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Measuring the Impact of Google’s Search Update: Panda

March 23, 2011 Digital Media Solutions

Pandas drinking from bottlesGoogle has done it again. Recently, Google conducted the “Panda Update.” If you pay attention to tech news, you may know this reshuffling of search rankings as the “Farmer Update.” This update is the largest that Google has conducted, reshuffling 12 percent of all search rankings. This reshuffling has already impacted several web pages, both positively and negatively. The impact of the panda update upon your site is highly determined by the quality of your content.

Some of the largest sites that were impacted were Mahalo and eZine Articles. These sites run solely on user submissions and the quality of content is considered to be low. While these are two examples they are certainly not the only sites with poor quality that were impacted they are among the largest.

The update has not only helped to push low quality sites down in rankings but has also had an impact on sites with strong, well written content. Google has stated that no algorithm will be perfect. This means that they will not make any exceptions or considerations for any one site affected.

We have personally seen positive repercussions for most of our sites and the sites of our clients. One specific client has seen an increase in traffic as a result to the new update due the depth and the amount of content. Length of content also has an impact. Prior to the update, much emphasis was placed on having at least 250 words per content piece, but following the update the new standard is at least 400 words. There have also been changes in the keywords. Pre-update, we tracked some keywords that remained consistently at position 20, the bottom of the second page of search result. Following the update, these keywords began to appear on the first page of search results.

The key insight to take away from the “Panda” or “Farmer” update is that quality content is the most important component of a website. Your site needs to be targeted towards the user more frequently than in the past and less at the search engine. Large amounts of poor content will no longer get you the conversion rate desired.

About the Author

Digital Media Solutions

Founded by a team of lifelong athletes, Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. The company’s set of proprietary assets and capabilities in the world of performance marketing and marketing technology allow clients to meticulously target and acquire the right customers. DMS relentlessly pursues flawless execution for top brands within highly complex and competitive industries including mortgage, education, insurance, consumer brands, careers and automotive.

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