What is the Google "Panda", or "Farmer" update?
|Google algorithm changes|
Google has recently faced increased criticism over the quality of its SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) – and this update is a clear step in combatting this.
Google wants to improve the quality of its search results – to give you better and more relevant results.
“Content Farms” are considered the main target of this update. These are sites full of low quality content – but are often successful in search results because they are optimised for specific keywords. What makes it worse, is that the more people who click through to the sites from Search Engine Results, the more traffic they get – even though their content is often not of a minimum standard.
Other sites may produce little original content – maybe from fully authorised RSS feeds – but often with articles that have simply been copied from elsewhere.
What was the overall effect?
Firstly, it’s important to remember – Panda currently only effects US results. However, it is likely to be rolled-out in the UK soon.
So far, Panda has had a significant effect – some sites have seen their traffic drop by over 40% overnight – and, according to Googles official statistics, the update has had an impact on up to 12% of search queries.
A range of sources (including German SEO solutions provider SISTRIX) are reporting that the sites the most negatively impacted by Google’s update are so far: wisegeek.com, ezinearticles.com, suite101.com, hubpages.com, buzzle.com…. All recognizable names in the SEO world – including article submission sites used to boost back-links to sites.
Right now, it’s still early days- but given how hard some of the most well-known content farms have been hit, any further impact seems likely to be in the same direction.
Could this have an impact on my website?
There is no guarantee your rankings won’t be affected – especially when this update is rolled-out in the UK.
However, if your small business website has quality, original content, without excessive advertising, you should not be adversely affected. Primarily, it is content farms (with high quantities of very low quality content) that have plummeted in the results by this update.
General Good Practices for Websites
To ensure your site isn't targeted, follow this simple advice for your content creation:
• Ensure your metadata is appropriate – and not stuffed with keywords
• Get backlinks as naturally as you can by creating great quality content (other people will be wanting to link to you!)
• Consider Page Ranks when exchanging links with other websites
• Ensure your content is first optimised for humans, and then Search Engines!
• Create unique content – that can’t be found elsewhere