Pandas and Penguins

If you get much of your traffic to your travel website from Google, you know it’s a very competitive space. And, for years, many travel websites have been trying every trick in the book to get onto page 1 of the search results for those competitive travel terms.

Well, Google doesn’t necessarily like all those tricks, and many websites have been engaging in tactics to “game the system”. Over the past year (roughly), Google has rolled out various changes labelled “Panda” to its search ranking algorithm to try to address this, and reduce the effect spammy tactics have on the search results. Panda’s goal has been to remove low quality sites from the search results: sites that have little content, or little content that isn’t copied from somewhere else.

This month, Google rolled out a change labelled “Penguin”, and this change was meant to eliminate sites that it considers are using spam techniques to try to rank better.

Danny Sullivan has this excellent summary article on Search Engine Land.

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