We had Panda, we had Penguin and Zebra is just around the corner…
Panda and Penguin – quick summary
Panda algorithm, released in February 2011, was designed to lower rankings of the low quality websites. Since then, Panda received 25 updates, the last on March 2013 and was announced soon to be integrated into the core algorithm.
Penguin algorithm, initially released last April, is a link quality filter that was designed to reduce web spam and also hit website that had link profiles that appeared unnatural (have low quality, irrelevant and paid external links)
The latest announcement
Matt Cutts, who is the head of webspam at Google, announced (warned?;)) that the new major Google algorithm update is coming. According to Matt, the newest update will aim to protect searchers by lowering the rankings of those using e-commerce (merchants! Suite-up!). Quoting Matt: “We have a potential launch later this year, maybe a little bit sooner, looking at the quality of merchants and whether we can do a better job on that,”- he revealed at SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas earlier this month.
Merchant Quality Update
The update already has an unoficial name: the Merchant Quality Update, although some call it Zebra as Search Engine Journal dubbed it. There’s been a lot of speculation about the update and its effects. As it will be designed to clean the search engine results from bad quality online merchant websites, it is very likely that factors that will affect SERPs might be:
- how the site has been listing in Google Shopping
- Google seller rating
- the brands that are being sold (the more well-known brand – the higher ranking)
A few more clues that may shed a little light on preparing for the update could be found in Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines. According to the document, that was made public only recently, elements that will determine whether the site is a real merchant include:
- a “view your shopping cart” button that doesn’t redirect users to other websites, but stays on the site
- whether the shopping basket updates itself every time a new item is added
- a return policy and an actual address that allows customers to contact the company
-an ability to register/login
-working user’s forum
-an ability to postpone the purchase, such as a shopping or wish list
- clear information on shipping charges (shipping charge calculator)
The above lists present potential factors that may or may not affect the rankings, but keeping in mind “the slaughter” done by Panda and Penguin – it is better to get ready and be safe rather than sorry.
Having this all said we come to the final question: why does Google hate us that much that it regularly turns our online lives up-side-down?
Google loves you…
Let’s stop here for a moment, before mean words toward Google will be said.
Don’t you google movies reviews before booking the tickets to the cinema? Don’t you search for recipes for salmon pies/chocolate fudge brownies/ducks in oranges/sex on the beach or others? Don’t you try to diagnose yourself on the basis of dr Google’s advice? Don’t you order DVDs online, because it’s cheaper than buying it in the mall? Don’t you check in Google, who the hell was this guy Bulgakov that your colleagues were just talking about in the office? Don’t you google almost everyday?
Google does all it can to help us find the answers for our questions as easy and quickly as possible. Google needs us – it wouldn’t exist without its users – it cares about us, our comfort and our time. It removes all the low quality websites that were trying to get our attention using black hat tactics from our view. Google does it all for us. Because it loves us, it gave us these cute animals. Stop hating Google.