First Panda now Penguin. What are these animal-named updates and how do they affect you? The simple answer is these are both Google algorithm updates that determine and affect page rankings. But to really understand the significance of these updates, you need to know what they do, and how you can avoid them from negatively affecting your website.

In some ways Google Panda and Google Penguin are complimentary algorithms. Panda, which first went live in February 2011, targets web sites with low quality content, while Penguin, which first went live in April 2012, targets web spamming.

Panda looks at elements such as thin content—i.e., content less than 250 words, or not having any relevant information; and, duplicate content—i.e., content that is largely unoriginal and copied from other sources. Panda is a site wide update, which means that if the update catches infractions on few of your web pages, the entire website gets penalized. Recently, a new refresh of Panda was released, which targeted over optimization.

Penguin targets tactics such as keyword stuffing—the deliberate overuse of keywords to generate rankings; cloaking—displaying content on a search engine that is different from what’s on the website; and bad linking to and from external sites. Penguin, like Panda, also looks at duplicated content.

If your site is affected because of Google Penguin or Panda the only way to rectify it is to repair your site such that it avoids black hat SEO techniques and meets Google’s requirements. Since, Google runs a refresh of the update every 6 weeks or so, if you fix your site, once a refresh is run, hopefully, your rankings will recover.

Here are some ways to ensure your site isn’t affected by Google Panda or Google Penguin:

• Maintain relevant, informational content that avoids keyword stuffing.
• Clean up your links. Make sure you aren’t linking to any spammy pages.
• Do not duplicate or copy content. Maintain originality.
• Do not over-clutter your website with too many ads. Have a balanced content-to-ad ratio.

If after following these guidelines you still find you have lost web traffic, or have lost your page rankings or have gone down in page rankings, there might be something you are overlooking. In this case contact an SEO company that uses white hat SEO techniques to help you out.

As Google continues to update its algorithms, it is important for you to keep up to date with the changes as well. The key is maintaining integrity of content. As long as you employ ethical SEO tactics and generate organic, original and relevant content, you can’t go wrong.

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