Blog Post

Panda Refresh and Quality Content


Google announced that another Panda refresh is rolling out over the next few days. If you recall, the original focus of Panda was to target low quality content. Initially rolled out in 2011, there have been lots and lots of refreshes and the most recent is this week’s. Google announced this refresh on Twitter yesterday. “Panda refresh is rolling out -- expect some flux over the next few days. Fewer than 0.7% of queries noticeably affected...” By comparison, the initial Panda roll-out affected about 12% of search results. But as Danny Goodwin points out, there are 3 billion searches on Google per day, “so this latest Panda refresh could potentially affect some 21 million queries.”

Danny Sullivan is calling it Panda Update 3.92. Confused by the numbers? You are not alone. I didn’t wear my decoder ring today, but luckily, Danny gives you the history of the Panda updates and how they are named in his post yesterday. And, yes, it’s still confusing after you read that article.

Numbers and names aside, remember the target of Panda -- low quality content. Sound too subjective? Google provided 24 questions webmasters should ask themselves to give them guidance on quality. In addition, Google recently released updated guidelines for their human reviewers to help them focus on quality. Danny Goodwin has a great Search Engine Watch post on this from earlier this month. In it, he explains that Google describes quality content as that which is “very satisfying, useful, or helpful for its purpose.” So, Danny says that means it could do any of the following:

  • Share objective, personal, or social information
  • Share an opinion
  • Entertain
  • Share pictures, videos, or other media
  • Sell a product or service
  • Post questions and answers
  • Provide file-sharing or downloads

So that’s a lot of things content can do. Human reviewers look at 3 parts of a site: main content, supplementary content and advertisements. In addition to the criteria above, they look at things like the purpose of the site, page layout, reputation and social media activity. Grammatical errors, duplicate content, using a keyword over and over, and spun content are some of the red flags of low quality content. I highly recommend that you give Danny’s article about human reviewers a read.

Alright. So back to you. What’s your best defense against Panda? Creating good quality content. Your website and all your activity around it matters. It is the face of your business. Your marketing efforts should rely on a well-rounded diversified strategy built on the best quality content you are able to provide. If you need some tips on where to start, take a gander at my 5 Tips for Creating Quality Content post from July.