The Google Panda and Penguin Updates

They’re the most heavily discussed of all of Google’s algorithms, which is why updates for the Penguin and Panda algorithm tend to make webmasters quite anxious. And when they wake up to check their rankings, only to find them violently shaken by the update, they’re essentially left to guess as to what exactly the new signals are.

Google Panda was released in February of last year to penalise poor quality content pages, while Penguin, released in April of this year, was designed to specifically target websites practising spam SEO. However, one might wonder if one is more important to Google than the other, given the focus of the latest updates.

Expect Big Changes for Penguin

Penguin is still quite a new algorithm, so it tends to be subject to more violent updates. It’s reportedly updated monthly, roughly, yet we have only received two update for it thus far.

With its recent release, Google is essentially still in the testing phase of this new algorithm. As Google examine the results from data refreshes, it gets to see how effective the algorithm is at detecting spam practices. As it examines this, it begins to add new ranking signals and iterate them across the index.

The addition of all these factors makes updates on this algorithm a big shock for the internet community. Google however, claims that Penguin measures are an “adjustment” as opposed to an actual penalty. But when you consider any negative change in the ranking is in fact a penalty, it’s really just semantics.

Panda Less Turbulent

Conversely, the Panda updates have tended to be less violent as the months have progressed. When it first came out the effect were greatly felt across the web. Particularly for websites that were propagating poorly written spam content stuffed with keywords.

They also update roughly each month but recent updates have seen them find their groove, in terms of what they want the algorithm to achieve. They report that the latest update will only see 1% of search queries affected. However, there are over 2 billion Google search queries each day so the number certainly isn’t insignificant.

The SEO Perspective

Guarding against Google’s algorithm updates can be a stressful activity. The only real the way to make sure your rankings aren’t gravely affected is to ensure that your website publishes quality content, from a human perspective, and you don’t try to manipulate your rankings (too much).

Be sensible about how you post content and when you’re doing SEO. Don’t do anything that generally contravenes the Google Webmaster Guidelines and your rank won’t get too shaken. And even if it does, you may recover with naturally with time.