Google Penguin & Panda: A Simple Explanation

Google Penguin and PandaIn the search engine optimization (SEO) industry there are a lot of ‘technical’ terms that seem to confuse local business owners. At St. Louis Digital Media, we spend a good amount of time figuring out ways to simplify these ‘technical’ terms so our clients and potential clients will understand how SEO works and why we do what we do.

With that being said, in this article we are going to simplify two technical SEO terms that have been tossed around recently: Google “Penguin” & “Panda” updates.

But before we get into the whole “Penguin” and “Panda” conversation, let’s cover what Google’s Goal is…

Google’s Goal

Just like any successful business, Google wants to offer the best possible products and services to its customers. And just like any customer, you want the best possible products and services presented to you.

Every time you perform a search on Google you are using their product and essentially are their customer. When you perform that search you want a list of the best possible websites that will match whatever it is you are looking for.

For example:

You live in the St. Louis Missouri area and you are looking to replace your countertops. You would like to receive a few different bids, so you turn to Google and search:

‘Countertops in St Louis MO’

By performing this search, you clearly want to find a business that offers countertops in St. Louis Missouri. In this case it is Google’s goal to deliver the best possible list of company websites that provide countertops in St. Louis Missouri… why is this Google’s Goal? Because that is what you (the customer) were searching for on their product. If Google returned a list of just a bunch of random websites that did not provide countertops in St. Louis you would not be a satisfied customer and turn to their competition.

Now that you have an understanding of Google’s Goal we can move onto what Penguin and Panda are…

Penguin & Panda Explained

Any business must constantly roll out new product updates in order to retain its competitive edge. Apple produces a new iPhone every year because it is constantly updating its technology to meet consumer demands…

Penguin & Panda are nothing more than updates to improve Google’s product, the search results, for a better customer experience.

Unless you live under a rock, you understand that there are businesses out there who attempt to ‘game’ the search results in order achieve a higher ranking. Google’s Penguin & Panda updates are rolled out periodically to penalize or even completely remove websites who ‘game’ the search engine results and/or provide a terrible user experience; but, at the same time improve the search results of sites who follow Google’s Guidelines and provide a positive customer experience. If Google did not perform these updates on a regular basis their search results would be full of nothing but spam and you would stop using Google.

What Does Penguin do?

It is commonly known that the more links back to your website the better search engine ranking you will have. The problem is getting links back to your website is not an easy thing to do. When things are difficult, people cheat. Penguin is designed to penalize those who cheat buy purchasing links from ‘link farms’ or ‘link exchanges’ back to their website.

So what is a ‘link farm’ or ‘link exchange’? Websites that are designed to create links back to other websites for a fee in order to achieve a higher search engine ranking.

If you are not involved in a ‘paid link’ scheme or intentionally trying to manipulate search results via links, then Penguin is nothing to worry about.

What Does Panda do?

Over the years I am sure you have performed a search and clicked on a website that was nothing but pop-ups and ads. It was a terrible experience and you just wanted to leave the site.

Panda updates are focused on penalizing the ranking of sites with a poor user experience (like the one mentioned above) and improves the ranking of sites with a positive user experience.

Why does Google do this… because you want to find a website that provides an answer to what you are looking for, not a website with a bunch of popups and ads. Once again, if you could not find what you were looking for on Google you would no longer use Google.

Questions or Comments?

Feel free to leave a comment or contact us if you have any questions about Google’s Penguin or Panda updates.

We are an internet marketing company based in St Louis Missouri providing website design, SEO, Google Adwords Management, social media marketing, and local business marketing to businesses and organizations.