Google’s War Against Spam Goes Way Beyond Panda

    August 18, 2011

For all of you webmasters still lamenting over Google’s infamous Panda update, it’s important that you don’t take it personally. You were simply a casualty–correctly or no–in Google’s never-ending war against spam content in its search results.

Google has long been preaching the gospel of quality content, and they are committed to keeping their index as spam-free as possible. Does such knowledge make potential Panda casualties easier to understand? Let us know what you think.

Think of it as collateral damage, those of you who feel you were undeservedly punished. As indicated, Panda is just another in a long line of updates designed to clean the trash out of Google’s search index, and thanks to an awesome infographic from, Panda update victims can track the history of the war, one that started in earnest in 2003, which is around the same time Google’s hold over the search engine industry was entering the “iron-clad” stage.

Perhaps the perspective will give them some solace, as well the willingness to be prepared against future Google purges. The infographic in question. It’s a large file–almost 3000 pixels tall even with the size reduction–so be sure to click it for the full version:

Google War
Click to enlarge

While the information contained about each algorithm update is indeed intriguing, the bottom part of the graphic, is even more compelling. It demonstrates just how many content farms were crushed when Panda came rolling through:

Google Tank

Clearly, if Google even gets a hint that a site’s content is suspect–either poor quality or scraped–that site was nuked, er, Panda’d, by the purge, and while there were indeed a number of sites that got caught in the collateral damage crossfire, the infographic clues us in as to why such drastic measures are necessary.

Google’s search index, left unattended, would be a wasteland of spam sites, content farms, and prescription drug outlets.

Furthermore, if your site was one of the unintended victims, reports are, if the necessary corrections/alterations are made, Google will open the doors of its index and allow your site back in.

Some interesting tidbits from the infographic, at least from this perspective:

  • Google makes 400 updates to its algorithm each year, so even if there isn’t a widely-publicized released update with a catchy name, Google is constantly tailoring.
  • There were over three years between the “Big Daddy” update (2006) and “Caffeine” (2009). Before that there were many major updates on a yearly basis. 2003 saw four separate ones, while there were two each in 2004, 5, and 6.
  • Does the extended wait between Big Daddy and Caffeine mean Google was actually satisfied with the quality of their index, save for the minor algorithm tweaks? Whatever the case, this graphic does a great job of informing webmasters about Google’s index-purging ways. It should also be a warning against complacency when it comes to website quality control.

    Was a website you’re responsible for get caught in the Google Panda crossfire? If so, did it change how you approach the concept of on-site content? Do you understand Google’s motivations for spam purges like Panda? Let us know what you think in the comments.