As I have reported on this blog before, Google’s Panda update was not just a one-time phenomenon. In fact, there have been five iterations of the algorithmic changes since the original (and, for some, devastating) update in February of this year. On Friday, towards the end of business and the beginning of a beautiful fall weekend, those in the search engine world noticed that Google had unleashed Panda 2.5; conjecture sets the actual time when the iteration was run at Tuesday or Wednesday of last week.
Matt McGee of Search Engine Land reported on this latest iteration, receiving confirmation from Google that Panda had once again affected search results. He also provides the following list of the past iterations of Panda:
“Panda Update 1.0: Feb. 24, 2011
Panda Update 2.0: April 11, 2011 (about 7 week gap)
Panda Update 2.1: May 10, 2011 (about 4 week gap)
Panda Update 2.2: June 16, 2011 (about 5 week gap)
Panda Update 2.3: July 23, 2011 (about 5 week gap)
Panda Update 2.4: August 12, 2011 (about 3 week gap)
Panda Update 2.5: September 28, 2011 (about 7 week gap)”
7 weeks is the longest time between updates since we were first introduced to Google’s rapacious update; it was a nice gap in time for those concerned for their rankings. Now, reality has seized upon those who were lulled into a false sense of security, as well as upon those who thought they didn’t have anything to worry about.
Recent Victims of Panda
Some of the more surprising sites that, according to Searchmetrics, have lost their visibility for a range of keywords due to the latest iteration of Panda include:
PR Newswire (prnewswire.com)
Business Wire (businesswire.com) (This is despite the fact that this site was granted a patent for SEOing Press Releases.)
MSNBC’s The Today Show (today.com)
Motor Trend (motortend.com)
Consumer Affairs (consumeraffairs.com)
And some of the “winners” include:
YouTube (youtube.com) – affiliated with Google
Perez Hilton (perezhilton.com)
Android (android.com) – affiliated with Google
AOL (aol.com) – affiliated with Google
Fox News (foxnews.com)
Wallstreet Journal (wsj.com)
Now, I’m sure that Google has solid reasons for tanking the above good sites and improving the rankings of its own sites plus some others – and I hope we’ll hear an announcement from them about what exactly those reasons were (in the general sense, of course – though I’m VERY curious about the specifics concerning Business Wire , PR Newswire, and Motor Trend, for starters). However, what Google is definitely facing is a lot of scrutiny – especially in light of Antitrust issues that have arisen. 3 sites with which Google is affiliated (or owns!) were rewarded by the recent algorithmic change, while many that seemingly have followed all the rules have been downgraded.
Tips for Surviving the Wrath of Panda’s Evil Grandchild
This Panda may look innocent, but those are your site’s rankings he’s eating! Make no mistake, his claws are razor sharp and ready to pounce on any site that violates quality guidelines.
Panda 2.5 is likely to cause some damage when it comes to sites that have not yet been hit with Google’s algorithmic changes, as well as to sites that cannot really afford to take another hit from the search engine giant. It can be difficult to keep your head above water when it comes to optimizing your site in a post-Panda (times 5) world, but two important things to remember are:
Focus on Branding. Focusing on the branding of your company across social media platforms and blogs is still incredibly important, if not more so.
Continue to maintain or improve the quality of your content – blogs, videos, articles, etc. Though some news sites were downgraded, high-quality content is still important; after all, the original goal of Panda was to eliminate content farms. Make sure that your content is valuable, contributing something, and isn’t overly stuffed with keywords.
To learn more about SEO, Google, Panda and other updates, or interactive marketing as a whole, please continue to visit our blog for daily posts and tips. For more specific questions related to your business, contact our Atlanta SEO Company at 770-481-1766.