Google has delivered a new update to its Panda algorithm which will affect around 0.4% of worldwide Google search results. However, for U.S. search results, the affected percentage is higher at 1.1%. Roughly every 4 to 6 weeks Google delivers updates to its Panda algorithm in order to better improve the search results, and to better combat against “webspam” and “content farms”; which the Panda algorithm primarily targets in order to better improve the relevancy and quality of search results for end users.
When the Panda update was first released by Google, it had affected a very large portion of search results – in fact, affecting just under 12% of search results in the U.S. alone – in order to mitigate against website content farms with shallow or low-quality content. Google provides very little details around the complex algorithms that determines how to rank websites and search results; and the Panda update was (and is) no exception. Some updates that are released are announced by Google, but some aren’t. When the Panda algorithm was first introduced, Google declined to comment as to what precisely the algorithm is targeting, but Matt Cutts who heads Google’s anti-spam team said “I think people will get the idea of the types of sites we’re talking [about]” – referring to what the algorithm update is targeting specifically.
What are content farms?
“Content farms” sound pretty grim, but content farms are not useful to most people, which is why Google set out to target these websites and appraise websites with quality content. Content farms are websites with low-quality or shallow content. Sometimes these websites that can be considered content farms have very similar content across many websites or articles on certain subjects that are shallow in context and are generally unhelpful to a reader.
Google is targeting these kinds of websites because they detract from the quality of search engine results and do not provide a good user experience when the top search engine results do not provide the website or page that the end user is looking for.
What is webspam?
A good example of webspam are blog articles or website content that have a lot of random keywords and hyperlinks placed in the content for search engine optimisation purposes. Google gave a good example of webspam shown below – if you read the blog post, you’ll immediately notice how poor the quality of the content is and the fact there are random backlinks stuffed in the article itself that are completely irrelevant from what the article is about. Google’s algorithm is smart enough to detect even this kind of webspam. And as an end user finding this in a top search result, I doubt you’d be pleased with the quality of the search results for what you’re searching for.