Sunday, 17 March 2013

Google Panda And Google Penguin Updates – Meaning And Timeline

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In January 2011 Google had promised to take action against content farms which were growing like unwanted weeds on the web. Google has always been of the opinion that their goal is simple: to give people the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible and this requires constant tuning of the algorithms, as new content—both good and bad—comes online all the time. An Algorithm is a set of mathematical equations or rules that a search engine uses to rank the content contained within its index in response to a particular search query.
Google Panda And Google Penguin Updates
The Google Algorithm is the mathematical formula that Google uses to create the results (SERPS) when you do a Google search.
Since February 2011 Google had taken up the task to clean its index of all unwanted, thin and spammy content. The initiative went live on 23rd February 2011 which has been followed with a series of updates. The first update rolled out on 23rd February 2011 was referred to as the “Farmer Algorithm Update” which later on with a series of similar updates being rolled out regularly came to be known as the “Panda Update”.

As Larry co-founder of Google said long ago, we want to give you back “exactly what you want.” On June 14th 2011 at the Inside Search Event Amit Singhal said that speed is something Google is obsessed about Google wants to make the search experience and browsing as smooth and as fast as like flipping a magazine and even avoid the delay of 5 seconds. which usually is the case when a query is entered and the search results are displayed.

The Panda update is an effort to achieve both these objectives of quality search results and speed. The main focus is on quality content and the usability of the site for the user. Google wants to reward sites with quality content and are created with a focus on the user convenience of use and navigation.

Here are all the releases so far for Panda:

1. Panda Update 1, Feb. 24, 2011 (11.8% of queries; announced; English in US only)
2. Panda Update 2, April 11, 2011 (2% of queries; announced; rolled out in English internationally)
3. Panda Update 3, May 10, 2011 (no change given; confirmed, not announced)
4. Panda Update 4, June 16, 2011 (no change given; confirmed, not announced)
5. Panda Update 5, July 23, 2011 (no change given; confirmed, not announced)
6. Panda Update 6, Aug. 12, 2011 (6-9% of queries in many non-English languages; announced)
7. Panda Update 7, Sept. 28, 2011 (no change given; confirmed, not announced)
8. Panda Update 8, Oct. 19, 2011 (about 2% of queries; belatedly confirmed)
9. Panda Update 9, Nov. 18, 2011: (less than 1% of queries; announced)
10. Panda Update 10, Jan. 18, 2012 (no change given; confirmed, not announced)
11. Panda Update 11, Feb. 27, 2012 (no change given; announced)
12. Panda Update 12, March 23, 2012 (about 1.6% of queries impacted; announced)
13. Panda Update 13, April 19, 2012 (no change given; belatedly revealed)
14. Panda Update 14, April 27, 2012: (no change given; confirmed; first update within days of another)
15. Panda Update 15, June 9, 2012: (1% of queries; belatedly announced)
16. Panda Update 16, June 25, 2012: (about 1% of queries; announced)
17. Panda Update 17, July 24, 2012:(about 1% of queries; announced)
18. Panda Update 18, Aug. 20, 2012: (about 1% of queries; belatedly announced)
19. Panda Update 19, Sept. 18, 2012: (less than 0.7% of queries; announced)
20. Panda Update 20 , Sept. 27, 2012 (2.4% English queries, impacted, belatedly announced
21. Panda Update 21, Nov. 5, 2012 (1.1% of English-language queries in US; 0.4% worldwide; confirmed, not announced)
22. Panda Update 22, Nov. 21, 2012 (0.8% of English queries were affected; confirmed, not announced)
23. Panda Update 23, Dec. 21, 2012 (1.3% of English queries were affected; confirmed, announced)
24. Panda Update 24, Jan. 22, 2013 (1.2% of English queries were affected; confirmed, announced)
25. Panda Update 25, March 15, 2013 (confirmed as coming; not confirmed as having happened)
Just as the Panda Update targeted at attacking the low quality content and thin content the Penguin Update is an initiative by Google to attack the spammy links which have devalued the PageRank Technology and have adversely affected the quality of search results.

The Google Penguin Update launched on April 24. According to the Google blog, Penguin is an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. This algorithmic update decreases rankings for sites that are believed to be violating Google’s existing quality guidelines. . While Google says that they can't divulge specific signals because they don't want to give people a way to game the search results and worsen the experience for users, Google advices webmasters to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics.

The Penguin Update was launched on 24th April 2012 and impacted 3.1 % of English queries. The next one referred to as Penguin 1.1 was rolled out on May 25th 2012 affecting less than 0.1 % of English queries and the last one Penguin #3 went live on 5th October 2012 .

Last week at SMX West, Matt Cutts (The head of the spam team at Google) said a new Panda Update might hit between 15th to 18th March 2013 and also added the future such updates in the algorithm would not be apparent as an abrupt change. Rather, Panda changes would roll out over a series of days and become a part of the algorithm. Regarding the Penguin Update Matt Cutts said that there will be a large Penguin update in 2013 that he thinks will be one of the more talked about Google algorithm updates this year. Google’s search quality team is working on a major update to the Penguin algorithm, which Cutts called very significant.

In addition to this Cutts said: “We have a potential launch later this year, maybe a little bit sooner, looking at the quality of merchants and whether we can do a better job on that, because we don’t want low quality experience merchants to be ranking in the search results.”

By this we assume that Google will ascertain the trust factor for ecommerce sites more than the reviews. The no. of people trusting their credit card information and the quantum of online sales are the 2 major aspects which directly determine the trust factor for ecommerce sites according to me. The after sales social media buzz also contributes to the social signals which Google has been indicating of integrating in the search algorithms.

It's high time the website owners take charge of their websites and not only sign a SEO contract but also take the onus of having a web culture in their organization which will determine their online credibility.

By Bharati Ahuja

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