The one-year anniversary of the original Google Panda update has come and gone and we’re still seeing significant tweaks in the aftermath . Google Panda was aimed at filtering out and eliminated junk content sites and/or sites heavily supported from ads by penalizing them for having poor content. While Google can’t physically remove data from a website, they sure can effectively prevent the masses from finding them by rating them lower than those with content perceived to be more useful. If they don’t do it on their own, they sometimes ask users for help locating things they miss.
The most recent Panda update has been dubbed “version 3.5”, which went live on April 24th, 2012. Google claims these updates were merely a “data refresh” but sometimes they’re just Google mistakes. If sites were punished by mistake, Google claims wrongful punishments should now be removed. I commonly call this “blowback” – an effort where Google uses feedback from the webmaster community to measure whether or not their updates have gone too far, and then pull back a little if need be. While these goals might seem noble, there has been no shortage of critics when it comes to these updates.
So far, is seems that the Panda filter is applied on a site-wide basis. If a certain number of pages are tagged, the entire site suffers. However, some good content might continue to rank well. Removing or replacing your poor content should remove the penalty. The new ‘over-optimization’ penalty, another part of recent changes, generally seems to effect only the keywords optimized for, or “over optimized” for, including heavily optimized sites and link anchor text manipulation.