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Google Panda Updates: Version 24

Despite strongly denying significant reports of an imminent update, Google has ploughed ahead with another Panda update. Version 24 was uploaded yesterday, 22nd January, and was confirmed by Google when they tweeted,

“New Panda data refresh rolling out today: 1.2% of English queries affected. Background goo.gl/8Zqy1

Version 23 saw 1.3% of English queries affected 21st December 2012, and the previous update before this was in November 2012. It seems as though Google are pushing out Panda updates every four weeks or so now. Google’s response? Continue to develop high-quality sites and content rather than trying to crack the code of algorithm. Some sites are still trying to keep up with the algorithm, but if the updates are as often as every month, you will only suffer in the long term. Whilst Google Panda is one of the most well-known and high-spec uploads affecting search engine rankings, it is on average just 1 in 500 improvements rolled out each year.

So it seems to be in with standing a chance against the constant improvements of Panda, the main adjustments will need to come from your site. The need to create and maintain high-quality sites and content will help boost your site in the search engine rankings and push low and poor quality listings, further down the pages. Google has previously said that it thinks more sites should concentrate more on developing the best possible user and customer experience, rather than just having a site for having a site’s purpose.

Whilst Google claim that the Panda updates are to help sites in SEO terms, it has affected a large amount of sites across the globe. More and more people are being hit hard by the updates and are now having to fill in more and more DMCA reports. This is when other sites in the same / similar field simply copying the information you have spent the time and energy and in a lot of cases, money, into writing and SEO proofing your pages, and pasting it onto their own.

It seems a shame that these sites are being pulled for plagiarism, as this certainly wouldn’t stand at university or even school level. So what makes the internet any different? Once thing is for sure, we will never get to the bottom of that question, but for the meantime it looks as though we will have to continue to pour resources into the highest quality web design, copywriters and data analysts to keep an eye on the future affects of Google Panda.

Google Penguin

Last month Google released a new webspam algorithm called Penguin that has the World Wide Web in a bit of a tizzy. Designed to help stop websites that violate its quality guidelines, Penguin has made many previously high-ranking websites disappear from search engine results. If your site has been affected by the Penguin update there are some steps you can take to get your site back up and running.

Penguin is an automated algorithm, there are no humans involved in its decision making once it was turned on, and because of this Google are apparently not planning on making any manual exceptions. If your site has been hit with Penguin the best thing you can do is review your content to ensure it meets Google’s guidelines. Check your messages at Google Webmaster Central, if they’ve contacted you about spam before then their emails will flag the issues you need to correct. You can also leave feedback through Google’s Webmaster forum if you feel you’ve been incorrectly affected. Remember, Google introduced this algorithm to help searchers find the best websites for their criteria, their priority is the searchers, so if you leave additional comments be sure to explain how your site provides unique and relevant content for searchers (and then make sure it actually does) rather than talk about how much business you’ve lost.

If you’re not sure if Penguin has affected your site, take a look at your traffic logs. Penguin went live on April 24th, so if you saw a drop in traffic after that then it’s likely you’ve been hit. If you’ve seen a rise, congratulations, you’ve benefitted. And if there was no change then Penguin had no real impact on you.

The algorithm is looking for websites that have a disproportionately large number of links in its content, in other words, link over-optimised sites. Make sure the links you use are from websites or domains in the same niche, not all of them need to be but there do need to be links relevant to your subject matter included in the mix. In essence, Google is looking for websites that offer relevant and useful information to its users, and is devaluing anchor text links while replacing it with niche relevant links as a means to guarantee quality. Ensuring your website meets those criteria will help keep it’s rank in their search results and minimise any affect Penguin may have on your business.