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Google Pandamonium

Google's algorithm was updated again last weekend and it caused the usual chaos amongst the SEO community with the exception, it would appear, of us - Panda 25 really doesn't bother us.

Panda Causes Pandamonium

We've taken to calling it Pandamonium - by which we mean "it" being the chaos and general headlessness which routinely accompanies news of the latest update to Google's algorithm. Quite frankly, it's getting about as interesting as a panda's bamboo-only diet. The Americans are great at giving things names; they originally dubbed the effect caused by the regular shuffle amongst the SEO community as the "Googledance" and Google themselves, by giving their algorithm updates cuddly names such as penguin and panda, have cleverly been able to productise a software update and give people something to obsess over.

Panda 25

Google have now updated their algorithm once again (not that we care) and towards the back-end of last week the SEO community began buzzing with comment and opinion: "Was an update afoot?"; "Had the update taken place?"; "What was the intention behind the change?"; "Which websites have been effected by the change?" and so on. People who know next to nothing about SEO were mindlessly retweeting and propelling fear and concern towards unsuspecting website owners. Please, everybody, just get over it.

Yes. Google Regularly Updates Its Algorithms.

Google updates its algorithms to keep its search results fresh and to weed-out low quality websites from its index. Once you accept that Google has every right to change its algorithms and that, by so doing, its delivering even better search results then you, like us here at Sub@omic, will not bat an eyelid when updates are made simply because updates reward good websites, like ours, which are designed and developed inline with best practice. Anyone that feels penalised by Google's algorithm updates must, therefore, be in possession of a website that's using dubious tactics to achieve a Google rank.

We don't really care about Google algorithm updates; we don't warn our clients that a panda or a penguin is on its way - we accept that algorithm updates are going to roll-out and that Google's overriding intention is to reward those who have put the time and effort into building quality websites. There's talk over the wire about panda updates now becoming less manual and more integral to the day-to-day running of Google and, as a business, we very much welcome this in the hope that the mindless chatter will now soon die down.

It's very well documented that Google will analyse well over 200 factors when calculating the rank of a webpage. So if you're the owner/operator of a website that relies upon just one SEO technique to achieve a rank then of course you're going to see your website's rank drop when even the smallest change is made to a search engine's algorithm.

The key is not to rely on one SEO technique that you've heard a bloke down the pub mention but to spread the risk and employ a variety of SEO techniques in order to get your website seen on Google. Great websites don't try too hard, they simply deliver great content written primarily for the Customer and not the search engines because, after all, it's not the search engine that will buy from you.

Today we received news that Panda has now been included as part of Google's core algorithm. So what is Panda? Gary Illyes a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google confirmed that: Panda is an algorithm that's applied to sites overall and has become one of our core ranking signals. It measures the quality of a site, which you can read more about in our guidelines. Panda allows Google to take quality into account and adjust ranking accordingly.

Panda was first released in 2011 and has been continually revised ever since - I wrote this original post back in 2013 at, what felt like, the peak of Google Pandamonium. With official confirmation that Panda is now part of the core Google algorithm it's safe to say that the Panda algorithm has completed its probationary period and is now less subject to change. Does this mean that Panda will never be updated again? Of course not.

What is significant about Panda is that the Panda algorithm has been written specifically to omit 'poor quality' websites from Google's index. If, today, you've witnessed a drop in your website's rank then it's time to listen to what Google's telling you: "Your website and its content is poor."

The days of thinking you can use a couple of sneaky tricks to engineer a rank are long-gone, ancient history. If the way to a Panda's heart is through its stomach, then the way back into Google's good books is through excellent content, high quality HTML, positive web signals and exemplary brand values.
Steve Whiting, Sub@omic Ltd avatarSteve Whiting, Sub@omic Ltd30th November 1999Author of 'The Art of Search' - the SEO strategy book 2,500 years in the making.
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