The last 2 weekends have brought some major changes to Google’s core algorithm, and depending on a number of factors, it could effect how your website “ranks” on Google.
What was the update?
In a nutshell, Google's Panda update has now been integrated into their core algorithm. When Panda rolled out in 2011 it was more like a filter that was applied after the search results were processed (after the core). Now it has been rolled into the core algorithm, and will be applied to sites overall and is part of their “core ranking signals.” Google continued to update their algorithm through this last weekend.
What’s a Panda update?
In order to improve the quality of search results, Google rolled out an update in 2011. The update targeted “content farms” and “scraper sites” that were gaining top listings with “shallow” or “low-quality” content. Lowering or removing these sites from user searches will increase the relevancy of the results and fight off web spam. However, they continue to thrive on social media.
What's a content farm and a scraper site?
Content Farm - "a website that contains very large quantities of content, typically of low quality or aggregated from other sites, generated solely to ensure that it appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine." Or to generate ad impressions.
Scraper Site - "a website that copies content from other websites using web scraping. The purpose of creating such a site can be to collect advertising revenue or to manipulate search engine rankings by linking to other sites to improve their search engine ranking through a private blog network."
How will this effect my site?
For most of you, not much. If you are a retail site, and have been executing a healthy SEO strategy, then you are well prepared for this change (and have been since 2011). Panda loves deep, responsible, content. If you have product landing pages that uniquely and clearly communicate the intention of the page, then you are safe. If you copy content from other websites for the intention of driving traffic for ad revenue, I would advise consulting with your SEO strategist immediately to determine how this update will effect your site.
Bottom line, Panda was designed to fight web spam and garbage content - if your concerned that you might be a generator of either, then you might want to consult your SEO strategist.