Its Been 9 Years Since Google Unleashed the First Panda Algorithm Update
Monday, February 24th marked the 9-year anniversary that Google unleashed the first Panda algorithm update. On February 24th, 2011, the Google update – later known as Panda, rocked the SEO world. Highly regarded as one of the most significant algorithm updates in the history of Google, the Panda update drastically changed the SEO landscape and how Google deems a website (and page) to be relevant in search results.
According to this article from Search Engine Land, 12% of Google’s search results were drastically changed on that cold day in 2011. Google made it clear in the SEO space that they aimed to drop sites that had “low quality” and “shallow” content. The change had a significant impact on a lot of sites making money and relying on organic traffic as their bread-and-butter.
In fact, Google used to run Panda updates quite frequently during that period. The aim was to hit new websites (several times) that didn’t fit into the new standards of how Google qualified useful sites and quality content. As Google kept running the Panda algorithm over questionable or low-quality sites, their rankings would drop lower and lower – eventually making a low-quality site become “unsearchable.” Now, Panda is a part of the core ranking algorithm and Google does not run standalone updates for Panda anymore.
One of the main things that Panda ended up influencing was how website owners approached their site structure and wrote content for their pages. It forced website owners to not focus on keywords and dubious ranking strategies (grey/black hat SEO) to manipulate Google’s ranking factors. Website owners and content creators now had to take the emphasis off ranking strategies and more on quality, original content, and user experience.