Unconfirmed by Google, but it’s been said that over the weekend 15th March – 18th March Google carried out another major Panda update, if this is true it will make it number 25. I think it’s important to remember that Google launches over 500 algorithmic changes each year, so there are always small changes rolling out that we are not told about.
However it was confirmed by Matt Cutts at the SMX West conference that there will be updates for both Panda and Penguin during this year.
Do you need to know who and what I’m talking about?
Who is Matt Cutts?
Matt Cutts is the head of Google’s Webspam team. He has seen it all, when it comes to trying to bend, break or twist the search engine rules. His job is to basically clean up the listings on Google getting rid of poor quality, spam like websites so when someone searches in Google for “SEO Company Daventry” only the quality websites are listed. See if you can see mine!
Whats Panda and Penguin?
These are major updates that affect search results in significant ways and knowing the dates of these Google updates can help explain changes in rankings and organic website traffic. As already mentioned there have been 24 confirmed Panda updates the first was the 24th February 2011 and the last official one was 22nd January 2013.
All Google asks is for website owners to create high quality content that will benefit the reader and play by the rules.
The difference between Panda and Penguin
- Panda is about content
- Penguin is about spamming
So what will this mean for websites?
Going forward it is said that Google is going to be using real-time algorithms rather than making major changes on one chosen day.
Softly softly: Because the updates will be happenings in real-time, they are going to be less obvious. Instead of seeing a huge change in your website rankings in one day, you might see very minor changes over a period of time. This means that SEO companys (Website Chick) are going to need to pay special attention to the small changes in rankings and other analytics.
Speedy recovery: Google’s idea is to highlight issues to you a bit at a time so you then have less things to fix in one go and therefore you will also be able to fix them a lot faster. This will make recovery easier and much faster. Historically when Google has hits us with a big update, it takes weeks to fix and your site isn’t ranking during that time. With the continuous updates you should be able to fix the problems as they arise.
So what does this mean for my website and my clients?
I don’t worry too much about the Google updates as my website and my clients websites play by the rules following the best practice guidelines. If you play by the rules then Google should leave you alone!
Some reasons websites are hit:
- Low content on website pages
- Empty pages
- Duplicate content
- Duplicate pages for targeted keywords
- High ratio of ads above the fold
- Buying links
All of the above are seen as bad practice to Google and if you are guilty of the above they will find your website. If not now later and to recover from this may be a very difficult job. My advice is to play by the rules and no one gets hurt!