Excerpts from my latest article at Practical eCommerce: “SEO: Avoiding Penguins and Pandas.”

Google’s recent penchant for naming major algorithmic updates after animals has the world of search engine optimization sounding more like a zookeeper’s dilemma. But with rumors of an impending Penguin updateright around the corner, ecommerce marketers need to know their Penguins from their Pandas, and how to avoid the ire of both.

In both cases, Penguin and Panda are algorithmic updates. Each represents updates to the hundreds of signals that Google uses to analyze and rank web pages for its search results pages. Penguin and Panda are primarily associated with negative impact on organic search traffic. Algorithmic updates are different than a manual penalty, in which human members of Google’s Web Spam team manually identify violations to Google’s webmaster guidelines and assess penalties on those pages. Because Penguin and Panda act algorithmically, if a site that has been demoted can identify and remove the issue, the site should be able to rebound algorithmically as well.

Most algorithms are being constantly tweaked and updated within Google’s main index. As a result, the impact of these continual updates isn’t felt strongly or suddenly as the algorithms evolve. Interestingly, Penguin and Panda are processed outside of the main index. Consequently, the updates to the rankings that these two algorithms produce are experienced in sudden bursts of change to rankings and traffic, lending Penguin and Panda their fearsome reputation.

Read the article in full at Practical eCommerce for more detail on Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithm updates. »

PS: For lots of interesting details on how Google instructs its human quality raters, see Search Engine Land’s article from 9/7/12: “Google Search Quality Raters Instructions Gain New “Page Quality” Guidelines.” I guess this topic is on a lot of minds lately.

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1 Comment on Avoiding Algorithmic Pandas and Penguins

  1. Marietta says:

    I agree. I think people are thinking that the Penguin Google, got their website when it was really just the panda. I am still not sure how people can tell. But I know a lot of people are just blaming one when it really was the other and an easy fix.

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