Google today rolled out its panda (aka farmer) update to all English language search results. The update to Google’s algorithm had previously only been implemented in the United States until today. Google also refers to this update as a high quality sites algorithm. The update is aimed at combating sites that cover a vast topic scope with the aim of matching a high amount of search terms, the content often found once the user follows the link is often of low quality leading to a poor user experience. Many of these sites have been coined with the term of content farms, hence the Google update has been tagged my many as the “farmer” update.
Most sites that have relevant content that fits their site demographic will have nothing to worry about, while sites that produce unoriginal or a wide range of low site relevant content could find their selves plummeting down the search engine results pages. Google has had time to work out any kinks in the algorithm since the launch to U.S. search results and on the Google Webmaster Central Blog they say that they have found their algorithm to be very accurate.
Google has also started to look at signals from user feedback from a Chrome browser extension but using this data to support results found by the algorithm rather than directly impact a decision. The best way to avoid your site being affected Google recommends that you evaluate your site’s content. There are some quality guidelines provided by Google. The initial algorithm change in the United States impacted 12% of U.S. search queries while the new feedback signals impact around 2%.
Matt Cutts, Google’s head of the web spam team tweeted earlier acknowledging the quality of the post on Search engine land by Vanessa Fox. It goes into much more detail than my post to be sure to check it out.