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How Google's Panda Update Works (and why your sites took a dive and won't come back up!)

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by Taktical, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. Taktical

    Taktical Elite Member

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    We've all noticed the Panda 2.2 update from Google. And a lot of us have experienced some nasty drops in SERPs. Possibly you have experienced it from Panda 1.0 and still haven't come back.

    If you are going to be able to work in the post-Panda environment, its going to help you to understand how Panda works, and why some sites get hit.

    Google's Algorithm 101
    So as any experienced marketers know, the Google algorithm is really a mathematical calculation that takes into account dozens, if not hundreds of factors from every site. Things like domain name, domain age, keyword density, link structure all have their respective effects on where Google places a site on its rankings.

    We also know that Google is constantly changing this algorithm, mostly in minor, unnoticeable ways. The equivalent of adding "a pinch of salt" to a pot roast.

    When Google makes major changes, we call them "updates". Be they the Panda, Mayday, or Florida update.


    Different Types of Updates
    Not all updates are algorithmic.
    For example, years ago Google used to do an "index update" every month or so, when it would suddenly dump millions of new pages it had found into its existing collection.

    Read Matt Cutts on this topic.

    This influx of new content caused ranking changes that could take days to settle down, hence the nickname of the "Google Dance." But the changes were caused by the algorithm sorting through all the new content, not because the algorithm itself had changed.

    Algorithm updates definitely have the power to totally alter rankings, and have done so in the past. But despite popular opinion, Panda is not an algorithm update! Instead, Panda is more like a new level of data feeding into the existing algorithm that evaluates "thin content". This is why we are repeatedly seeing new people getting nailed...


    So WTF Happened?
    Essentially Panda works a lot like PageRank in its early days. For those of you who aren't familiar, PageRank is one factor that Google uses to measure your site. Based on backlink analysis, the PageRank system will assign your site an "authority score". Because the analysis of backlink authority was so labor intensive, and since backlink structures don't change so often, the PageRank updates only would happen every few weeks or so. (Although I believe that now they are almost constant but just the reporting is delayed).

    When Google adds a new level to it's algorithm, the changes may happen immediately if Google already has the necessary data in its index to make the changes. If not, you may notice rankings changes weeks or even months after Google collects the new data in its index.

    Panda is just that. Google uses Panda the same way it used to fix "Google Bombs". Every few weeks, Google will "flip the switch", run the analysis software, and suddenly alter the rankings. This is why we're seeing what seems to be new versions of Panda that is attacking more and more people.

    The Panda filter isn't running all the time. Right now, it's too much computing power to be running this particular analysis of pages. (Source: Matt Cutts).

    • Panda Update 1.0: Feb. 24, 2011
    • Panda Update 2.0: April 11, 2011 (about 7 weeks later)
    • Panda Update 2.1: May 10, 2011 (about 4 weeks later)
    • Panda Update 2.2: June 16, 2011 (about 5 weeks later)

    So what does this mean?
    Basically this means that if you were not hit previously, you might be hit now. It also means that if you make appropriate content changes, you may not see improvements for 4-6 weeks when Google runs the Panda application again.

    Over time (like PageRank) Google will develop the ability to constantly monitor content quality.

    For now, make sure you post as high quality content as possible. Avoid keyword stuffing, cloaking, hidden links, trashy spun content, etc.

    If you've been hit, be patient. Make the necessary changes and find other methods of traffic in the meantime.

    MAIN SOURCE:
    http://searchengineland.com/why-google-panda-is-more-a-ranking-factor-than-algorithm-update-82564, June 2011

    SOURCES:

     
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  2. M4GN3T

    M4GN3T Junior Member

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    I got hit pretty badly, sucks like hell =(

    What i did was making my fast way way faster then before. I think page speed has became a very important factor to Google so i got a i7 with 12gb ram running my blogs now.
     
  3. vcjohnny

    vcjohnny Regular Member

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    Hurt to me too.
     
  4. reinie

    reinie Elite Member

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    very useful, thanks for taking the time... a lil off topic... do you have an estimate of when the next pr update will be?
     
  5. Windmill

    Windmill Supreme Member

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    None of my websites have been hit so far. Any idea on when this will be rolled out internationally?
     
  6. IGKing

    IGKing Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    My ranks have improved. Then again, I have 100% unique content with nothing fishy other then some linkbuilding.
     
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  7. redmoon

    redmoon Regular Member

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    I noticed I took a minor hit a few days ago on a couple sites. I didn't even know they did another update. Google is being a bitch about spidering those sites so I guess I have to figure out what the prob is.
     
  8. cash202

    cash202 Elite Member Premium Member

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    You're right mate. The Panda is simply a database clean up script that Google runs
    once in awhile.

    How do I know that? I have an ex-Google friend who didn't work in search but
    in other division but he is intimately familiar with how Google does things. He said
    that infamous Adwords slaps were just automated scripts and index cleanup are
    scripts too. They do not update algorithm or anything. It is too much for them.
    They just run bot that go over their index and clean up crap. After cleaning up
    crap your whole link network changes (and not for the better) so you lose ranking.

    What to do? Do not create crap that can be wiped out. Those who don't create
    crap see their ranking improve.
     
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  9. MagicMike

    MagicMike Power Member

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    Excellent information... very helpful and insightful... +rep given!
     
  10. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    Bring on the Panda, my sites have been going up since the first update!
     
  11. agente808

    agente808 Regular Member

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    @Taktical:
    so, do you think Panda is mostly screening on-page seo factors? (backlinks being affected by their own on-page factors) or is there an actual backlink component to this as well?
     
  12. mccullum

    mccullum Power Member

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    Excellent post, Takttical. you must also add " avoid thin content " in your post. Ratio of thick content to thin content is going to matter a lot from now on. It could be difference between a panda-hit site and a flourishing site.
     
  13. danhoff

    danhoff Power Member

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    I LOVE PANDA !!!! Each time Pada is executed my sites jump up like crazy :)
     
  14. Taktical

    Taktical Elite Member

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    According to the pros, that seems to be the case
     
  15. daisy447

    daisy447 Regular Member

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    That means if you have a backlink from a crappy page and in next update Google wipes out that crappy page from its index, then your backlinks has also devalued or gone thus lowering your rankings.
     
  16. darrensss

    darrensss Power Member

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    Can you explain more about this comment?
    dont really follow this?
     
  17. havingadabble

    havingadabble Regular Member

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    Hence alot of people seeing huge increases in their own rankings (presuming their competitors crappy links have been wiped out). If you're going to link from junk sites make sure you have less junk than your competitors.
     
  18. albaniax

    albaniax Elite Member

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    I also liked this update actually, never liked the way of autoblogs.
    Rather actually GOOD sites with more or less good contet, well at least, unique.
     
  19. Taktical

    Taktical Elite Member

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    Google doesn't remove these links from its index necessarily. It take a lot to get deindexed. Rather, they get devalued
     
  20. Taktical

    Taktical Elite Member

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    What don't you understand? He's asking if its on-page SEO or off-page SEO. You do know the difference, right?