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Google Algorithm Penalties:
Google Panda

The Panda update was a revision to the complex algorithms Google uses in order to make its search engine produce the most useful, relevant search results possible for Google users.

What is important to understand about the Google algorithm, and in particular the Panda update, is that in addition to making the search engine return the most significant results possible, it also seeks out and rewards domains that comply with Google Webmaster guidelines while also finding and punishing non-compliant domains; the Google Panda Penalty. This filter impacts any website considered to be "low quality", with thin content or irrelevant content aiming to rank high. This filter is determined to keep poor quality websites from reaching the top of the search engines. In other words, if a website linking to you is low quality, your website may not necessarily be directly affected. However, if you have many low quality sites linking to you that are impacted by the Panda filter, your website will ultimately lose rank as those websites are all penalized.

An important point to grasp about Panda, as well as any other Google algorithm update, is that these revisions to the search algorithm are run at random so your domain is always at risk of being penalized by one of them. In addition, Google also fine-tunes algorithm updates such as Panda with new search criteria, also at random, and then re-runs the updated version through their search engine. You won't know you've been penalized until your website is nowhere to be found when searching for your top keywords.

The impact of Google's algorithm updates cannot not be understated so don't be fooled by the adorable sounding creatures that symbolize these domain purges: Panda, Penguin and (to a lesser extent) Hummingbird. There's nothing adorable about the consequences they'll bring to bear on your website.

The Google Panda Update:
  • First version of the Panda algorithm was released in February 2011. Google's stated purpose for the Panda update was to make search results more relevant by targeting domains with thin content lacking in any real substance or value to the reader.
  • The domains hit particularly hard by Panda were those posting content from "content farms," the use of which, (in the eyes of Google) made their such results less relevant.
  • Google Panda impacted almost 12% of search results
  • Since Google released its Panda 1.0 update in February 2011 there have been 26 updates to Panda, each with varying degrees of impact on search results.