Officially deployed for the first time on February 24, 2011, Google Panda is a filter in the eponymous search engine designed to expel from its results pages with content considered duplicated, insufficient or of poor quality.
Previously updated monthly, this filter is now an integral part of the algorithm. Updates and resulting sanctions are now carried out in real time.
Designed to penalize poor-quality content, Panda was not immediately deployed worldwide. It is first being tested in the United States:
- February 24, 2011: the “Farmer Update”, aka Panda 1.0, disrupts SERPs across the Atlantic
- April 11, 2011: Panda 2.0 now affects all English-language results without exception
- August 11, 2011: Europe, the United States, the whole world is affected by a new version of this filter. Depending on the source, it is sometimes called Panda 2.4, sometimes Panda 3.0. In France, the impact on results is significant
- March 2013: after several updates, the “Panda Everflux” filter is now integrated into the algorithm in real time. This means that updates are made continuously, as are penalties applied to sites that fail to comply with Google’s editorial content and SEO guidelines.
The hunt for duplicate or low-value content
The clearly stated aim of Google Panda is to penalize and combat what are known as content farms, sites that publish a large amount of content of mediocre quality and no coherence with one another, with the sole aim of generating visibility and an audience.
This applies in particular to duplicate content. This can take different forms:
- Duplicated internal content: this is a description or article that appears on several pages of the same site.
- External duplicate content: this is a copy-paste from another site, often without the latter’s permission. In this case, Google prioritizes the canonical url, that of the original content, rather than the one that has been “scraped”.
- Content generated automatically through content spinning. This involves replacing terms or groups of words with synonyms to produce large quantities of relatively similar text
- Spam comments on a blog are also considered duplicate content, since they are the same text published automatically by bots on hundreds or thousands of sites. A captcha (Completely Automated Public Turing test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart) or a hidden empty field is an effective anti-spam solution.
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Google Panda: what are the penalties?
Of course, the Google Panda filter is not simply designed to identify low-quality content or duplicate content. Its main function is to penalize all sites that fail to comply with Google’s SEO guidelines, notably by downgrading them in its results or blacklisting them. In the latter case, the offending site disappears completely and may never be re-indexed by the search engine.
While the first Google Panda penalties systematically resulted in the outright disappearance of the site deemed to be of poor quality by the Mountain View giant, today’s sanctions are more gradual and proportionate. They can take the form of the removal of certain pages from the results, or even the removal of the site in its entirety.
So how do you know if your pages contain duplicate content and if you’re risking a total loss of visibility? First of all, by respecting the guidelines of the number 1 search engine and requesting an audit from our SEO agency, experts in Google penalties.
How can you improve your Google Panda ranking?
To improve your Google Panda ranking, you need to focus on creating high-quality, relevant content. Make sure your content is well structured and easy to read. Use relevant keywords in your content, but don’t overload them. Avoid duplicate and low-quality content. Finally, make sure your website is technically optimized for search engines.
Panda is an important algorithm used by Google to evaluate the quality of content and rank it accordingly. To improve your search engine rankings, you need to focus on creating high-quality content that is relevant to users. Avoid duplicate content, generic content and low-quality content. Finally, make sure your website is technically optimized for search engines.