2 months ago hundreds of websites instantly lost first page rankings and visibility in Google when the new Panda update classed their sites as being full of low quality content. Overnight, sites such as suite101.com, hubpages.com and articlesbase.com saw a huge percentage of their articles drop from 1st page rankings down to the farther reaches of the search results where users seldom venture.
This update had an instant and devastating impact on many content based sites, which lost rankings, traffic and in some cases a huge amount of revenue from the Google ads on their sites. By removing what it deemed to be ‘farmer content’ Google claimed that the new update would help search results be more accurate.
However, although the original Panda update did remove a lot of bulk, low quality content from Google it was criticised for also demoting a lot of original, interesting and useful content from search results, which was supposed to be promoted by the Panda update.
After receiving this criticism, Google’s Matt Cutts commented on the update at the recent Search Marketing Expo in Seattle, and said “don’t consider it finished”, proclaiming that the Panda update would be refined throughout the rest of the year in order to make sure it was more effective in singling out poor content.
Well, without warning and to the surprise of many, Google have this week confirmed the release of Panda 2.2, which will continue to penalise content farms but will do this in a more refined way.
Who will win and lose this time?
According to Google, the new version of Panda will still hit content farms but will also put more focus onto sites scraping content. What this means is that blogs and article sites that simply copy content from around the web will start to be completely dropped from Google’s search results by the new update.
Panda 2.2 will also apparently favour sites that have used strong SEO techniques. Basically sites that have large levels of content on say a blog or news page will not be hit, as many were with the first update, if the content is original, fresh, well optimised and not spammy.
So once again there will be hundreds of websites owners holding their breath as they check their rankings this week but at least this time around it should only be those filling search results with useless content that lose out.