Panda 2.0 to 2.1: The Update’s Expansion

Panda was initially rolled out in the United States when it launched in February 2011. By April, Google implemented the algorithmic changes to all English queries even those coming from non-English speaking countries. A month after, the developers tweaked a few things that affected the SERPs but insisted that these were relatively minor compared to previous updates.

What’s It For

With Panda 2.0, Google expanded the improvement worldwide to all English-language Google users. It came with new user feedback signals to facilitate queries and providing them with better search results. One added feature was a block link that can be found directly in the results pages, which enabled users to exclude specific websites from being displayed in the SERPs. In this update, the team incorporated data from this function and Chrome’s Site Blocker into the algorithms.

Another significant benefit of Panda 2.0 was that it dug deeper into the “long tail” of low-quality websites which the algorithm might not have evaluated previously. This helps in ensuring that the search engine can return better results to users.

Panda 2.1, on the other hand, was initially deemed as Panda 3.0. However, because it only consisted of minor changes in the algorithm, the name was changed to 2.1. The team at Google themselves described the update as far smaller than Panda 2.0.

What Were Its Effects

While Panda 2.0 has a more significant impact than 2.1, it still was smaller in scope than the first change. It only affected approximately two percent of US queries, which is lower than the 12 percent that the first Panda update garnered. As for 2.1, the developers didn’t release the number of searches impacted by the slight changes they made in the algorithm.

Google has also admitted that they’re confident in the algorithm’s ability to detect site quality. Although many webmasters vented out their frustrations over the losses they experienced with their sites’ rankings, the team recommends evaluating the various aspects of their domains and improve the sections that aren’t up to par with the search engine’s quality guidelines.

What It Means for You

The team at Google continuously makes algorithmic changes here and there to provide the most relevant and complete results to users. While Panda may play a significant role in your site’s rankings in the SERPs, there are a lot of factors that contribute to it. Instead of fixating on catering to the changes that came along with Panda, you should ensure that you have a top-notch website overall.

Here are a few questions you can ask to get an idea of how Google determines what a high-quality site is:

  • Would you trust this website as a valuable source of information? A lot of elements contribute to how users perceive a website’s authority. Essential factors are design and content. A clean and simple but classy layout can enhance the experience of users especially if the sections are labeled clearly for more understandable navigation. For content, the author of the articles should be recognized as an expert or enthusiast; one who knows the topic in-depth. An excellent way to establish your credibility as a specialist is to provide blog posts that offer valuable information to your readers.
  • Are there duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on similar themes with only minor differences in variations? Duplicate content is a major no-no for SEO because it splits the relevance assigned by the search engine to two or more pages instead of just one. Check your website for this type of content and eliminate the copies as this may help improve the performance of your site in the SERPs.
  • Does the website’s content show quality control? For all your pages, you should ensure that the content doesn’t have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors. This can erode the trustworthiness that you’re trying to establish for your site. Implement quality control measures for each article. Each blog post should give something valuable to readers through insightful analysis or interesting information.
  • Would you be willing to provide the site with your credit card information? Aside from having a clean design, your website must have a security certificate to inform visitors that any interaction or information they share on your domain is encrypted. This feature makes it difficult for hackers to breach the data easily. You can also enlist the help of a third-party financial services provider if you have transactions that require users to give their credit card information. These companies specialize in this service; that’s why they have more defenses in place to protect your data.