What is Google's Panda Update? How Does It Affect You?

Google saw a bunch of low quality “farm” sites clogging up search results. Panda was an attempt by Google to improve their search results by reducing the ranking of low-quality sites automatically. 

The overall Panda Update project is huge, with humans evaluating “quality” sites, and then Google working on getting the algorithm to match.
Panda has had a large series of updates to try to make it better and better. It continues to have updates even now, as Google improves and refines it.

Google's Panda Update tries to judge the quality of the content on the page. Google wants to link to sites with quality content. Quality content is content that satisfies the searcher, and is easy to access. It uses several different measures of quality. Here are some of them:

Google-Panda-Update

Above the fold content
Panda Update wants the first view experience of someone coming to your site to be pleasant. The first view, the view you can see without scrolling, is commonly called “above the fold”, using old newspaper terminology. Panda wants to see content above the fold, not just graphics and especially not just advertisements.

Spun content
Spun content is content where a single article is changed into a large number of articles by using software to substitute synonyms for various words in the article. The resulting articles are posted at various sites as original content.

Panda doesn’t like spun content because the quality of the resulting articles is not as good as a hand-written article. In addition, you end up with a lot of duplicate information on multiple sites.

LSI Keywords
Google's Panda Update uses LSI keywords to judge the quality of the content. An LSI keyword is a keyword that is related to the primary keyword, and usually found in proximity to the primary keyword. The general assumption is that if you are talking about a particular topic, then there
is a particular vocabulary associated with that topic. Panda looks for LSI keywords in the content as a measure of quality.

Duplicate content
Panda Update wants original content, not duplicate content. This can cause problems if people copy your content and then get identified as the original author. However, usually Panda does a pretty good job of identifying the source versus the copy.

Google's Panda Update doesn’t run all the time. It is run as a secondary background process that updates parameters on the main indexes periodically. This means that you can see pretty drastic changes in your ranking at any time.

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