Search Marketing: Penguins and Pandas

June 1, 2012 - Digital State Marketing

Recently the search marketing community have been discussing, and in some instances, cursing the ‘Penguin’. Previously it was the ‘Panda’ at the receiving end. So what have these harmless sounding animals got the SEO community panicking about?

Unless you are a part of the search marketing community the ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin’ dilemma will have very little meaning to you. It appears now though that anyone who has suffered a dramatic reduction in traffic is now blaming the ‘Panda’ or the ‘Penguin’. They are, when translated or defined, simply algorithms. Why then in our technically driven environment have these algorithms been assigned such interesting monikers?

Well Panda as a term seems to have come from Google itself, which is not as strange as it sounds, when you take a look at the names they have given to Android operating systems. Ice cream sandwich anyone? Penguin seems however, to have been imposed upon them by journalists keen to put a name to the latest updates.

These algorithms were designed to promote ethical search marketing and therefore in our eyes can only be regarded in positive light. Here at the Digital State Marketing we operate on a ‘white hat’ policy and work hard to achieve positive grading thus ranking for our clients. This means working within the parameters that Google have set as well as ‘battling’ with the occasional black and white animal.

So what have the ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin’ been up to? And are we a little too hasty to blame them for reduced traffic and lower rankings, rather than our own practices?

In Feb 2011 the ‘Panda’ set out to sanction poor quality websites, particularly those which were likely to occur high in the rankings but  score lowly in terms of relevance, considering the term searched. The impact of this serves to benefit the human user. In this instance experts have estimated that the ‘Panda’ paid particular attention to the dates of websites and their recent activity.

The ‘penguin’ holds more of an air of mystery about it but it is certainly apparent that the penguin is on the prowl for sites displaying signs of ‘over optimisation’. It has been suggested by SEO practitioners that the ‘Penguin’ is particularly tough on keyword stuffing.