In a recent Google post on the Webmaster Central Blog, it was reported that the Google Panda Update has been rolled out on a global scale to all English-speaking users. Hundreds of websites that were once ranking high in the Google search engine results experienced dramatic drops in traffic while other site owners have reported a significant increase in traffic. What can you do to make sure that this update doesn’t make your website one of those left behind by this AND future updates which Google is sure to follow up with? In this article, we’ll be talking about the new rules of search and what you can do to adapt and to better prepare for the future.

What is the Google Panda Update?

According to Google’s Amit Singhal. The Panda update has incorporated “new user feedback signals” in order to determine the value of a website. He also stated that the change “goes deeper into the long tail’ of low-quality websites to return higher-quality results where the algorithm might not have been able to make an assessment before.” The objective of the new update is to determine which sites are creating a so-called “high-confidence situation” in regard to user experience. For example, one user behavior that Google will be used to determine the value of a website is how many users choose to block the domain.

Of course, Google has also cloaked many of the specifics about the update under a lot of generalities about “creating a better user experience,” leaving webmasters and marketers only to guess what these changes will mean or how they need to adapt. To add to the frustrations, many popular content delivery sites like have seen a dramatic drop in their traffic and ranking as a result of the Google Panda update going global. Yet, Google remains adamant that this has been an effective experiment, as they stated:

 “Based on our testing, we’ve found the algorithm is very accurate at detecting site quality,”
-Amit Singhal

This statement suggests that this change is not only here to stay, but that we can likely expect more changes of this nature as Google continues to refine and streamline its searching and indexing strategies. So the question now is…what can you do in response to make sure that your website benefits from this change and those to come?

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

The first and most important commitment you can make in response to the Panda update or any change in Google’s algorithm is to focus your content strategy on quality and the demonstration of expertise rather than volume of content and content which applies a “keyword formula” designed to please the search engine spiders at the expense of your readers. Several authority sites on SEO and internet marketing have stated that one of the best moves you can make is “providing true expert content.”

It’s likely that outsourcing sites such as Elance, Osdesk, Guru, and Freelancer will see a drop in jobs searching for cheap writers who are willing to crank out articles and web copy for .01 a word or less. If you plan on hiring content providers for your content marketing strategy, it would be in your best interest to either:

  • Hire writers who have genuine expertise in your topics
  • Pay your writers enough to allow ample time for quality research

It’s common knowledge that someone can produce a superior product if they’re given more time to work on it, and paying even a decent writer fairly will ensure that they have time to commit to creating your expert content. In a sense, nothing has really changed, people still want quality content when they surf the internet and the primary job of the search engines is to make sure that people get it. As long as you keep focused on this, your website isn’t likely to be dramatically impacted by changes to search engine algorithms.

In addition to the commitment to provide high-quality content, webmasters are encouraged to be diligent in tracking and measuring user behaviors and optimizing their websites according to the data they harvest from analyzing user feedback. Every significant change that Google has made in the past two years has involved some kind of response to user behaviors, and things are likely to keep progressing in that direction indefinitely.  

Casualties of War: Will the Good be Punished Along With the Bad?

While Google’s greater commitment to quality is good news for some, it’s also true that Google is a company run by human beings and that human beings can be wrong. Is it possible that quality sites will be punished along with the low-quality sites? Here’s what Google advises if you believe that you have a high-quality site that has been penalized.

“If you believe your site is high-quality and has been impacted by this change, we encourage you to evaluate the different aspects of your site extensively. While we aren’t making any manual exceptions, we will consider this feedback as we continue to refine our algorithms,”   -Amit Singhal

Unfortunately, for anyone who has suffered the frustration of having their site which seemed to follow all of Google’s Ads quality guidelines slapped with a low-quality score, the “While we aren’t making any manual exceptions, we will consider this feedback as we continue to refine our algorithms” part of this statement might mean that if your high-quality site is negatively affected by this change, it’s just tough luck.

If you’re still creating quality content and following a good white hat off-page strategy but are still being seeing a drop in traffic from the Panda update, you might be better off directing your attention towards giving your users what they want than giving Google what they want. In the end, a commitment to serving your visitors with the best quality possible will be the trump card for succeeding at SEO and internet marketing.


With all the panic that surrounds the updates, there is a calm after the storm. If you are using legit SEO practices, supplying your audience with useful and informative content, you should be just fine. Quality is the new world of Google, so just follow suit to stay on track with the major search engine and in good standing with your visitors. 

What you may not have expected from this update was how it would affect your rankings. Some of the big dogs that were chewing up the ranking space are now pushed to the dog house for bad behavior. That means less competition for you, and less competition means higher rankings and increased profits for your business. 

For Further Reading: How to Stay Up to Date on the Changing Rules of SEO

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