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Google’s Panda Algorithm
Make that big bad bear chew bamboo for
you.


                            Michael Cottam
                            me@michaelcottam.com
                            www.michaelcottam.com
                            @Michael512




                            9 October 2012
What is Panda?
• Not a bear.
• Meet Navneet Panda, a Google Engineer
We have his resume:
• Coincidence? I think not…
Seriously, why “Panda”?
      • Danny Sullivan called the algo
        change “Farmer”
        – Targeting content “farms”
          (eHow, article factories, etc.)
      • Sorry Danny, that’s BORING
      • Navneet Panda was a key
        engineer on that team
      • He’s a machine learning guy
Panda is:
• A new ranking factor
  – NOT a new algorithm on its own
  – NOT a manual penalty
• Overall idea: use an estimation of “quality”
  of the content as a ranking factor
• So…does it penalize or boost sites?
Dissection of the Panda
     • Human quality raters rate pages
     • Machine learning: what’s common
       between pages that suck?
       – Or that rock?
     • Tweak the algo, and see if the new
       results have better sites in the top
       spots
       – Feb 23 2011 Panda 1.0 - affected 12%
         of search results
2 Years of algo changes:
    it’s not all Panda
        •   Penguin (of course)
        •   Reduction in impact of EMDs
        •   Venice (“local universal” results)
        •   # of results from the same domain
        •   Emanuel Update: penalty for DMCA take-
            downs
        •   7-result SERPs
        •   Over 500 little updates to the algo/year
        •   Knowledge Graph
        •   Parked domains
        •   Search + Your World
        •   Freshness update
        •   Rel=next, rel=prev
• It’s definitely NOT:                      What
   –
   –
       Content farms
       Thin affiliates
                                      is “quality”?
   –   Scraper sites
   –   Sites with excessive ads
        • Especially above-the-fold
   – Made-For-Adsense
   – Thin price-comparison sites
Grrrr….make Panda angry




• http://www.fixya.com/support/t6451689-switch_
Mmmm…make Panda happy
         Quality, measured by:

• Low bounce rate
• Dwell time on site
• Original content (inc. images!)
• LOTS of content


                      • Rich content (maps, video, pics)
                      • Trust signals
                      • Expert/authority signals
Google Dance/Panda Dance
• The Bear Dances Slowly
• Each page gets a quality “score”
                   • Calculations to come up with scores for all
                   pages in the Google index takes WEEKS

                   • Algo hasn’t changed much, but…

                   • “Data refresh” comes every month or two
Make that furball chew FOR you
         • Rich content
           – Maps, BIG photos, videos, lots of original text

         • Consolidate similar pages
         • Minimize ad real estate above the
           fold
         • Use original images
               Examples:
                  • Bora bora helicopter tours
                  • Corvair at Keels
                  • BMW M1 Monterey
References
•   Navneet Panda’s resume:
    http://www.shmula.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/navneet-panda-go
•   SEOmoz chart of Google algo changes:
    http://www.seomoz.org/google-algorithm-change
•   Matt Cutts video: “quality raters don’t affect the algo directly”:
    http://searchengineland.com/video-google-speaks-about-search-quality
•   Google’s public declaration of what makes quality in a page:
    http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2011/05/more-
    guidance-on-building-high-quality.html
•   Google’s reverse image search:
    http://images.google.com/imghp?hl=en
•   Great reference on Panda from .NET Magazine:
    http://www.netmagazine.com/features/10-things-you-need-
    know-about-google-panda-and-penguin
•   List of specific Google algo changes in August/September:
    http://searchengineland.com/googles-august-september-
    updates-panda-knowledge-graph-page-quality-safesearch-
    135397
•   Our “gangnam style” video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
    v=_bKs_R1AxME

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Pandas

  • 1. Google’s Panda Algorithm Make that big bad bear chew bamboo for you. Michael Cottam me@michaelcottam.com www.michaelcottam.com @Michael512 9 October 2012
  • 2. What is Panda? • Not a bear. • Meet Navneet Panda, a Google Engineer
  • 3. We have his resume: • Coincidence? I think not…
  • 4. Seriously, why “Panda”? • Danny Sullivan called the algo change “Farmer” – Targeting content “farms” (eHow, article factories, etc.) • Sorry Danny, that’s BORING • Navneet Panda was a key engineer on that team • He’s a machine learning guy
  • 5. Panda is: • A new ranking factor – NOT a new algorithm on its own – NOT a manual penalty • Overall idea: use an estimation of “quality” of the content as a ranking factor • So…does it penalize or boost sites?
  • 6. Dissection of the Panda • Human quality raters rate pages • Machine learning: what’s common between pages that suck? – Or that rock? • Tweak the algo, and see if the new results have better sites in the top spots – Feb 23 2011 Panda 1.0 - affected 12% of search results
  • 7. 2 Years of algo changes: it’s not all Panda • Penguin (of course) • Reduction in impact of EMDs • Venice (“local universal” results) • # of results from the same domain • Emanuel Update: penalty for DMCA take- downs • 7-result SERPs • Over 500 little updates to the algo/year • Knowledge Graph • Parked domains • Search + Your World • Freshness update • Rel=next, rel=prev
  • 8. • It’s definitely NOT: What – – Content farms Thin affiliates is “quality”? – Scraper sites – Sites with excessive ads • Especially above-the-fold – Made-For-Adsense – Thin price-comparison sites
  • 9. Grrrr….make Panda angry • http://www.fixya.com/support/t6451689-switch_
  • 10. Mmmm…make Panda happy Quality, measured by: • Low bounce rate • Dwell time on site • Original content (inc. images!) • LOTS of content • Rich content (maps, video, pics) • Trust signals • Expert/authority signals
  • 11. Google Dance/Panda Dance • The Bear Dances Slowly • Each page gets a quality “score” • Calculations to come up with scores for all pages in the Google index takes WEEKS • Algo hasn’t changed much, but… • “Data refresh” comes every month or two
  • 12. Make that furball chew FOR you • Rich content – Maps, BIG photos, videos, lots of original text • Consolidate similar pages • Minimize ad real estate above the fold • Use original images Examples: • Bora bora helicopter tours • Corvair at Keels • BMW M1 Monterey
  • 13. References • Navneet Panda’s resume: http://www.shmula.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/navneet-panda-go • SEOmoz chart of Google algo changes: http://www.seomoz.org/google-algorithm-change • Matt Cutts video: “quality raters don’t affect the algo directly”: http://searchengineland.com/video-google-speaks-about-search-quality • Google’s public declaration of what makes quality in a page: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2011/05/more- guidance-on-building-high-quality.html • Google’s reverse image search: http://images.google.com/imghp?hl=en • Great reference on Panda from .NET Magazine: http://www.netmagazine.com/features/10-things-you-need- know-about-google-panda-and-penguin • List of specific Google algo changes in August/September: http://searchengineland.com/googles-august-september- updates-panda-knowledge-graph-page-quality-safesearch- 135397 • Our “gangnam style” video: http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=_bKs_R1AxME