The original Panda update in 2011 was targeted at low quality sites or website with a ‘thin’ amount of content. Google wanted to decrease the rank of these sites and reward quality sites with higher search positions. News websites and social networks saw a big increase in rankings while sites with lots of advertising and scraped content saw large drops in rankings.
Matt Cutts is passionate about decreasing the amount of spam on the Internet and he has made no secret of the fact that he wants to stop people manipulating and trying to abuse the system. He wants to stop spammers cheating their way to the top of search results. As a result of this he also commented that there would also be a VERY large Penguin update before the end of 2013.
Matt Cutts discussed that Google will be taking down 1 or 2 large link networks in the coming weeks. Google has been monitoring them over the past few months and they now feel ready to take action.
Cutts also highlighted website security issues that could leave your website vulnerable to attack by spammers. Some spammers are targeting large organisations by placing links on their websites without the owners knowledge. He gave a specific example of a well known university having an link on their homepage for ‘cheap viagra pills’. This wasn’t visible to human visitors to the website unless you inspected the code. The problem is that the Googlebot that crawls your website can see that this link exists.
If your website is ranking for phrases that that are unusual or unexpected you should probably carry out further investigation. To do this and see your website as Google sees it you can use the ‘Fetch as Googlebot’ tool in your Webmaster Tools.
To use the Fetch as Google tool, you’ll need to have added and verified your site in Google Webmaster Tools. Then –
- Choose the site you want to inspect (you can have more than one website in your Google Webmaster Tools)
- On the Dashboard, under Health, click Fetch as Google
- Type the URL of the page you want to check (or leave it blank to check your homepage)
- In the dropdown list, choose Web to see what the Googlebot sees when it crawls your site
- Click Fetch
- If the fetch is successful then click on the blue Success wording to see you website as the Googlebot sees it
With this new update coming you’ll want to make sure that you’re checking the messages Google is sending to your Google Webmaster Tools regularly. It could help you identify early on if your website is going to experience problems so you can act quickly to fix it.
If you need help verifying Google Webmaster Tools for your website then please contact us and we can arrange for one of our Consultants to help you. Call 0800 622 6100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even though a new Panda update is coming, don’t panic! If you’ve been creating good quality content on your website and not trying to cheat Google then you have nothing to fear!
The update is meant to target spammers and people trying to trick their way to good rankings. Google wants to reward websites with great content that visitors want to read and share.