For some unfamiliar with real search engine optimization (SEO) and how it works, Panda and Penguin are two feared and misunderstood words. And every time Google changes its algorithms and makes a Panda or Penguin update, some people anticipate it with panic and anxiety.
But what’s the real score on this?
The thing is both Panda and Penguin may be considered as Google’s “cleansing tools”. In a way, they help the search engine get rid of unnecessary content and help raise the quality of content in websites including articles submitted in other online sites.
Since 2011, Panda had made nearly 26 updates, beginning with Panda 1.0, also known as Farmer Update, up to the recent one in January 22, the Panda 24, which affected nearly 1.2 percent of most English queries.
Panda updates are basically designed to target pages with low quality content, although they are not necessarily spam. In the first Panda update, websites with so called ‘thin content’ suffered and were hit the hardest. The real targets of the first Panda update were content farms or sites which publish inferior and keyword-stuffed articles with no real value for readers. Most of these articles were submitted just to get links. It was also intended to discourage sites who re-publish other content and prevent outranking the original article. As a result, a site which has been flagged for having thin content will surely be affected by Panda updates.
Penguin, on the other hand, is an algorithm change aimed at webspam and penalizes sites for using tactics like keyword stuffing and using irrelevant outgoing links, among others.
Some SEO professionals attributed some factors that may result in being flagged by Penguin and these include the following:
• Overusing exact-match domains
• Low-quality articles marketing
• Blog spam
• Aggressive exact match anchor text
• Keyword stuffing in internal/ outbound links
What’s the importance?
Some people get discouraged when they get confronted by the danger of being penalized and losing everything they have worked and this happens every time Google implements Panda and Penguin updates.
However this does not mean that search engine marketers should stop and surrender the fates of the websites to Panda and Penguin. What these updates really did was to give website owners a fair chance to compete in the highly-competitive internet market. This was made possible by eliminating websites that ranked through artificial means by manipulating technology to their advantage and providing people with correct information in the search engine results.
This makes the tasks of search engine optimization more challenging. As both Panda and Penguin have helped eliminate unfair competition, search engines can now give more weight on one’s social ranking through earned links and organic SEO efforts, which are the true measures of search page standing.
In short, the updates have made it possible for users to know which sites are truly ranking which reflect the real position of the sites in search engine results based on its performance and not on technical manipulation. This means SEO will always evolve and adapt to the ever-changing algorithms of the search engines.
Mandy S. is an SEO writer and blogger. He contributes articles to various online sites and publications on diverse topics related to online marketing, technology, government, and legal issues.