Several months ago, Google significantly changed the way its algorithm works by unleashing an update now called Panda. Panda, which many referred to as the Farmer update went it was first released focused on content farms. Content farms are sites that either scrape content or churn out lots of content for the sole purpose of monetizing it for ads. In fact, when Panda was released its impact was widespread and it ultimately changed about 12% of its entire web rankings. Sites such as About.com, eHow.com, article distribution sites and more were affected. So with a new Panda update being released any day now, many webmasters and businesses are on edge.
What Will the Panda 2.2 Update Target?
While the Panda 2.2 update has not yet been released yet, many (including sources inside Google) have stated it will focus on scraper sites and sites that use duplicate content. In addition, the Panda 2.2 should be looked at as a manually run update- meaning that we can expect this type of update to run every few months. Google does filter its content regularly and automatically. For instance, it can usually immediately filter and reduce your site’s rankings if you have hidden text, bogus links or if you are keyword stuffing. However, in some cases duplicate content requires a closer look. This is why Google is actually taking the time to run a special update to look for content that has been either scraped or duplicated throughout the web.
Who Should be Concerned?
There are plenty of developers on the web that should be concerned that their rankings will drop. Many web developers just haven’t gotten the memo all these years that unique, quality content is one of the best assets for SEO rankings. Many web developers trying to make a quick buck use duplicate content or worse, scrape content off other sites without their permission. In addition, spinning content (using one piece of unique content to create many semi-unique pieces of content by spinning select words and replacing them with new ones) should be avoided as well.
Google has stated that this update will focus on removing duplicated content with a focus on determining the original source from its upper rankings. So for those sites that have suffered from others stealing content- you will definitely rest easier after this update since those sites should see a drop in their rankings.
Tips for SEO/SEM and Web Developers
As always, having fresh, unique content is one of the best ways to not only drive traffic, but to enhance rankings in the SERPs. Now more than ever, it is important to create fresh content that is unique to your site. If you have multiple websites that you own, but that share content, make sure whatever duplicate content you have on a site is replaced with unique content. If you don’t, you will probably drop in the rankings. In addition, you might be pleased to learn in the next few weeks that those that have scraped content from your site have dropped precipitously off the SERPs due to the Panda 2.2 update.