What Is Google Panda?

Table of Contents
I'll polish this up in August

Google Panda is an algorithm update for the Google Search engine which occured in 2012, that is so monumental, that it was given its own name. Usually Google has small algorithm changes every 2 weeks and a handful of big ones every 6 months but Google Panda lives up to the size of its name, as people are still talking about it 10 and 20 years later.

I know what you’re thinking! Bing is doing the same thing.

The Problem Before The Solution

Google Panda is to do with content quality, first and foremost. Anyone who remembers the days of Geocities, who made websites, would remember the old style of “webspam” as the ex-head of search quality Matt Cutts, would say, I mean stuff like this.

  • Cloaking (showing a search engine different content to what a human user would see)
  • Invisible text (making the text colour the same colour as the background colour, or making it a size 8 pixels)
  • Keyword stuffing (inserting unrelated words and paragraphs into the <meta> tags or the footer of the webpage

This would be considered blackhat SEO, the stuff that Google doesn’t want you to do, otherwise you’ll be demoted in the search results, which the SEO industry calls a “Google Slap”. You’re supposed to do whitehat SEO, the stuff that Google likes and endorses. There is also on-site SEO and off-site SEO.

Google had already cleaned up the vast majority of that stuff, so it was virtually gone. But now there was a new type of garbage filling up the search results, which didn’t meet the previous definition of that. The next three top-level headings shall give some insight on the majority of that.

Basically it’s about improving the content quality of the search results, so the content better be good!

1/7 Plagiarism and Machine Generated Content

I knew someone back in the MSN Messenger days, who was using WP Robot to make money from scraped content. He had a wordpress plugin called WP Robot, that would scrape the internet for blogs and forums that covered whatever topic he wanted, to then automatically import it into his blog. He was making somewhere between $500-800 a month for one website.

I asked him why not go more than 5 and have 10 websitesd and he said if he opened any more websites, it would trigger a fraud flag for having too many websites, to make him subject to a manual review by a human. He was getting free money from free content from free traffic sources. You’ve guessed it! Google Search!

You can’t do it any more now that Google Panda launched since 2012 but we both knew that it wasn’t going to last forever, especially with the increasing amount of people tipping the scales. It’s too crafty to want other people knowing how to do it but too crafty to not be copied by onlookers. It was fun while it lasted!

Further Reading

2/7 Article Spinning

To avoid me being demoted by Google Panda all the time from incessant self-plagiarism, I’ll use the infobox below to explain this, as I’ve already explained this so many times elsewhere on my blog, as it is.

A/B testing is when a website gives 5 or 10% of their audience a test design for when they access the website, while the remaining audience, the majority, the 90% or 95% are given the normal web design.

The person doing the A/B testing will be analysing certain metrics, to see which one is more likely to deliver the desired result (a conversion).

In marketing and online advertising, if the user performs the desired result after clicking on an advert (eg. creating a user, purchase, signing up to newsletter), then that’s a conversion.

The metrics they could be monitoring is the bounce rate, page views, session length, time spent on each web page, returning visitors, etc.

If it’s found that the B design that 5 or 10% of their users got, is more successful at delivering higher conversions and better visitor metrics, then that’s the design they’ll be keeping.

Article spinning is type of plagiarism that is more subversive and inconspicuous, whilst being so different to what we deem as typically plagiarism, that it doesn’t really meet the definition of typical plagiarism.

Article spinning is commonly done by news companies, including news verticles (cars, technology, fashion), or industry insight news (music industry news, marketing news, retail news)

It is done when a news website (of some sort) is expected to be publishing new stories as content every day or few days, when there’s a slow news day, so they have to publish something that’s substantial, otherwise they’ll disappoint their visitors, repeat readers, advertisers, subscribers along with being shared along the grapevine, buzz, virality and the blogosphere, forums and social networks.

How article spinning works, is when a writer or journalist has absolutely no ideas for a new article, what they will do is browse “user generated content” websites where lots of people congregate, to then take little bits of pieces as ideas, more like fragments of 3-8 words or maybe later 8-15 words, to then have each fragment then develop into 1-3 sentences.

They keep all these sentence fragments and coupled sentences, stored in some list somewhere (whatever they use to store their notes) and once their list of fragments becomes numerous enough for there to be some sort of common theme or interesting triangulation to be made, they’ll then write an entire article based on that.

However the plagiarism part of the article spinning, comes from the fact that they’ve just combined tiny fragments of things from other articles, to give them the inspiration for their article, whilst proactively going out of their way to LOOK for such things prior to generating any ideas themselves in the first place.

Prime Example of article spinning: Every article on the Huffington Post website

Prime example of podcast spinning: Daily Wire

The GRIFT is real

  • one
  • two
  • three

short explanation here


Read this blog article for more details.

3/7 Thin Content Will Be Demoted

What Is A Content Farm?

Websites like…..

  • Enkivillage
  • About.com
  • Squidoo
  • Hubpages
  • Mahalo
  • Chacha
  • Quora

In a sentence, a content farm is designed to prioritise the motivation of ideas for new content, from the former human ideas and epiphanies, to the latter zeitgeist machine derived ideas from behavioural statistical metrics, for example, the most popular search queries from last week, or the search queries which are starkly lacking in available content.

Read these essential articles for more information

What Is Thin Content?

Article Directories with Republish Rights like EzineArticles

From EAT to EEAT (expertise, experience, authority and trust) when it comes to YMYL (your money your life)

4/7 PageRank has been phased out

What is PageRank and how did it work?

Below is a list of blackhat link building schemes

  • Paying for sponsored links
  • Guest articles
  • Link exchange
  • Link chains
  • Comment spam (on blogs and forums)
  • Link farms

It’s outside the scope of this article, to explain what they all are.

Blackhat SEO marketers want their backlinks removed

Read this article for details

Trust Score and Quality Score newly triumphs PageRank

Social Media Metrics and Consumer Reviews became more important

Domain squatting is now redundant

5/7 Obstructive user experiences

Image galleries with each image on a new web page

Websites with more than four banner adverts

Blogs which consist of mostly embedded widgets, like youtube embeds

Duplicate content and nearly identical content

Doorway pages

Further Reading

6/7 Thin Affiliates

Why should I sell anyone else’s product, if everyone will think I’m a shitty content creator, for not selling my own?

The reason why i don’t do affiliate marketing

I’m a writer so I don’t know much about this so take my advice with a grain of salt, if you won’t take theirs that way.

What is a thin affiliate?

Google and Amazon are hostile towards affiliate marketers who buy PPC adverts

Google hates Clickbank, the affiliate network famous for ebooks (especially lifestyle and self-help ones)

Do MFA Made For Adsense websites really work?

Further Reading

7/7 Racing To Break Late

Winners and Losers

Content Farms definitely pivoted

About.com became Dotdash

Demand Media

Squidoo and Hubpages

Other notable mentions

What Does Google Consider To Be High Quality Content?

Google’s Webmaster Central’s official message

I think this one is the most important one

Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?

Google approved advice

What do the famous spearhead SEO experts say?

Does Google Panda give preferential treatment to mainstream media and the Alexa 10,000?

Is Wikipedia a content farm?

Matt Cutts simply grins then refuses to answer the question with utter silence.

What Is the Future of Blog Publisher Networks (BPN’s)?

Is Your Website Google Panda Ready?


Wow that’s a monumental and rapidly evolving change? Where can I keep up-to-speed on this?

Prologue: Two years later

Whitehat SEO still works

Most Of The Garbage Was Successfully Cleared Out

Where Are The Comprehensive or Extensive DK Style Websites on Page 1?

Google Still Doesn’t Understand The Worldly Context Behind a Query

Who Hasn’t Learnt From History?

Prologue: A decade later

Ironically so, Reddit is still a better search engine than Google

Why Did The Reddit Moderator Strike Harm Google?

Everyone Still Cares About Google Panda, Including Bedroom Hobbyists

Inbound Marketing, is too broad a term, for it to make any sense, so I don’t say those words

Twitter founder Biz Stone’s Medium.com is definitely not the answer

Is SEO dead, with Google nowadays self-preferencing

Will AI kill organic search results, as we know it?

Related Posts