To say that the Google Panda and Penguin updates have taken the entire Search Engine Optimization (SEO) industry by storm would be a massive understatement. Infamous as they are portrayed to be by the SEO industry, they were implemented with the view of improving the web browsing experience of Google’s search engine users. They accomplish this through the implementation of an algorithm utilizing several advanced filters that identify sites providing spun or extraneous articles. Accordingly, such sites have their search rankings considerably lowered or in the worst case scenario, their domain is banned indeterminably. In retrospect, a number of restrictions are imposed on them and the website’s Google Ad sense account is suspended till the website revises its content and marketing schemes.
Before I delve further into the implications that the Panda and Penguin updates may have on online businesses, a clear distinction has to be made between these two relevant yet utterly despised (by the SEO industry) implementations by Google. The need for the aforementioned updates in fact stemmed from the need to curb the rapid growth of imposters within the SEO industry.
In an age when almost everything is dependent on the internet marketing, the rise of fraud marketers targeting naive and gullible customers and businesses through cleverly marketed scams and manipulation of the SEO rules had led to a significant decline in customer confidence. It is with the intention of safeguarding the interests of internet users that Google decided to weed out these counterfeit websites by formulating and implementing a set of practically breach-proof algorithms. Google Panda and Google Penguin, thus, came into existence.
First introduced in the American market in February 2011 and the rest of the English speaking market in April later that year, Google Panda’s primary purpose and intention was to provide quality content to its search engine clients. According to the algorithms that constituted the makeup of the update, any site that failed to meet the imposed quality restraints would be anchored down to a lower organic search ranking. This was based on the bounce rate for the page, the number of clicks that the page gets in results, and many other factors. Simply and organically put, Google wanted to provide a holistic and efficient search experience and it has surely succeeded as evidenced by the stark decrease in the low quality, counterfeit websites.
As a habitual internet user, my browsing experience was greatly enhanced and became less frustrating after the Panda update. Finding high quality and relevant articles became so much more feasible without the presence of irrelevant websites that used to dominate the first page of Google’s search results. If you have used the internet on a regular basis, then you obviously know what I’m referring to here.
However, the same sentiment of enthusiasm and optimism was not reflected by the SEO marketing firms. After the update, website owners had to turn their focus on providing users with relevant and high quality content that is frequently updated, in order to maintain their organic search ranking and improve it subsequently. And the execution of this arduous task required a significant investment of time and capital.
So, based on what I have mentioned, the Panda update became a tough pill to swallow for SEO marketing firms and their clients alike. However, there were firms that were walking the tightrope of ethical marketing. With the introduction of Google Penguin, these websites found it increasingly difficult to sustain their existence.
Introduced in April 2012, a year after Google Panda, the Penguin update sought to build upon the foundations set forth by its predecessor. While Panda efficiently tackled the issue of low quality, extraneous articles, Penguin implemented a hard verdict against websites that implemented illegitimate measures to garner a high Google search engine ranking. Websites implementing unethical and sketchy black-hat SEO marketing techniques to boost their rankings were correctly and efficiently weeded out by Google Penguin. Some of these illicit techniques included keyword stuffing, cloaking, etc. Banning the website domains and the suspension of their Google Ad sense account were some of the more severe penalties meted out to websites that were found guilty of carrying out of such techniques.
After the Google Penguin update, most internet users including myself experienced a significant drop in the number of hoax sites that had invaded the first page of Google’s search engine results. Browsing the internet became a much more pleasurable and efficient experience. Since the hassle that accompanied scouring the internet for information was considerably reduced, a wide majority of internet users became increasingly confident about Google’s search engine and the manner its websites are ranked.
However, Panda and Penguin does not completely spell gloom and doom for the entire SEO and internet marketing industry. Through the provision of valuable and relevant information, it is highly plausible to climb up the search rankings in the organic. Even though it is a slow and tedious process, it is well worth it. At least, you won’t risk getting your domain banned or having your Google Ad sense account suspended for failing to strictly adhere to Google’s protocol for websites.
At the end of the day, content is what Google is looking for. Providing relevant content is the sure shot technique towards a higher search engine ranking. Blatant manipulation and exploitation of the then existent search algorithm were corrected after the combined updates of Google Panda and Google Penguin. The search engine results and wholesome browsing experience was magnified multi-fold as a consequence of this implementation. Depending on if you are a user or a provider, your perspective might differ. But from a neutral perspective, Google definitely deserves the plaudits for greatly enhancing their search results.