How Google Panda and Penguin Changed Content Production Forever

Panda

Panda (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I have a great article for you from Rob Pell, a U.K. writer, who spends a lot of time thinking about the digitalness of the world. He’s come up with a great article for you about Google and how it’s messing with our tried and true methods. It’s a great read and I hope you’ll enjoy it:

How Google’s Panda and Penguin Changed Content Production Forever

Getting your site high up on Google is big business. Because of this little tidbit of information, companies are falling over themselves to employ teams of SEO geniuses to realize their dreams of lofty placing on that golden Google register.

There has been a joke doing the rounds on the internet for some time now that relates to this phenomenon. It’s not a particularly funny joke, but then IT jokes rarely are. The jokes goes that if your research hunt takes you onto the second page of a Google search, you know you’re really getting desperate.

There’s a lot of truth in this; people don’t want to be trawling through page after page on their Google search. A standard Google search can deliver around 150,000,000 results, spread across an unfathomable amount of pages, but if your site falls outside the first 10 or 20 of those results your traffic from Google searches is toast.

Google is getting smarter too. How Google decides which pages rank where on its searches is down to algorithms. These are complex formulas which are used to rate the quality of a page and thus its entitlement to be prioritised in a search.  In 2011, Google set about trying to improve its use of algorithms with the introduction of Google Panda, a new ranking system which ranked entire sites collectively, rather than each separate page of a site individually.

Panda was controversial, with some experts bemoaning the fact that it was weighted so heavily towards brand new content. In this respect, sites with evergreen content – i.e. content that doesn’t need constant updates to remain relevant – were being unfairly penalised.

This weighting towards more contemporary content led to an increased use of blogs on sites. This represented an attempt by webmasters to counterbalance the penalties incurred by evergreen content and prevent such sites from slipping down the ratings. However, Google’s analysts noted that this was leading to “blog farming”, the creation of useless, irrelevant and often plagiarised content which damaged the integrity of Google’s search process.

In April 2012, Google updated their ranking strategy with the more sophisticated Penguin. Google Penguin was introduced to police sites manufacturing low quality content simply with a view to appearing relevant and so scoring higher in searches.

The move was welcomed by most internet users who had grown sick and tired of the constant spam and plagiarised content that clogged up their internet searches. Others also welcomed the move, including those who suddenly found themselves employed by companies in job roles such as “website reputation manager”.

Esoterically named roles such as these were created to deal with the new demands placed on search engine optimisation experts. The responsibilities of a “website reputation manager” centre on keeping websites within the guidelines lay down by Google. This includes ensuring content is fresh, relevant, useful and unique, as well as ensuring that vital key phrases and other SEO techniques are employed throughout the site.

As long as search engines keep getting cleverer, more of these spurious “internet policer” job titles look likely to spring up. This is why – as other industries take a nose dive – the industry of online marketing is sky-rocketing.

Rob Pell spends far too much time playing with gadgets, likes Marmite and writes for Simplifydigital, the UK broadband, digital TV and home phone experts. Simplifydigital are Ofcom accredited and provide independent advice to consumers looking for the right broadband, TV and home phone packages.

Isn’t it the truth? Keeping up with the changes are tough enough, but then you have sites like mine, with constantly updating, relevant content, and still Google — in its infinite wisdom — decides to decimate my traffic for no apparent reason.  I’ve said this before, but I really think they’re in a move to wipe out everyone, but the big brands and sites with a clear foothold in individual industries.

What it’s doing is driving us to other search engines. I tell ya, I’m going to be all over Bing from here on, but not just for me — for my clients, as well. It may not provide as much traffic — yet, but look out Google. You’re really hurting the people who’ve loved you the most.

I need a hug. 🙂

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