Google's goal: Panda was designed to push down sites that are overly optimized, offer "thin" content and/or operate as content farms, explains Michael Martin, SEO manager at Covario, a global search marketing agency. (A content farm produces large amounts of content specifically to attract traffic from search engines and use those page views to generate easy advertising revenues.)
Meyers gives as an example a pest control service, operating nationwide, which may have created a specific Web page for every U.S. city in which it operates. The content on those pages is nearly identical except for the different geographic locations. With Panda, Google's search technology is better able to identify nearly duplicate content like that, recognize that those pages offer no real value to its users and push that content way down in search result rankings.
What you should do: Don't create content simply based on keyword optimization or post thousands of pages with nearly duplicate content. If you do, Google is likely to push down your entire site in its rankings, Meyers advises. Instead, make sure your site's content is as unique as possible and that it adds reader value. Ask yourself: "What does my content do for people who find it?" Does it help them, educate them or engage them in some way?
News: Google to Punish Sites with Many Ads At the Top of Pages
Sometimes, duplicate content is part of what a company legitimately offers. A large publishing company, for instance, may publish the same article on multiple sites it owns. In those cases, to avoid a Google penalty, publishers should properly identify the parent content and make sure others use rel=canonical to point back to the original content, Martin says. (You can learn more at the Google Webmaster Tools' rel=canonical tutorial.)
Google Penguin: Putting Link Abusers On Ice
What it is: First announced on April 24, 2012, the Penguin update was "huge," Meyers says. Unlike previous algorithm updates, he adds, Penguin was more punitive, as opposed to simply being designed to improve search quality.
Google named its new algorithm Penguin. Initially, it affected about 3.1% of English-language search queries, according to Search Engine Land. Penguin sought to decrease rankings for websites that engaged in dubious link exchanges, unnatural links, relied on too many of the same anchor text links and so on. (Anchor text links are hyperlinks that contain a targeted keyword phrase.)