporated directly into Google’s core algorithm, its data was updated monthly and rolled out slowly over the course of the month, ending the abrupt industry-wide
impacts associated with Panda updates. In March 2013, Google stated that the future updates would be integrated into the algorithm and would therefore be less noticeable and continuous.

A data refresh took place in 2012 but later in 2017 Google announced a Panda refresh that would take months to roll out. Due to the slow nature of the rollout, it’s unclear how substantial the impact was or precisely when it occurred. It was the final confirmed Panda update

Panda Today 2021

Panda is now embedded as a part of Google’s core algorithm, which is no longer be seen as separate panda updates

The name Panda may not be appearing today, but its principles are still relevant today.