If you’ve ever dealt with SEO specialists, then you have definitely heard the terms Panda and Penguin bandied about. These refer to major Google updates that have drastically impacted the SEO industry as a whole. It might get a little confusing at times, so we’ve decided to write about the difference between Google Panda and Penguin updates and how they affect your SEO campaigns.
What is the Panda Update?
The Panda update was first launched on 24 February 2011. It was originally referred to as the ‘farmer’ update. This was because Panda was created to tackle the increasing problem at the time of content farms – sites that churn out tons of low-quality content aimed at ranking in the SERPs.
Sites such as Hubpages, Suite101 and About.com lost a lot of traffic and revenue because of this update. Two years on, they’re still reeling from the effects:
None of the 22 sites has returned to its pre-Panda visibility, and only two sites have improved their visibility today compared to their post-Panda visibility.
In the case of Hubpages, SearchMetrics reported that its visibility was reduced 62 percent lower than it was before Panda.
Panda Goes After ‘Thin’ Content
Panda goes after sites that have ‘thin’ content and not necessarily spam. How do B2B marketers like yourselves know what’s meant by thin content? You can refer to Google’s Guidelines for a start.
It is important to note that Panda gives a site-wide penalty. That means your entire site will be penalized if Google decides you’re hawking thin content. However, certain pages might still rank.
What is the Penguin Update?
Google announced Penguin as an “important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines.” First launched in April 2012, the Penguin update penalizes those websites that are engaging in less-than-white hat SEO tactics. These include tactics such as cloaking or keyword stuffing.
Penguin Penalizes Webspam
Penguin also takes a look at your link profile and penalizes you for links coming from bad neighbourhoods. That means that the quality and authority of the domain that is linking to you is more important than the number of links. Paying $20 for 5000 links a month is now both pointless and dangerous.
We’re seeing a lot of top ranking websites cleaning up their link profile and reducing backlinks over the past few months.
In March 2013, Matt Cutts announced that there will be a major Penguin update this year that will send ripples through the SEO industry.