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Google’s Panda Strikes Again

Google Panda Update

Google has unleashed Panda 4.0, placing websites lacking strong, original content at a disadvantage. If your rankings tanked last week, it’s probably not a coincidence. But please don’t shoot the messenger! We want to address Panda for you because we are aware that we have some readers who somewhat understand it, but would like to delve a little deeper. At an easy pace. While getting bonus points for doing the right thing!

You buy groceries, we make analogies out of them.

The best way we can describe this is in terms of a grocer. If you buy a gallon of ice cream from your grocer and find it to be rotten once you get it home, do you blame the manufacturer or the grocer? It’s easiest to track down the grocer and get your money back than to hunt down the manufacturer, yes? The problem is, the ice cream may have been stale before it shipped to the store or it could have spoiled while sitting on the shelf, but either way, your grocer looks bad. In order to avoid this, grocery store buyers must be selective of their purchases, examining each brand’s quality to ensure they are passing along a good product to their customers. Google has a similar dilemma – if their searchers (i.e. shoppers) uncover results that are irrelevant, frowned upon, or otherwise unrelated to their search queries, then they have now had a poor user experience and that reflects poorly upon Google.

What is Google Panda?

Panda, originally released in 2011 by Google, is an algorithm update designed to weed out lower quality websites. Panda essentially hunts for poor or copied content and and rids it from users’ search results. The algorithm is updated regularly (typically monthly), mostly with minor refinements but in some cases, the changes are large enough to make industry headlines. A common misconception is that SEO is contraindicated (by Google and the other major search engines) when this is simply not the case. Google is an open book and regularly spells out the steps to visibility along with the what-not-to-do’s. While black hat SEO has never been acceptable, white hat SEO techniques have evolved over time. Many techniques that were once okay are frowned upon today. This is what makes SEO so complex and difficult to keep up with. However, it’s definitely not impossible and definitely not frowned upon when done correctly. The bottom line is that if you are writing your web content to trick search engines by employing black hat techniques (such as keyword stuffing) or engaging in any form of unethical web behavior, your site risks permanent excommunication from search-engine-land. Let's not even think about what the punishment would be from your customers! 

Your pot of gold; my ice cream.

Rarely do I get philosophical on this blog but watch out, there’s a first for everything! If I had to choose only one rule in life, it would be the Golden Rule. The way I see it, if this rule is followed, we don’t really need any others, right? The Golden Rule can be just as easily applied in business; your website should answer your users’ questions (honestly and precisely), be easily navigable, and it should be YOURS. Be original and be who you say you are. If you’re not, eventually your customers and visitors will take notice. And you can count on Google noticing, too. Instead, let them notice you for all that you have to offer and the positive things you bring to the table.

While we have made some of these points before, I figure a little repetition doesn’t hurt. For some, the temptation to use black hat techniques to make page one of Google is nearly as strong as the temptation to eat my favorite ice cream (Talenti Gelato German Chocolate Cake, I heart you 4ever) right now, but it will eventually catch up to you. Besides, the right way is no secret; Google regularly posts tips and techniques throughout their publishings for all to enjoy!