Google Rolls Out Major Algorithm Update

I once heard a stat that Google changes its algorithm every six hours. Ostensibly to keep improving its ability to deliver the most relevant results for our search queries – but probably also to ensure that no one can ever reverse engineer the high-tech mathematical formula that defines which pages rank where.

Most of the time, the changes Google makes are very minor tweaks. But a few times a year, it will put in motion a major overhaul. And this is precisely what has just happened with the “Panda Update”.

‘Panda’ was rolled out about a month ago in the US and quickly became dubbed the ‘Farmer’ update – because the algorithm change is designed to give weight to high quality sites, while weeding out the ‘content farms’ and scraper sites which provide low quality information to searchers. The update apparently received “positive feedback” in the States, with people reporting better quality results for their searches – and it is now being implemented across all English language regions, including the UK.

So what changes can we expect to see in our search results? Well, in essence, Google is now able to define the difference between ‘high’ and ‘low’ quality sites and will consequently prioritise pages with relevant and original information.

Of course, there have been some high profile ‘victims’ of the update, which have presumably been penalised for publishing content that is ‘scraped’ and duplicated from elsewhere on the web. In some cases, such as the British Medical Journal, it seems ludicrous. But in most circumstances, the de-prioritising of low quality, spammy content is a good thing.

But what does it mean for SEO? Well, at Reload Digital, we’ve always advised clients that ‘content is king’ – and this is more apt than ever now. Panda should be seen as a positive by good sites as it gives them a leg-up on competitors who rely on lazy means of pulling copied content into their pages. While on the one hand Google will penalise these content farms, on the other it will give more weight to sites that have high quality, original and relevant information. So now might be a good time to cast your eye back over that content you wrote however many months ago – and to start thinking again about updating your blog, as regular injections of fresh content are going to make your site a good bet in the eyes of Google!

Let us know what you think the update will mean for your site – or if you’ve seen any impact on your rankings yet!