Panda Strike from Google
Rumours about a new Google algorithm are causing a greater headache than normal, and this update is already having a negative effect on search rankings for certain types of websites.
This update, known as "Google Panda" (also referred to as Google Farmer), is estimated to affect 12% of search queries! The size and type of update suggests that it intends to target websites containing duplicate content, typical of scraping and content farm websites. The rationale is simple; Google is looking to get good quality sites listed at the top of search engines for improved user experience.
Although a good idea in principle – as sites deemed to be useless by many will drop in rankings -the policy will also affect some quality sites such as property websites or certain comparison websites. This will also have a profound effect on link strategies, as unique and relevant content matching will only get harder and become more valuable. Legitimate website owners who currently publish their information on multiple websites may fall foul of this. They should alter their strategy by holding back some original content on their own site whilst providing a differing version for others.
Google Panda was sighted in the US on the 24th of February and has already caused thousands of websites to drop in traffic due to loss of ranking. The rollout across other countries is expected soon. Time to assess how your website information is shared!