What does a Farmer or a Panda have to do with Google?
In the past month you may have read a lot of chatter about Google and their Panda/Farmer update. So what exactly is it and how does it affect you (and your website)?
For starters, Google regularly updates its search algorithms. It doesn’t necessarily tell the public when it does this and certainly doesn’t tell us what changes they are making. In this latest update, a very large percentage of websites saw their rankings suddenly change – 12% by some accounts I’ve seen. The biggest movers (ranking wise) among websites were among what some call Content Farms (hence the “Farmer” nickname to the update). These are websites like EZineArticles.com which allow people to post articles about a specific topic. For years SEO Marketing companies have used these websites as a way to generate back-links to their websites. Apparently though, Google decided that many of these content farms didn’t really have that relevant of content.
So how does this affect you? It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t submit to these types of sites, but it does mean that they won’t provide as much benefit as they did before. Additionally, it reinforces what you should have already been doing – providing quality, in depth content on your website or on relevant websites that link back to yours (not just any unrelated website).
And about the “Panda”? Apparently someone at Google is named Panda and they are the individual who did a lot of work on the update.