For those in the rational world, pandas are cute bears, originating in China and chewing on bamboo.

For SEOs however pandas are something completely different. Google Panda is one of the four major Google algorithms and is arguably the most important one of 2015 with predictions of numerous updates throughout the year. So, with that in mind, what is Google Panda?

What is Google Panda?

Google Panda is the Google algorithm for lowering the rank of sites considered “thin sites”, with little high quality content on them. It was made live in 2011 and takes into account the relevance of the site, the quality of the content, and even the layout of the webpage in order to judge the overall quality of the site. For the first two years Google Panda was updated monthly, however, in 2013 it was announced that future updates would be less noticeable. Now it just rolls them out systematically, without notice. This means that Search Executives have to be on the ball, keeping an eye on analytics in order to spot when Panda takes effect.

Over the past few years Google Panda has made the biggest difference in terms of actual search rankings. In 2011 a large number of sites found themselves penalised, and this continued for the years since.

Google Panda seeks to filter websearches using a relatively simple formula, based around the simple question; can a site be trusted to have beneficial or relevant content?  If the answer is yes then the site is trustworthy, if not then the site gets knocked down the rankings. Although this is an incredibly simplified way of looking at things, it is the basis for the mathematical equations and processes behind the algorithm.

All of these algorithms are working towards one thing - making search results better. Through doing this Google levels the playing field as it removed the chance for companies with money just to buy their way to the top of Google by using Black Hat SEO techniques.