Is Panda 2.2 a Long Term Fix?
At the SMX Conference Google’s Matt Cutts announced that Panda version 2.2 had been developed, approved and was due to be unleashed soon. According to Barry Schwartz at search engine land, this happened around a week ago today. So all you SEO professionals and DIY’ers better hold on to your hats as the ride could be as bumpy as it was with the previous Panda which sank it’s teeth well and truly into the content farms earlier this year. I expect as with previous updates to the algorithm and of course the ever so exciting PR updates (yes, that was sarcasm!) they will hit us in the UK and the rest of Europe sometime after the US, so we should have some advance warning of what to expect, and possibly even have a chance to make some relevant updates to sites before it hits.
The problem seems to be that every time Google updates it’s algorithm there are casualties in addition to those who are targeted, as with the first Panda update, many companies suffered who shouldn’t have done. This begs the question, how much control do Google really have over the results their search engine delivers these days? I know that sounds a bit dramatic, but bear with me on this one…
Back in the day, it was a very simple algorithm, it looked at the number of links pointing to a domain, keyword density, and a few other on page factors and ranked the pages accordingly. As SEO’s started to work out the various “secret” elements of it, they could work with, against and around it to manipulate the SERP’s. Google in turn patched it and added new elements and complicated those which already existed. A bit like a huge, worldwide, multi-player game of chess, the SEO’s made their move, Google countered it, and so on. Eventually Google have ended up with an algorithm so huge, which considers so many factors, all weighted into a delicate balance which results in the SERP’s.
So have they just got it wrong now?
I personally believe, that it must have gotten so complex, that they can never be sure quite what will happen with even the smallest of tweaks, one factor depends on another, and that in turn on others. In my view the only way they can got it back to a manageable situation is to redevelop it completely, from the ground up and roll it out. Yes, this will probably, no definitely upset a lot of people as there would undoubtedly be more casualties than usual, but it should give them back the control to update it without mistakes for the next few years.