Google Panda is a change to the Google’s search results ranking algorithm that was first released in February 2011. The change aimed to lower the rank of “low-quality sites”, and return higher-quality sites near the top of the search results. CNET reported a surge in the rankings of news websites and social networking sites, and a drop in rankings for sites containing large amounts of advertising. This change reportedly affected the rankings of almost 12 percent of all search results. Soon after the Panda rollout, many websites, including Google’s webmaster forum, became filled with complaints of scrapers/copyright infringers getting better rankings than sites with original content. At one point, Google publicly asked for data points to help detect scrapers better. Google’s Panda has received several updates since the original rollout in February 2011, and the effect went global in April 2011. To help affected publishers, Google published an advisory on its blog, thus giving some direction for self-evaluation of a website’s quality.
Google Panda was built through an algorithm update that used artificial intelligence in a more sophisticated and scalable way than previously possible. Human quality testers rated thousands of websites based on measures of quality, including design, trustworthiness, speed and whether or not they would return to the website. Google’s new Panda machine-learning algorithm, made possible by and named after engineer Navneet Panda, was then used to look for similarities between websites people found to be high quality and low quality.The Panda process
Many new ranking factors have been introduced to the Google algorithm as a result, while older ranking factors like PageRank have been downgraded in importance. Google Panda is updated from time to time and the algorithm is run by Google on a regular basis.On April 24, 2012 the ‘Penguin’ update was released, which affected a further 3.1% of all English language search queries, highlighting the ongoing volatility of search rankings.
Google Panda impacts an entire site’s ranking or specific section rather than just the individual pages on a site.
In addition to other changes, Panda seems to focus on the date of a web page. Some experts think this has adversely impacted sites with lots of “evergreen content”. Because evergreen content usually has an older publication date, Panda seems to reduce its visibility in search results. For searchers looking for in-depth information, many of these evergreen posts are great sources of knowledge on a topic. If these evergreen web pages happen to be on a blog they also often contain a long comment thread with lots of additional, valuable information. In the future Google may have to address how evergreen pages are listed in search results when recent results are more superficial in nature. Google Panda v3.2 was released January 14th, 2012, v3.3 was released in February 29th, 2012, v3.4 was released on March 23rd, 2012 and v3.5 on April 19, 2012. Also there was a Google panda v3.6 update which was a small update at April 27th according to the various sources.According to Google these updates were just a “data refresh”, meaning if site was not punished previously just by mistake it will be punished now and if a site was punished wrongly punishment will be removed.
As of the past few weeks, primarily in the months of February/March, Google updated Panda and stated that they are deploying an “over-optimization penalty,” in order to level the playing field. Numerous websites have been hit, and penalized, and many owners have received messages through Google webmaster tools, declaring their tactics are outside of google’s guidelines, and that they have an unnatural link velocity. The reference to query optimized, organic SEO still remains a debate to most of the webmasters..\