Webmasters and site owners have been noticing a dramatic shifting of their rankings over the past month. The culprit is a roll-out of updates to the Google search engine algorithm, officially known as “Penguin”. This has been followed up by two updates to the Panda algorithm filter, as Versions 3.5 and 3.6 rolled out during the same time period.
Snapshot of Panda
Panda is a quality filter which is applied after the algorithm has done its work – its’ primary focus is relevancy and freshness of content. If you got ‘Pandalized’ last year, you know that it takes a commitment of site quality improvements to earn and regain prominent rankings.
Fortunately, 3.5 and 3.6 were relatively minor tweaks dealing with content quality, so by now, if you’re serious about your site’s health, you’ve already addressed content quality issues and the impact is relatively modest, and hopefully the changes made to your site and increased investment in content freshness helped your site increase in rankings as a result.
Penguin is a series of (50) algorithm modifications addressing a whole host of issues including deep review and analysis of your backlink profile. Links have long been a powerful tool for helping to signal popularity and relevancy, however not all links are equal. Sites with link profiles which appear to be “lower quality” have suffered, and well-constructed link profiles have endured and/or potentially even benefitted from the filter changes.
The Penguin Update definitively changed the practice that some sites historically used where they focused on volume of links as their primary strategy. Also, for regional companies targeting a localized audience leveraging local search, lack of links from sites within your geographical area has also become a stronger signal of relevancy. For sites that have continued to improve the content quality, and have built natural link profiles consistently over time… the impact from Penguin and/or Panda has likely been slight.
We’ve advocated for a long time that you need to build a quality backlink profile – and this takes diversity, consistency & patience.
Create quality content within your site’s niche. Make it as good as you can and users will link to it as a matter of course.
Work on continued development of your site’s social presence in addition to consistent SEO activities. This means making sure to have social integration of Google+ and Facebook on your site + dedicated Twitter profile, YouTube page (if applicable), etc.. Please see our Implementation Guide for support, and let us know if we can help you set-up the plug-ins.
Finally, prepare for more updates. The future implementation of the search results pages will continue to evolve rapidly. Just as Panda has been frequently updated, expect the same for Penguin.
Please let us know if we can analyze your site to help ensure that your site continues to improve as the never-ending algorithmic changes determine your site’s relevancy signals, and ultimately rankings within the search user-experience.