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Google’s Panda Algorithm Evolves and Penguin Update Planned for 2013


March 14, 2013 by Ryan Miller

During SMX West this week, Google and their head of the webspam team Matt Cutts announced several changes to their two current major algorithm initiatives Panda and Penguin.

The Panda algorithm update, which was initially launched in early 2011, has the core purpose of eliminating low quality, duplicate and overall spammy content from having a high searchSMX-WEST-2013visibility. Over the past two years, Panda has continued to evolve and has been preempted with each new version by an announcement from Google. With each launch, there was usually some form of communication to the SEO industry of what content the update would be targeting and how much Google anticipated search results to be affected.

On Wednesday, Google announced that while Panda will still continue to evolve and update, that it will no longer be pushed out manually and messaged out ahead of time. From this point on, it will be on an ongoing rolling schedule and will most likely have smaller, gradual updates as needed. With this, it sounds like a majority of the major goals and algorithm changes that Panda was originally designed to target have been met, and will now become tweaked and refined in coordination with other algorithm changes. This also means that for webmasters who may suddenly see a drop in search rankings and traffic from here on out, they will no longer have an announced change to use in their analysis.

The Penguin update, which first launched a little under a year ago, is designed to target and penalize websites that have been using linkbuilding practices that go against Google’s terms of agreement such as link farms, spam comments and paid advertorial links and content. Penguin updates have been come much less frequently but have had major impacts on websites and have resulted in a new niche industry for agencies to clean up websites’ link portfolios and Google creation a link disavow tool in Webmaster Tools.

panda-penguin-300x200On Monday, Matt Cutts announced that a new and very significant Penguin update would be released later this year. While he didn’t provide any specifics, he did say that the update the search quality team is working on will become one of the more talked about updates by the SEO industry this year. In anticipation of this, websites should be taking a very close look at their current link portfolio and cleaning it up as much as possible so as to not be hit when this update is pushed out.

As part of the Penguin announcement, Cutts also mentioned that Google has and continues to combat link networks, with several large networks already targeted for 2013.

Remember, more so than ever, that original and engaging content and targeted quality links is the name of the search game. Keep that in mind, and you’re already one step ahead of the competition.


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