Can you ever have too much of a good thing? According to Google, the answer is 'yes' when it comes to SEO.
In the past couple of years, the search giant has made a concerted effort to improve the quality of its index.
The measures taken are wide-ranging, from updates targeting content farms to the more recently announced penalty for pages with too many ads.
Now Google is apparently set to take its efforts one step further by targeting pages and sites it deems have been over-optimised.
Google’s Panda update was a direct attack on bad content, which comes in many different flavours, including duplicate, weak, thin and template.
Panda acts like a domain wide penalty, so your whole site is affected and your good pages are dragged down by your bad pages.
This is a guide on how to find and fix Google's Panda algorithm update, based on our Panda fighting experience at SEOgadget in 2011.
For companies hit by Google's Panda updates, the search giant's approach to cleaning up its index may seem quite unfair.
But if Google has been aggressive with Panda, its efforts appear to be
no match when compared to Microsoft's efforts to increase index quality
on Bing. Need proof? Just ask CyberMonday.com, which is run by the
National Retail Federation's Shop.org.
Google's efforts to improve its SERPs are no secret. From Panda to Freshness, Google's strategy can be summed up briefly: filter out the junk, promote quality and relevance.
When it comes to the former, Google may be considering an interesting approach: penalize pages that it believes have too many ads.
Love them or hate them, content farms are a reality on today's web. Thanks to the strength of the search economy, savvy upstart publishers realized that there was money to be made mass-producing search engine-friendly content on the cheap.
But content farming's success may have been its downfall. As the SERPs filled up with articles of dubious value, search engines have fought back. Some went so far as to ban well-known content farms from their indexes.
Banning large, prominent sites is, for obvious reasons, a challenging proposition for Google. But it too has fought back hard against content farms using ts algorithm.
While the verdict is out as to whether it's changes are improving search quality on the world's largest search engine, it appears that some content farmers are adjusting their businesses.
Last Wednesday, Google rolled out a new update, dubbed Panda 2.5.
As is customary when Google releases a notable update, all eyes were on which sites gained the most in the SERPs, and which ones lost the most.
Google's Panda update was designed to eliminate spam and content farm
content, thus improving the quality of Google's index and SERPs.
Many sites caught in Panda's grip claim that they were unintended
victims of the update, and have sought ways to recover.
Many have been
unsuccessful in reestablishing themselves with Google, but according to
the Wall Street Journal, one publisher may have found the secret to recovery.
Talk to publishers about Google's Panda update, and chances are you'll find at least a few who haven't had a pleasant experience.
Google's goal of cleaning up its index may be desirable, and perhaps even necessary, but many publishers feel their legitimate websites were collateral damage.
Content may be king. At least that's what many companies in the business of producing content think for obvious reasons.
Take Demand Media, for instance. It's so confident that its content is an appreciating asset that will produce value over a long period of time that it amortizes the costs of producing content over five years.
Google's Farmer update has made it harder to build search and social profiles with mediocre or derivative content.
And that's likely to hit medium-sized firms harder than anyone...