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? Let us know in the comments.

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, we asked Google. 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 our Panda page useful. It basically looks like our homepage, but is dedicated to Panda-related stories. Sure, in essence, it’s basically a tag page, but with our recent redesign, kind of takes on a life of its own. It points to all of our coverage, all the way back to the beginning. It includes the important info, as well as some of the more fun things, like Panda bread, parody videos and infographics.

Here are a few of the classic videos:

And speaking of infographics, Search Engine Land and BlueGlass put this one together:

The Google Panda Update, One Year Later

It’s a well put-together infographic for sure, and provides a nice visible timeline of the various iterations of the Panda update, but it really only scratches the surface of the affects the update has had on the web – the struggles of webmasters who felt their sites were unjustly impacted for the worse. We heard a whole lot of stories over the last year. We covered some of them, but only a fraction. For some sites it was clear that their quality was lacking, and didn’t really deserve to be ranking over higher quality sites, but for others, we had to wonder if Google was making the right call. Some sites were able to recover (fully or partially), while many, no doubt, just gave up and started over. Some had to make huge adjustments to their entire content strategies.

No better example of this exists, than Demand Media, widely considered the poster child for the content farm concept – a concept, which ultimately led to the Panda update’s existence in the first place, and its early pre-Panda nickname the “farmer update”. Demand Media’s eHow property, specifically, was the main culprit, though other of the company’s properties were named from time to time in the visibility reports from third parties referenced in the above infographic.

Amazingly, the initial Panda update a year ago didn’t have any impact on eHow, but that would change in future iterations. It ultimately led to an huge shift in strategy for Demand Media’s content arm, which included the addition of a new user feedback system, the deletion of thousands of articles, and the reduction in new article assignments. All the while, the company has been expanding its social presence, and forming content partnerships to boost the quality and reputation of its eHow brand, which has a top 20 domain in the U.S. Demand Media’s properties get 100 million visitors per month.

The Panda update has had such an impact on this company that it still has to talk about it in its earnings calls. They just had one a couple weeks ago, and declared that the last Google algorithm update to affect eHow as in July. Panda 2.3, as its referred to in the infographic, was on July 23. There have been 5 Panda updates since then, so it would appear that the company has learned how to cater to it.

I’m not going to dig back through all of the Panda stories of the past year, because frankly, there are just too many of them. A lot of anecdotes, a lot of theories, and a lot of analysis. There’s enough to write a sizable book. Maybe one day.

One important thing to note, which is also referenced in the infographic, is that Panda is only one of over 200 signals Google uses. It’s an important one, but there are a lot of other ones. A lot of other important ones. These days, the big controversial Google signal is “Search Plus Your World“. There’s a lot of criticism about how its damaging relevancy. I’ve seen examples where Google’s “freshness” update has hurt relevancy. The lack of realtime search isn’t helping things either.

In a week or two, Google will likely give us a look at the changes it has made to its algorithm since that January list. Then webmasters and SEOs sill have even more factors to consider in the elaborate quest for gaining visibility in the world’s largest search engine as it continues to become more personalized to each user. Nobody said it would be easy, but these things are worth paying attention to.

Now that we’ve had an entire year to digest the Panda update, while being thrown new curveballs from Google along the way, how do you think Google is doing with search quality? Is Google showing more relevant results that it was a year ago? Tell us what you think in the comments .

Lead Image Credit: yosoybeezel on Photobucket

Expert Articles – WebProNews

Lesson that SEO should Learn from Google’s Reasoning for Keyword Meta Tag Disposal

Article by Kiran Bista

Keyword Meta Tag and its optimization has always been a major subject of SEO and if you still Google on these keywords; you are likely to find hundreds of articles written on its importance and tip to optimize for better ranking in search results. But, a video released on September 2009 changed the entire perception of search engine optimizers around the world and Keyword Meta Tag became nothing but a junk for some SEO and for some; a hope of better optimization.

In the video of September 2009 Matt Cutts answers one of the emails of SEO audience and declares that Google doesnt use Keyword Meta tag for ranking web results, although they use it for Google search appliance so that searchers can specify the return results to match with Meta tag but not for ranking. So, what do you want to do with Keyword Meta Tag? I am not sure how many SEOs has already thrown this tag to their recycle-bin but I think I am still going to use it like I have always been doing. WHY?

Watch the on:

Reasons to Optimize Your Keyword Meta Tag:
Google is not only the Search Engine:

Matt Cutts though declared that optimizing Keyword Meta tag doesnt helps for ranking in Google but this doesnt mean that we optimize only for Google. There are other major search engines like: Yahoo, Msn, Bing etc which are equally valuable and no doubt they are also of great traffic source. Thus, I dont think there is anything to lose when we optimize for Keyword Meta tag yet possibilities are higher in other search engines if not in Google.

Competitors Keyword Research:

Keyword Meta tag is still better way of generating those keywords that your competitors use to rank better than you. Websites like: Apogee meta keyword search tool can really help find out these keywords for our own business promotion research and it costs nothing. Keyword Meta tag might count zero in Google but better keywords are still the best tool to optimize your website to rank better.

For iJoomla Users:

iJoomla users are increasing everyday and the features it offers are really great tool for SEOs. And from this point of view Keyword Meta tag are still very useful for those users because the keyword meta tag is used for a number of different modules including related articles. In addition, iJoomla SEO use keywords that you enter in the Keyword Meta tag for the keywords manager page and this page shows the actual ranking of those keywords in the Google. Hence, it is better idea to work on Keyword Meta tag.

Thus, I dont think Keyword Meta tag has been outdated like many other SEO thinks. It can still be used for many purposes and who knows someday Google will come up with new ways of SEO but old techniques?


Matt Cutts (Whenever you look at the keywords Meta tag, we say; you know what? Too many people have spam that too much, we really just dont use this information at all.)

What is the moral of the story? What did you learn from this above Statement?

Moral of the Story:
The moral of the story is any better SEO technique can be a Spam if you do it like a Spam. Keyword Meta tag was one of the greatest tool that we could find and today it is disabled at least in Google. So, to all the SEOsI think Google is suggesting doing a better optimization and avoiding Spam.

Author: Kiran Bista. Resources:
Optimizing Engine |
SEO Company

Is a search engine optimizer and loves blogging.

Congress Gets Involved In Google’s Latest Privacy Scandal

Google made news in a big way last week with the revelation that they had engineered an exploit that circumvented privacy settings in Safari (desktop and iOS versions) in order to allow their ads to set tracking cookies on users’ computers. Google responded quickly to the Wall Street Journal’s report, saying that the workaround was solely intended for users who were signed into Google services and who had checked the necessary boxes saying they wanted to see personalized advertising. The fact that other advertisers were able to exploit the same workaround and plant tracking cookies of their own was, Google said, an unintended side effect.

The issue has apparently caught the attention of U.S. lawmakers, who have asked the FTC to investigate whether Google’s actions violate an October 2011 consent order dealing with user privacy in relation to Google’s short-lived Buzz social network. In a letter (PDF) to agency chairman Jon Leibowitz, Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts), Joe Barton (R-Texas), and Cliff Sterns (R-Florida) said that the widespread popularity of the iOS platform, which uses Safari as its default browser, means that “Google’s practices could have a wide sweeping impact.” The congressmen also note that the timing of this scandal, just as Google is set to roll out a new unified privacy policy, adds to the urgency of the situation. Sterns is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, Markey and Barton are co-chairs of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus.

This is not the first time that this particular consent order has been in the news, nor even the first time that the FTC has been asked to investigate whether Google has violated it. Two weeks ago the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) sued the FTC in an attempt to compel the agency to block the new privacy policy, which they alleged violated the consent order. The FTC has responded to that suit with a motion to dismiss, on the grounds that EPIC has no right to involve itself in the FTC’s enforcement practices.

There is no word yet on whether the FTC has responded to the three congressmen’s letter, or whether they intend to launch an investigation. A request sent to the FTC for comment has not yet received a response.

Expert Articles – WebProNews

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