The Differences Between Penguin and Panda Updates

google-panda-and-google-penguinAlthough there are several ways to drive traffic to a website, SEO has been the most reliable method that currently exists for most small businesses. If your site has what searchers are looking for and it is optimized to attract Google, your site can gain quality traffic from search alone; however, there are some “bad” SEO practices that have lead to manipulation of the system, therefore, Google has created a way to place sites of poor quality at the bottom of the rankings, and keep the high quality sites in competition.

Both Panda and Penguin have recently undergone some updates, leaving many site owners contemplating about the differences between the two. Below is an overview of both updates:

Google Panda Update Overview:

In February of 2011, Google made a significant update to Panda. This update would penalize sites that include content of low quality in order to provide users with sites that contain high quality content. Overall, Panda notified SEO marketers that they would have to begin appeasing Google’s search algorithm beyond keyword and linking strategies.

Fundamentally, Google Panda is the change to the algorithm that primarily effects site owners with older sites. Because Google wants to deliver the best results for what people are searching for, they do not want to give searchers websites that have low quality material. Some of the main factors that will affect a site’s ranking in the Google search results include poor site design, no reference of articles through links, poor loading speed and duplicate sites.

Google Panda is a site-wide penalty, meaning that if enough pages on a site are flagged as not having enough content, the entire site could be penalized. Panda was also designed to stop scrappers from outranking the original author’s content.

Google Penguin Update Overview:

In April of 2012, Google launched the Penguin update. This update was designed more to manage spam and penalizing sites that did not follow the quality guidelines of Google. Google Penguin also focuses on targeting Black hat SEO techniques that, surprisingly, many sites use to improve their search engine ranking. Some Black hat techniques include keyword stuffing, links from article directories and directory listings and having excessive links from low quality sites.

As Google has not yet pinpointed precisely what signals Penguin is examining, a large majority of site owners have no idea as to what was wrong about their onsite SEO; however, below are a few contributing factors of Penguin that the SEO community is currently speculating:

1. Aggressive exact-match anchor text
2. Overuse of exact-match domains
3. Low-quality article marketing & blog spam
4. Keyword stuffing in internal/outbound links


Both Google Panda and Google Penguin are designed to minimize the level of “cheating” in the SEO field and it is yet another step towards the production of higher quality in SEO. Although it may take some time for SEO marketers to get used to, it will be well worth the time to embrace Panda and Penguin updates in order to keep their site rankings at the top.