Are Google’s Results Better After A Year Of Panda Updates?

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year since Google first launched the Panda update. OK, who am I kidding? It feels like an eternity ago. But it’s been a year. How much work have you done on your site to comply with Panda in that amount of time?

Now that you’ve had a year to get to know it, how do you think Google has done with the Panda update? Was your site affected? For better or for worse? Do you think Google did a good job in making search results higher in quality and relevancy? 

Earlier this month, when Google ran down its publicly known algorithmic changes for the month of January, it mentioned what still appears to be the most recent change to Panda. It said:

“We improved how Panda interacts with our indexing and ranking systems, making it more integrated into our pipelines. We also released a minor update to refresh the data for Panda.”

This change had actually been confirmed in January, but was spelled out one more time (as much as Google will in fact spell it out). Just to make sure this was in fact the most recent Panda-related adjustment, Google was asked. A spokesperson for the company responded: “As mentioned in January, we’re continuing to improve how Panda interacts with our indexing and ranking systems, making it more integrated into our pipelines.”

So, it sounds like the improvements are still ongoing, but no major Panda update since that particular announcement.

This list has been referenced plenty of times by myself and others discussing the Panda update, but as Google tweaks it, these things will continue to be important to keep in mind. Possibly even more than ever, considering that it’s so much more “integrated into the pipelines”. It’s the list of questions that provides “guidance” on how Google looks at the issue of search quality.

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

For a comprehensive look back (and forward) at the ongoing Panda saga, you may find this Panda page useful. It basically is dedicated to Panda-related stories. Sure, in essence, it’s basically a tag page, but it kind of takes on a life of its own.  It includes the important info, as well as some of the more fun things, like Panda bread, parody videos and infographics.  If you’re at all interested in Google, their updates and how it can affect your SEO, check it out.  And hey, if you’ve already read this far, you might as well read that too!


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