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Happy Belated Birthday Panda!

February 25, 2015

Yesterday Google celebrated its Panda algorithm turning four years old.  As some may see this as a trivial fact, it is actually a very important day – one that reshaped the internet like we’ve never seen before.  With Google still being the most used search engine to date (11.944 billion monthly searches on average) it is by far the most significant quality algorithm to date affecting everyone from SEO specialists to your grandparents using AOL.

Taking a trip down the memory highway, Panda was released on February 24, 2011.  At this time, the internet was a place of poor quality content.  Keyword stuffing, link farms, autoGoogle Panda Algorithmmated blog commenting, were all common tactics used to enhance a websites presence to achieve the all mighty page 1 spot #1 ranking.  If your business had the money and resources to continually perform these black hat techniques, your website thrived and dominated the search rankings.  As a result, the quality of Google’s search results were under constant scrutiny.  Panda focused on removing poor-quality sites from search results and returning higher quality sites instead.  It affected approximately 12% of all search results – applying that to the 11.944 billion monthly searches on Google – we’re looking at around 1.4 billion searches affected!

So what is a high quality site?  An analogy commonly used is that of a term paper – it should be well written, little to no grammatical mistakes, provide insight that draws a reader in, and contain citations to bring about validity and trust.  I like to think about it as “Would I trust this website with my credit card?”  If the answer is no, it’s probably not a high quality site.

Returning to present day, one can truly see and experience the positive changes Panda created and set in motion.  Not only did it force websites to begin using white hat techniques and truly care about their content, it paved the way for other algorithms (Penguin, Hummingbird, etc.) that have jumped on the quality bandwagon.  Happy belated birthday Panda and thank you for helping cleanup our internet search results!

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