Panda and Penguin: It’s Not so Black and White
I recently read a great article by Dave Davies over on Search Engine Watch that had me thinking. Titled “Which Update?” Is The Wrong Question, he says:
“Most people don’t fully understand how the algorithms themselves can impact your rankings and thus looking to a single algorithm tends to put the blinders on to other areas. Let’s say for example that you noticed a drop in your organic traffic starting in late September. That would tie in pretty tightly to the Panda 4.1 update and so it would seem pretty logical to start vetting your content. A drop in traffic tied to the Panda algorithm has to be related to content, right? Wrong, and it’s this focus on a specific update tied to a misunderstanding of the updates themselves that can cause a huge issue.”
What a great point. If you notice a drop in your Google organic traffic, it’s easy to pinpoint the timeframe in which it happened, look at a list of published (confirmed) Google algorithm updates and quickly decide what Google thinks is “wrong” with your website. If it’s a Panda update, Google doesn’t like your content. If it’s a Penguin update, Google doesn’t like your link profile. What Davies essentially is saying is, “not so fast”.
The Google algorithm needs to be looked at as a whole. Panda and Penguin shouldn’t be viewed as two completely separate entities that have no relation to each other. It’s not as if Panda ONLY means content and Penguin ONLY means links. After all, what is attached to content? Links! For example, if you see a dip in your traffic after a Panda update, it might not mean that your content is bad. What it could mean is that the content on the sites that linked over to your page of content was bad, those sites got “hit” by Panda, lost value, and you guessed it- those links to your content lost value too! The result of which is that your page was hit only by association, NOT because your content was terrible.
The bottom line is that when it comes to these Google updates, it’s important to not jump to conclusions. It could result in making the wrong tweaks to your website and SEO strategy that could possibly hurt your website even more.
Even before the next Google algorithm update rolls out, it’s important to take a good hard look at your website. Is the content good? How’s your link profile looking? Be honest and if you have the resources available, it can’t hurt to have the site audited by an SEO professional who knows what to look for and can make recommendations.
These Google updates aren’t stopping anytime soon. In fact there’s talk that they are going to become more frequent. Great for those that are working on improving their site, not so good for those that aren’t. It’s important to be proactive. If you haven’t been “hit” yet, congratulations! Just remember that you aren’t immune. These search updates aren’t coming out of nowhere. We know they are coming, so it’s up to you as a website owner to continually be analyzing and tweaking your website and SEO strategy to stay in the clear.
Categorized in: Search Engines
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