Google has announced that the 2.2 Panda update is now running free in the wilderness, so watch your SEO results to see if you or your clients have been affected. I’d mentioned in an earlier post that Google was getting ready to drop the hammer on content farms and other tactics used to inflate search results, and that’s the main thrust of what this update covers.
It’s not really a full algorithm update but something of a variable that Google has introduced into the mix to help its spider become more intelligent about the kinds of content that is contained in sites. What Panda will do is analyze the data that’s in your site and look for, essentially, low quality pages. If it finds what it believes are too many, then it’ll flag the site. This flagging won’t totally kick you out of Google, like some of their other flags will do, but it will saddle you with a quality score modifier that will hurt you when Google starts to calculate the overall quality score for your site based on search keywords. It’s working to make sure that the best content comes back for consumer searches, so if you have a lot of low value content, you’re going to come up lower than those websites that don’t.
If you’ve been following Google’s best practices, then chances are you’re fine. If you’ve been adding content to your site that doesn’t openly relate to you in an effort to affect specific keyword ranking and generate traffic, then you’re probably going to be part of the shakeup.
Over the next days to weeks, expect to see much wailing and gnashing of teeth as sites and SEO companies work to deal with the fallout of this update. Watch your rankings, and stay on top of changes, so that as Google tweaks their variables (which they inevitably will), you can stay up with the changes. Here at WebMetro/Godwin, we’re watching our own clients to ensure that they don’t become Pandafied. 😉