How Google Peguin and Panda Updates affects your Websites | Tutorial Freak – Online Tutorials

How Google Peguin and Panda Updates affects your Websites

Over the last year or so, Google has released two major updates to the way it ranks web pages on its search index. In early 2011, the most hated (for blackhat SEO guys) Google Panda update was released, first during February in America and then in April across all other English speaking markets. This update affected many websites and was designed to improve the quality of the websites in the search index. This is a brief guide to the Panda and Penguin updates.

The Penguin update was released around a year after Panda, in April 2012. The Panda Updated dealt with low quality content on a website, Penguin Update is designed to remove or demote websites that use Web-spam to get higher rankings in Google search index.

Web-spam covers two areas, namely, On-page web-spam and Off-page web-spam. On-page web-spam refers to practices such as keyword stuffing and writing copy for search engines and not people. It also includes various shady methods of gaming the search engines, such as hidden text and doorway pages – both of which have been against Google guidelines for a while but are taking a more aggressive stance against such shady activities. Off-page spam is mostly concerned with link schemes to raise PageRank.

Panda and Penguin Are Automated Filters

It is very important to note that both Panda and Penguin Updates are automatic filters applied by Google. Some call them penalties, but they do not really penalise websites, they simply adjust the rankings of websites based on the content and Search Engine Optimization methods employed by a webmaster.

A website that has been affected by either Panda or Penguin can be recovered. Recovery may not be an easy task in either case, but in theory any site can be cleaned and repaired depending on the severity of the penalty.

How to Recover a Website after Google Panda Penalty

Recover From Panda Update

A site is said to have poor quality content when it is affected by the Panda Update. This can range from the duplication and repetition of articles and themes to empty pages that are kept on the site only for the purposes of PageRank.

Classic examples of low quality pages include:

  • Product pages that have no unique information pertaining to the product.
  • Articles on a subject which are already written.
  • Very short articles that are very general and add little or no value to the website.

As painful as it may seem, to clean a site and improve quality you need to ensure that all these types of low quality article are removed. This may mean deleting hundreds of old product pages and removing and/or merging articles to create in-depth topics on specific subjects.

Many people are against removing old product pages as “they used to bring in a lot of search traffic”. This argument no longer makes any sense – yes, they used to bring in search traffic, but now they are actively reducing search traffic.

Similar Content

There is lot of confusion and misunderstanding doing the rounds regarding the “duplicate” content issue and Panda. Firstly, Google was already dealing with duplicate content before Panda (albeit not in a perfect way). Where Panda has changed the game is not so much in downgrading duplicate content, but in spotting similar content. The Google search algorithm now has a much more advanced understanding on language and can recognise when two articles are saying the same thing but using different keywords. For example, whereas before Google may have considered articles on “how to cure acne” and “how to remove spots” as being two different topics, it will now see that they are both on the same subject and will downgrade both articles.


The Google Penguin update has led to a lot of panic and confusion, much in the same way that they Google Panda update did. The buzzwords at the moment are “Negative SEO”. There is a belief (note, no actual evidence of the case) that it is now easy for a site to be penalised if it has too many low quality links pointing at it. Low quality links include free-for-all directories, blog comments and forum profile links.

All of these can be created automatically using softwares such as XRumer. It is possible to create hundreds of thousands of links in a day for a site. Compare that to winning 1 or 2 new links a day, which is the rate at which a website should ideally accumulate natural links.

However, I do not believe that this sort of linking harms a websites at all. The sites that think so have probably just relied too much on these methods for SEO in the past. Now, cheap linking strategies such as this are no longer of any value. So sites have not been penalised, they have simply seen the quality of their backlink profile reduced overnight.

So far the Penguin update seems to affect websites slightly less. While a Panda penalty (sorry, adjustment) may have seen some pages drop a couple of pages in the Google search results, the Penguin adjustment often sees pages fall by just a few places.

On-Page Web-Spam

It is on-page web-spam that is probably harming most sites now. The exact features of this are unknown, but it appears that websites which have been stuffing keywords into title tags, headers and the main copy of the page have suffered the most.

Of course, it is very easy to fix these problems. You just need to go through each URL on your site and ask yourself “are there too many keywords, does it look natural?”.

I saw a good example of a website on the Google Webmaster Forums recently that had suffered from Penguin. It had many sites with page titles starting with “how to ….” followed by various different gardening tips. The actual pages all had “normal” page headers (“how to” was never mentioned). The likely problem is that Google now knows that each of those pages was given a title tag of “how to …” specifically to help the pages rank. This is now considered spam.

While this is by no means the whole picture, bearing in mind these tips should help you recovery from a penalty or avoid receiving one in the future.

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Sagar – who has written posts on Tutorial Freak – Online Tutorials.

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