Last week, Google released its detailed assessment of search updates from June and July. While there were 86 different changes to Google’s various algorithms and ranking signals, adjustments to Panda appeared to occupy most of the company’s time. According to Scott Huffman, engineering director for Google, there were five separate changes to Panda in these two months. For marketers, Google’s consistent innovation with its foremost quality algorithm demonstrates a need to focus on high-quality website content to succeed with SEO.
Brafton highlighted two of three changes, as they were entirely new Panda iterations, 3.7, 3.8 and 3.9. These updates were relatively minor, and focused mostly on improving Google’s ability to identify high-quality websites and weed out those offering poor content.
“We’ve incorporated new data into the Panda algorithm to better detect high-quality sites and pages,” Huffman wrote.
Despite this revelation, developing original, informative content will still help marketers build and maintain a strong search position. However, the addition of new ranking factors means consistently improving content to ensure relevance and quality is even more important. Ultimately, the change is likely a minor one, but Google’s commitment to make Panda as thorough as possible indicates that some are still developing low-quality content and exploiting loopholes in the algorithm.
The fifth change to Google Panda was the rollout of the first Panda iteration for Japanese and Korean searches.
Other adjustments include the inclusion of event schedules for users who search for city or town names. The freshness factor algorithm, rich snippets and safesearch also received adjustments to make them more effective and relevant for users.
Brafton recently highlighted some improvements to Webmaster Tools that provide marketers with a better understanding of the formula used to develop the snippets that appear on SERPs and describe sites to searchers. A better understanding of the way snippets are processed can help companies catch more clicks from relevant audiences.
Interestingly, Google Penguin, its webspam algorithm, was not included in June or July’s search updates. After rolling out the algorithm on April 24 and releasing 1.1 on May 29, Google has not updated Penguin since.