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What's Penguin and Panda?

  1. Jennifer Suchey profile image90
    Jennifer Sucheyposted 3 years ago via iphone

    These terms come up a lot in discussion, generally in a negative way. What do they refer to exactly?

    1. Greekgeek profile image97
      Greekgeekposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      They're code names Google uses for two major add-ons to its search algorithm. They help Google decide how to rank and list the webpages it spits out when you do a search on Google.

      Since most web users use Google to search for things, and they typically click on and visit only the top few sites listed on Google search results pages (SERPs), websites like hubpages live or die depending on how highly Google's algorithm tends to rank that site.

      That's the short story. Here's the long one.

      The Panda algorithm concentrates on content. If a site has a lot of duplicate content (content found elsewhere on the web), content that is thin or poorly-written, content on spam topics like weight loss and acai berries that scammers tend to write about to make a quick buck, bad English and poor grammar that suggests articles have been put through a translator (poorly), or content that is just filler written to target popular search terms and not because the writer actually knows much about the topic, then Panda downranks the site. The SITE. This means that every page hosted on that site gets handicapped, like a golf handicap, so that it will have trouble rising to the top of SERPS through its own merits even if it's a good page in a sea of junk.

      Whereas if a site has a lot of original, useful, well-written, in-depth content that satisfies visitors' needs and gives them what they're looking for, Panda may give that site a good score, and then articles on that site will tend to rank higher than if they were posted somewhere else.

      The Panda score used to be recalculated once or twice a month, and then folded into the main Google algorithm that also looks at many other factors -- although Panda was a strongly weighted factor -- when deciding how to list search results. Since March, Panda has been recalculated continuously, so we no longer see dates when traffic changes drastically (at least from Panda).

      Hubpages tried to counterbalance the Panda effect by giving each of our accounts its own subdomain, like this: yourname.hubpages.com. Hubpages hoped that Google would assign separate panda scores to each subdomain, so that good writers would not be disadvantaged by the bad. It is very difficult to tell whether the Panda algorithm really cares about subdomains. Even after dividing our accounts into separate subdomains, Hubpages' traffic still rose or fell after Panda updates, although it may have softened the blow a bit.

      Panda is an automated algorithm, so it's not perfect at determining what's  a "high quality site." But that's its goal. (In fact, Google spelled out what Panda tries to look for.)

      Panda started in Feb 2011, and initially CLOBBERED Hubpages' traffic, as you can see if you go to Quantcast.com which tracks website traffic.

      Penguin started at the beginning of 2012. Instead of looking at content, Penguin focuses on links. Many websites tried to manipulate Google into ranking their pages better by planting links on link directories, guestbooks, comment reply boxes, forums, or even by creating fake blog posts linking to their websites, since links pointing to a page are one factor Google uses to decide how well to rank that page. This is all called Linkspam.

      Penguin tries to recognize which places are used by people dropping links just to make their stuff rank bretter (Redgage, for example) and which are "natural" links that were shared by people who really ARE linking to something they think is good. Penguin culls any ranking benefit from links it thinks are self-promotional or manipulative, and can downrank an entire site, just like Panda, if it thinks that site is actively engaging in a lot of link spam.

      We are less affected by Penguin than Panda, becaue most hubbers haven't been spamming the web with links to their hubs at the levels of linkspam that Penguin is really designed to penalize. At most, hubbers may be sharing links in places that Penguin simply doesn't count. (Which, actually, is fine: if you're sharing a link for PEOPLE to see, click on, and explore, and don't care about search engines, that's fine! Just make sure you're sharing in a way that's not intrusive or annoying.)

      1. Jennifer Suchey profile image90
        Jennifer Sucheyposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Thanks so much for your in depth explanation, Greekfeek. You explained it very well and it didn't hurt my brain nearly as much as I expected it to It's almost like you're a writer or something. wink

    2. Jennifer Suchey profile image90
      Jennifer Sucheyposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Thanks for all the replies. I appreciate it.

  2. SerraB profile image84
    SerraBposted 3 years ago

    Short version: The way Google views and then ranks your page in search engine results. If you go to wikipedia there's an entry for google panda and google penguin.
    Long version: I'm sure others will have discussion points on the topic, but I don't know much about it except trying to jump through spiked hoops. Forever.

  3. prettydarkhorse profile image63
    prettydarkhorseposted 3 years ago

    This is also a helpful link aside from the above post : http://moz.com/blog/the-difference-betw … -panda-too

  4. rebekahELLE profile image91
    rebekahELLEposted 3 years ago

    There's so much written on both topics.  These are algorithmic changes to Google's search engines affecting different aspects of online publishing/marketing.  The goal of these changes/updates is to increase the quality of search results.
    If you want to read articles starting at the beginning when Google unleashed the initial Panda change, scroll down about halfway on this moz link to Feb. 23, 2011 Panda/Farmer.

    A Panda update can increase or decrease traffic to a site, dramatically.  It targets low quality.
    A Penguin update will affect rankings in search results (a decline in top performing keywords), with a result of decreased organic google traffic.  It targets sites with low quality links/questionable SEO practices.

    EDIT:  I didn't see GG's post.  Great explanation!

  5. Barbara Kay profile image85
    Barbara Kayposted 3 years ago

    It might target poor content, but from my searches even worse results are showing up. One search term had 5 Pinterest boards on the front page. I don't call that quality content.

  6. Writer Fox profile image80
    Writer Foxposted 3 years ago

    The Google Panda algorithm targets several things. (See my Hub, 'Google Panda', for the list.)  HubPages has failed to recoup the sustained pattern of growth it had until Panda was first rolled out on February 24, 2011. Although HubPages seeks to improve the quality of Hubs, the Quality Assessment does not follow the rubric used by Google Quality raters.  (Though I won't give you that full assessment tool, Google posted a condensed version online that you can read – it's about 50 pages.)

    Contrary to the dissertation above, the Google Penguin algorithm hit HubPages.com on May 25, 2012 and again on the October 9, 2012, update.  And Penguin isn't just about backlinks.  You can read my Hub, 'Google Penguin', for the full list of webspam.

    One of the main violations on HubPages is that there is no way to choose to NoFollow a link to an affiliate, your eBay store or Zazzle listings.  I brought this up on a forum question three weeks ago and was told by an employee that I could allow my Hubber/Hub score to drop to get a NoFollow link!  Not only that, but the title of my forum post was changed:

    So long as this is the attitude of HubPages' management, there's little that Hub authors can do.

    Failure to use the NoFollow attribute on advertorials is a major violation of Google Webmaster Guidelines and Matt Cutts just posted yet another video on the topic:

    Until HubPages takes Google's requirements more seriously, people will continue to post on this forum about low traffic from Google.

  7. jessyk profile image82
    jessykposted 3 years ago

    Like some people said - both of them are example for Google's algorithm changes