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Google Panda Updates Keep Coming

John Fairley

On February 24th, 2011, Google's search engine algorithm was updated with the goal of improving the quality of their search results. This update was has been given a nickname. It has become to be known as the "Panda" update.

Even though Panda impacted the results of a large number (12%) of all search queries, Panda is just one of several recent algorithm updates that may be impacting your website in Google's search results. Marketers should be aware of all these updates to help them determine what strategies to employ.

Google representatives have stated shortly after the 24th of February, that "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." To accomplish this, Google has rolled out at least 5 major changes since the beginning of the year.

  • Scraper/Spam algorithm change (No official name) - Jan 28th, 2011 [impactiing 2% of all queries]
  • Chrome browser plug-in for website blocking - Feb 15th, 2011
  • Panda Release -  Feb 24th 2011 (Note: U.S. English Only) [12% of all queries]
  • Panda Tweak 1 (Unofficial name) - March, 10th 2011 (some sites bounced back)
  • Panda Tweak 2 (Unofficial name) - April, 11th 2011 (Rolled out to Worldwide English Google; Also impacts smaller website)

Each release has it's own algorithm and impacts search results differently. The website browser plugin, and subsequent Google search feature updates, that allow users to block websites from the own personal results, have been used to validate algorithms and most likely future search results.

Given the current state of things, I would expect more Panda tweaks to roll out in the coming weeks/days. Search marketers should keep their eye out for changes as they evaluate options and implement changes in the coming weeks.