The latest Google update to its search algorithm was named the Panda update. This honing of Google’s search skills was applauded by many who had tired of searches that littered the front pages of the results with a lot of useless websites. Most damaged by the effect of the Panda alteration were certain content mills, internet companies that churn out web pages stocked with keywords and packed with advertisements. For a long time, Google users have complained that these websites were not helpful and wasted their time. The Google update shows that Google listened and re-engineered their search algorithm to effect a change.
The consequences of this Panda effect have been harshest on content mills and other creators of web pages crammed full of ads and keywords strung together almost nonsensically. Many saw no hope for recovery. Their web pages, which had previously come up on the first page of any search, lost rank and fell back a few pages. In some cases, the effect of the Google update was that their web pages just seemed to disappear into the depths of cyberspace. Panda meant a significant loss of income since the chances of anyone clicking on their ads had just dropped precipitously. Search engine optimization (SEO) reached a milestone with Panda, since it turned away from focusing primarily on keywords and number of backlinks. It apparently examines a web page for the quality of the pages that link to it, as well as its placement of keywords.
There has been some recovery from the effect of the Google update. SEO experts scrambled to understand Panda and just what effect it was having on the way Google searches. Some saw a great effect when they made some minor alterations to their web pages. In other cases, content mills had to rethink the way they set up their online products completely in order to make a recovery. Most crucial to recovery for some was cleaning up their past by removing some the worst offenders: web pages under their name that, in effect, did not answer questions and simply littered cyberspace with keywords.
For those on the sidelines, there has been a beneficial effect from the Google update. Recovery from Panda has forced content-producers to take their job seriously and try to create helpful web pages that get listed on the first page of a Google search because the web community recognizes their quality. Recovery has not been easy and some content mills may not survive the effect of Panda. Those that do will, in effect, become producers of more useful content as they adjust to the Google update.
The effect and recovery story may not end here. People will always look for a way to make the internet pay off with easy web page schemes and there will likely be another Google update in the future, similar to Panda or not. It seems certain that content mills are here to stay but they, like everyone else, will have to dodge the effect of the next Panda and suffer through more uncertain recovery periods as they struggle to determine just how the algorithm of the latest Google update works.