Way back in 2011, content marketing as we knew it was completely upheaved when Google updated its algorithm with what is known as the Panda update.
Since then, Google has updated its update by refreshing Panda, but nothing that seems as major as that grand 2011 update.
According to Search Engine Roundtable, though, there hasn’t been an official update in 9.5 months and there has not been an unofficial update in 8.5.
It should be here soon, though.
However, the questions now become – when will it get here and what will it do when it does?
The Original Google Panda
Google’s Panda update began the movement of ‘content is king’ that we know, and hopefully love, today. After this update, Google started ranking poorer content sites or sites with thin content lower, which made room for higher content sites to finally rise to the top.
However, because this was not the way things were done at the time when quantity was key, a lot of sites swiftly saw its rankings fall. And the thing about Panda is that it ranks sites, not pages.
What Does That Mean?
Well, if you have a lot of bad content on your site but also some good content, don’t expect to be ranked high for those high-quality pages. If your overall site is ranked poorly, so is that incredible piece you crafted that would have explained everybody’s problems if only anybody had found it.
This means that sites who all of a sudden found themselves … wait, I take that back… this means that sites who all of a sudden didn’t find themselves (because they weren’t being pulled up on Google, obviously) in pleasant situations, well, they had to start revamping their entire site.
3 Other Things Panda Punished
Poor content is not the only thing that you cannot get away with and still rank high under Panda. There is a lot else as well.
1. Duplicate Content
Meaning you can’t write one article five different ways (or even two different ways) and act like you had a lot of content on your site.
2. Generic Content
So the writing itself is good, but what is the point? In order to be considered good content, it needs to actually be able to help readers.
3. Non-Quality Rater Approved Content
Google’s Panda update is largely dependent on quality raters that determine how trustworthy and credible sites are. The higher a quality rating, the better the site will do under the Panda algorithm.
Basically, what you have to do in order to be Panda-approved is have trustworthy, beneficial content where every page on the site adds value to the rest of the site instead of just rephrases it.
That’s not too hard, is it? Since many sites went up with Panda, it must not have been too hard for them.
What Have Been The Major Panda Updates?
For many, Panda updates are a blessing in disguise.
Let’s say you have a website that was hurt by a version of Panda. Since then, you have built a strong site filled with cutting edge content that will be a boon to anyone who reads it. You also got rid of all of your bad content.
In other words, you made over your site to catch Google’s eye. When an update comes, then, you should feel great about yourself. All of a sudden, you are ranking high again just like you did pre-Panda.
That’s a big reason for these updates. Yes, they fix some more problems and clean up some old ones. However, one of the biggest things these updates do is reward the people who worked hard to get their site back to the quality their reader’s expect and to punish those who slipped.
From the original Panda release in February 2011 until the last release in October 2014, Panda has been updated 27 times. If you do the math, you will see that adds up to an update on average less than every other month. That’s a whole lot of updating. For a history of the updates, Moz sums it all up for you.
Now, think about the fact that it has been 8.5 months since any type of update has occurred. As Search Engine Roundtable reports, that is a long time for websites who are ranked lower to have to wait in order to see if they can get bumped back up to the top.
What Is Coming? Some Announcements Straight From Google
It has been a while since Panda has been updated, but Google has made plans to make an update soon. However, we are all left guessing as to when soon might be.
As Search Engine Land reported, Google’s own Gary Illyes announced this upcoming update and said he expected it to be released within the next two to four weeks. The only problem with this statement, though, is that it was said on June 2 – which was six weeks ago.
So where is the update? According to Illyes Tweet from June 9, it is still in the “soon” phase, but no ETA can be given for technical reasons.
As for what will be effected, Illyes has stated it will be a data refresh, as opposed to an algorithm change. No matter how it is worded, though, things will change whenever it is updated.
Here’s My Tip: Be Panda Prepared
One of the best things you can do in order to be prepared for anything that Google throws your way is just keep getting rid of bad content and churning out good content (or turning your bad content into good content instead of just trashing it.)
The whole algorithm making you rank high or low all comes down to that. Google might change things. You might have to do some adjusting at times. However, if you make your content the best it can be, then the changes will not affect you all that much, nor will the adjustments be that time-consuming, expensive, and/or burdensome.
As more information is learned, for example when the update actually occurs, we will make sure to keep you in the know.
If you want to take that worry completely off of your plate, then check out our content services, and let us do the preparation and upkeep for you.