Google Panda is the new and path-breaking algorithm update from Google and it is only to be expected that many may not be familiar with its nature and purpose. Of course, the fact remains that you can appreciate the true worth and significance of Google Panda as also its demerits only after you study its implications in detail. Google Panda is an innovate method whereby Google will be able to distinguish and weed out websites with substandard or plagiarized or inappropriate content. Google will also be able to suitably deal with ill-structured websites and web pages that have little or no merit and penalize sites that have high bounce rate, poor traffic, and lack of quality inbound links.
Curiously enough, Google has named this innovation after one of its engineers called Panda who was largely responsible for providing the necessary breakthrough to make this update come out in its present shape and form. Google claims that Google Panda will be ‘a redesigned document-level classifier’ that will bar spam on-page content from unjustly obtaining higher ranking.
The new classifier will be quite effective in finding spam on individual web pages by identifying frequent use of spam words and the type of phrases often seen in cleverly crafted blogs. Hacked sites were a cause of great concern for Google last year and Google Panda will have improved capabilities to eliminate them.
To know if you have been adversely affected by Google Panda, check your traffic status post 24th February and any decrease will indicate you are affected and you will find many of your URLs are removed from Google search engine purview. Of course, all is not lost as there are a couple of things you can do to repair the situation and get back into the reckoning.
Identify the pages that attract insignificant traffic and preferably submit those pages for URL removal Rewrite content avoiding plagiarism and duplicate content. You may thereafter present your site to Google for reconsideration. Also, try to promote your website on social network to minimize bounce rate.
There can be no doubt that Google Panda fulfills a long-felt need – or at least, that is what Google claims. There has been for long a widespread complaint that less meritorious sites (contemptuously labeled as content farms) were unjustly grabbing higher rankings. Google could not have further delayed this step as already the view – that Google’s search quality is deteriorating – was gathering momentum and some urgent remedial measures were needed.
The person from Wired.com had an interesting breakfast meeting with Google’s search-quality guru Amit Singhal and their search spam specialist Matt Cutts. The excerpts of their conversation throws a lot of light about the way Google thinks.
During 2009 Google had come out with an update called Caffeine aimed at fine-tuning the indexing process. When index was mounting and Google was crawling rapidly there was a massive flow of content – though some were less worthy.
Earlier, the issue was confined only to distinguishing good content from outright spam content and the task was quite easy for Google Spam team. But things changed and Google was confronted with a lot of content that cannot be strictly classified as scam but were hollow nevertheless.
So Google had to come up with a different and still more sophisticated solution to solve the problem. It was indeed challenging to identify shallow content from the rest and Google had to resort to conducting various elaborate field tests to arrive at sound scientific findings that were used in evolving the Google Panda.
Further, Google launched its Chrome Site Blocker that enables users to cite sites they wanted blocked from their search results and the result was 84 percent overlap was seen between sites downloaded by the Chrome blocker and downgraded by the update. Then was the question of dealing with it algorithmically. Relying on intuition and experience, Google could differentiate sites that add value for users and the ones that were useless and that led to the concept of a classifier.
It cannot strictly be said that the Google Panda has effectively dealt with the problems though the rankings suddenly altered dramatically and users were getting different feedbacks. Some well known sites like Suite 101 saw its rankings dip and they felt it unfair despite their quality being high. CEO Peter Berger of Suite 101 had consistently stated that ‘its mission is to enable people –who can write well and with deep understanding of a subject’.
Nonetheless, Google maintains that the classifier that they have built this time is doing an excellent job of identifying low-quality sites and the classifier is also behaving cautiously with regard to intermediate sites that are of mixed quality. Google claims it has now more or less addressed the type of complaints as well as conflicting views raised by the New York Times, eJustice, Foundem and many others. Google believes that criticisms are welcome as they inspire Google to strive for greater perfection all the time.
But, Google denies outright that they play favorites or are influenced by external considerations like advertisers’ interests. Google however defends its policy of secrecy and contends that keeping the entire ranking process transparent will enable many unworthy sites getting to know the formula and then unscrupulously finding their way back into better rankings.