Google Panda

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Google Panda is a change to Google's search results ranking algorithm that was first released in February 2011. The change aimed to lower the rank of "low-quality sites" or "thin sites",[1] in particular "content farms",[2] and return higher-quality sites near the top of the search results.

CNET reported a surge in the rankings of news websites and social networking sites, and a drop in rankings for sites containing large amounts of advertising.[3] This change reportedly affected the rankings of almost 12 percent of all search results.[4] Soon after the Panda rollout, many websites, including Google's webmaster forum, became filled with complaints of scrapers/copyright infringers getting better rankings than sites with original content, at one point, Google publicly asked for data points to help detect scrapers better.[5] In 2016, Matt Cutts, Google's head of webspam at the time of the Panda update, commented that "with Panda, Google took a big enough revenue hit via some partners that Google actually needed to disclose Panda as a material impact on an earnings call, but I believe it was the right decision to launch Panda, both for the long-term trust of our users and for a better ecosystem for publishers."[2]

Google's Panda received several updates after the original rollout in February 2011, and their effect went global in April 2011. To help affected publishers, Google provided an advisory on its blog,[6] thus giving some direction for self-evaluation of a website's quality. Google has provided a list of 23 bullet points on its blog answering the question of "What counts as a high-quality site?" that is supposed to help webmasters "step into Google's mindset".[7]

The name "Panda" comes from Google engineer Navneet Panda, who developed the technology that made it possible for Google to create and implement the algorithm.[8][4]

Ranking factors[edit]

The Google Panda patent (patent 8,682,892), filed on September 28, 2012, was granted on March 25, 2014, the patent states that Google Panda creates a ratio with a site's inbound links and reference queries, search queries for the site's brand. That ratio is then used to create a sitewide modification factor, the sitewide modification factor is then used to create a modification factor for a page based upon a search query. If the page fails to meet a certain threshold, the modification factor is applied and, therefore, the page would rank lower in the search engine results page.[9]

Google Panda affected the ranking of an entire site or a specific section rather than just the individual pages on a site.[10]

Updates[edit]

For the first two years, Google Panda's updates were rolled out about once a month, but Google stated in March 2013 that future updates would be integrated into the algorithm and would therefore be less noticeable and continuous.[11][12]

Google released a "slow rollout" of Panda 4.2 starting on July 18, 2015.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]