Google's Panda update and what does it mean for SEO?

Added 12.05.11

Hitting the top of Google's search engine listings is the main aim of most SEO strategies, so what happens when Google alters the algorithms it uses to determine the search ranking of websites? SEO strategies must be changed and adapted. Google often changes its search ranking algorithms, sometimes with little repercussion on SEO techniques, and sometimes with a great deal of impact on the ranking of a website. The latest Google algorithm update has been nicknamed the 'Panda Update' and it has tended to have more of the latter effect on SEO strategy, throwing the online world into a frenzy of new approaches to generating web traffic.

What is Google's Panda Update?

Google's Panda Update was introduced in an effort to justifiably reduce the search result rankings of poor quality websites, such as those that duplicate content and/or provide low quality information. In contrast, the Panda Update would boost the rankings of those sites judged to be of a high quality, such as those that provide original, authoritative content and thoughtful analysis. Google claims that the Panda algorithm aims to improve the quality of search results while pushing spam sites to the bottom of the list.

Although Google's algorithms are changed relatively often and in a variety of different ways during the average year, most of the effects on the the search engine ranking of individual websites are gradual, rather than immediately damaging to SEO strategies. However, due to the specific functionalities of the Panda Update, some high-quality sites have become immediate, unwitting victims of Google's crackdown, along with the poor quality sites that are using spam-style SEO tactics.

What Does Panda Mean for SEO?

So know we know what the Panda Update is, it's time to consider the ways in which you can make sure that your website is not a victim of the algorithm. To keep the Google Panda pleased, introduce the following policies to your SEO activities:

Focus on quality backlinks: Track the back links to your site and rack the links to your site and ask the owners of any low-quality sites to remove their links to your website as they could do more damage than good to the ranking of your page. At the same time, concentrate on cultivating links to your site from high quality web pages in your industry and apply for your website to be listed in relevant online directories under key search terms.

Create quality content regularly: Google still loves quality content and always will, so updating the content on your web page and continuing or creating a blog will be a great way of avoiding a Panda attack. Fresh, informative and authoritative content that is updated regularly should keep your search engine ranking very healthy.

Exploit the benefits of Social Media: Social Media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook provide terrific forums for targeting specific customer-base demographics and giving your company or product a presence on such sites will always be a top strategy for search engine optimisation, regardless of any algorithm edits Google may choose to make.