Google has officially rolled out the first Panda Update of 2013, with Panda Update #24 released on the 22nd January 2013. Since the first update rolled out in February 2011, Panda updates have crashed through the SEO world at a relatively fast pace, taking down poor quality sites along the way. There were 14 Panda Updates that occurred in 2012, with 2013 sure to take a similar path.

What do these Panda Updates mean to you?

Not to be confused with the Google Penguin Updates, the angry Panda has a focus on content, and more importantly, the quality of it. The biggest change associated with the first Panda update was that it targeted low quality content on websites so that low quality pages would now bring down your overall site quality and therefore affect the rankings of even your well optimised pages. Prior to this, many SEO’s were able to get away with having a few well optimised pages that they wanted to rank and pay no attention to the rest of the site. The Panda Update changed this method, with all website pages now having an impact on your site’s quality and rankings. Your entire site has to be quality, not just selected pages.

Secondly, it also targeted low quality pages that may have ranked well for niche terms at one point but had little value to users. Things targeted to identify low quality included:

  1. Lack of images
  2. Minimal content (example – a page with only 20, or no words on it)
  3. Duplicate content (more severely than before)
  4. Quality of content (grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.)

While that wasn’t the Panda update in its entirety, the above points are some of the major changes that the update took into account in order to determine a site’s quality. With continual updates, Google are getting even more focused on ensuring that quality ranks, so if you haven’t made content a focus of your strategy, it should be in 2013!