Google’s “Panda” algorithm struck the Internet in a huge way back in February 2011. Officially, Google’s updated algorithm technology was said to be a protection for quality sites, and a penalization of “low quality sites.” However, many legitimate sites were shocked to discover that the algorithm update actually destroyed their rankings. On the contrary, according to reports from CNET, many traditional news websites and social networking sites experienced an increase in rankings and traffic. Reportedly, 12% of all search results were affected.

Unfortunately for Google, not everyone was pleased with the results. Forget the class-action lawsuit, what about the fact that users flooded Google’s webmaster forums, complaining that scraper sites (sites that repost material without permission) were receiving higher rankings than original content sites? The algorithm update was a major undertaking, and there’s no way Google could introduce such a great change to an established order without expecting some glitches.

You may have already heard about Panda, but what you may not know is that Panda has actually been updated a few times since the beginning of last year. In response to the many complaints, Google published an advisory on its blog, offering advice to startled webmasters complaining about a rankings dive.

What does this mean for you, the merchant using SEO in everyday sales? It means that now is the time to focus on original content. While you may or may not be able to get a news classification, you can increase your Google-friendliness by adhering to the following:

  • Posting only the best quality, researched articles.
  • Reducing the number of ads per page.
  • Avoiding keyword stuffing and other SPAM practices.
  • Focusing on creating a quality presentation, similar to a traditional news site.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.