Google Panda, Penguin Updates May 2012

Since Google rolled out the Penguin update in late April, the eyes of the SEO world have drifted away from the last big update, Panda. But that doesn’t mean Google has forgotten about its favorite bear. Every month brings more updates to the dreaded algorithm update that webmasters should know about.

Here are a few of the big updates and development from May of 2012.

  • Google Webmaster Academy – The hive mind at Google is offering Panda-afflicted webmaster some guidance for getting back on track. Webmaster Academy is a series of tutorials and articles that give webmasters a Google-approved guide to creating search-engine friendly websites and content. None of the lessons are particularly in-depth, but it’s hard to beat what amounts to a Google-approved SEO guide.
  • Panda 3.7? – There hasn’t been any official announcements from Matt Cutts’ Web Spam team yet but webmasters are buzzing about a new Panda refresh. What some are calling¬† Panda 3.7 rolled out in waves late in the month. Google has so far denied the rumors.
  • Panda Patent Filed? – Over at Chris Crum points a nugget that’s got Google patent watchers buzzing. (Yes, there a number of sites that spend a lot of time analyzing every patent filed by the search engine giant.) Last month Google filed a patent for something called, “Feature selection for large scale models.” If you’re interested in the technical details, check out The Google Panda Patent by Bill Slawski over at SEObythesea.
  • Negative SEO Debate – As webmasters get a better handle on bouncing back from Panda and Penguin they’ve been wondering if the new SEO rules can be turned against them. Is it possible for a competitor to point low-quality links at your site to torpedo your page rankings? Google said it isn’t possible but SEO pundits aren’t so sure. Now, even the Webspam team doesn’t seem do sure. The jury is definitely still out on this one.

What was the Panda up to last month? Check out our April 2012 Panda Update.

Sorting it All Out

Between Panda and Penguin, keeping up with exactly what Google is penalizing and why. Techniques that were completely kosher a year ago, like paid link exchanges, can draw serious penalties today.

Panda is still with us.

It’s the same story with low quality content. For years, Google tolerated content that was little more than a collection of keywords and pronouns, without penalty. Today, that kind of content will sink your site to oblivion.

The question affiliates should be asking themselves is why they were using these techniques in the first place? Visitors to a gaming affiliate site aren’t going to be impressed by incoherent articles that bring nothing in the way value. Webmasters are better off sticking to White Hat SEO techniques that are Google-approved and make a visit to your sites a better experience for visitors.

Are you still feeling the impact of Panda? Share your experiences with us on our Search Engine Optimization Forum.