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The Google Panda 20 Update: Some Key Information

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Google is making everyone aware of the company’s relentless drive to supply better and more useful information.

Following a series of Panda and Penguin updates, Google Panda #20 was released on September __, 2012. This was the first major update since July 24, 2012. More Panda updates are expected to be released within the next few months, and future updates will be more consistent.

Unlike other recent releases, Panda #20 was a fairly major update – one that ran for almost a week. In fact, some 2.4% of English queries were affected and about 0.5% in other languages.

Another interesting thing about Panda #20 is that it overlapped with another algorithmic update dubbed the EMD update, which Google rolled out to target sites with low-quality, exact-match domain names.

This made it tricky for affected SEOs and site owners to determine which update had hit them. Was their site hit for failing to comply with Google Panda standards, or for having a poor exact-match domain name?

Panda was released to devalue sites with “thin content,” or content that offers minimal value. Since its release last year, tons of sites have seen a dramatic drop in rankings. Some, especially notorious content farms, have been removed from Google’s index altogether.

Panda also targeted sites that contained duplicate content. As a result of Panda’s release, black-hat SEO practices have been significantly thrashed. Sites that churn out hundreds of pages with duplicate content were obliterated.

The release of Panda, as well as its equally ferocious sibling Penguin, met with a few complaints as well. Years of hard work and substantial amounts of marketing dollars to push a site to the top of Google rankings were effectively tossed out the window. SEOs, publishers, and site owners, believing they had been following recommended SEO best practices, cried foul.

The hard lesson we can all learn in the aftermath of Google’s algorithmic changes is that, while it’s true that quality is subjective, standards have been laid out.

The stress on quality and authority

Quality and relevance of information is at the heart of every substantial change rolled out by Google. To ensure that every site is on the same page with Google, they have laid out guidelines for site owners to follow.

As far as Panda is concerned, as long as your site’s content is original and offers quality and useful information, you should be fine.

As long as the content strongly relates to the topic and offers great value to your audience, there wouldn’t be any reason for Google to slap you.

Do your link-building activities follow the prescribed or accepted methods? Have you been linking to authority sites, and are authority sites linking back to yours? Do you make a point of regularly checking your link profiles for any potentially damaging links?

There’s no way of telling how many more of Google’s Panda updates are coming in the future, but Matt Cutts has made it clear that Google Panda will be updated and refreshed on a continual basis. This shows how committed Google is to making the Internet a better and more reliable avenue for gleaning valuable information.


It’s crucial to keep abreast of the periodic algorithmic changes that Google rolls out. Keeping yourself on the same page with the search engines is vital to the success of your online business.

If you need help keeping your site compliant with current SEO best practices, contact us. You can also subscribe to our feed to keep yourself in the SEO loop.

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Jayson DeMers

Jayson DeMers is the Founder & CEO of AudienceBloom. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

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