Good morning, ready for a blast from the past? 

Google rolled out the first iteration of what came to be known as the Panda update nine years ago this week. The update targeted “low quality” and “shallow” pages — and caused major waves. 

That first Panda update affected 12% of Google search results. And forever changed web content strategies. 

Is SEO harder now? In some ways yes, says Barry Schwartz. “Now, SEOs need to focus on building great websites, as opposed to trying to find loopholes in the search ranking algorithm,” says Barry. That longer-term thinking is what can help insulate you from getting hit by future algorithm updates. 

A recently published Google patent may hint at how (or if) Google measures E-A-T and classifies YMYL sites. The patent, first covered by Bill Slawski, discusses the use of neural networks to classify websites into various “knowledge domains” and understand whether the content is “authored by experts in the knowledge domain.” In turn, websites categorized in knowledge domains such as health or finance may “have an advantage” in showing up for relevant search queries. Of course, we don’t know if this patent is actually in use, but it’s interesting context for discussions around E-A-T and YMYL sites.

Keep reading for a Pro Tip on the completely maddening issue of stolen content, more takeaways from SMX West and more.  

Ginny Marvin,

Pro Tip

Watch for stolen content from your site

“Go to your top landing page on your website and copy a block of text about three sentences long. Put that text in quotes and search for it in Google. What do you see?,” asks John Lincoln of Ignite Visibility. “I’ll bet some of you will see other websites coming up for that content. Many times we find others have wholly duplicated a website, stolen key pages, or taken individual sections of a page. When this happens, you need to address it.”

  1. Rewrite the content on your site.
  2. Ask the other site to take it down. 
  3. File a DMCA on them if needed.
  4. Consider sending them a cease and desist.
  5. Sometimes, you can contact the hosting company and ask them to remove the site.

“If you stop watching for stolen content, it could have an extremely negative effect on your business and rankings. This is something you need to catch right away.”

Learn more »


Look beyond Google for the search intelligence you need

Do you think Google Ads, Auction Insights and Keyword Planner provide everything you need for paid search success? If you do, think again. Google is actually becoming a black box, shifting its PPC tools to smart bids, smart creatives and smart campaigns. The result is that more and more advertisers are in the dark. Join our paid search experts to hear how you can supplement Google’s existing PPC tools with the competitive intelligence you need to better understand the search landscape.

RSVP today »

Search Shorts

Google quality raters

What quality raters do. Danny Sullivan summed up what Google quality raters do, saying, “We use raters to understand if our mix of signals seems to be producing good results. If so, then particular updates and changes get released. Then we keep working to improve with testing, new changes. It’s constant improvement.”

Recurring Google penalty. Just because you were penalized in the past doesn’t mean Google won’t or can’t penalize your site again said John Mueller of Google.

Google cache. Mueller also said Google does not always keep all cache pages in the index.


Google's Danny Sullivan to keynote SMX Advanced!

Join us June 8-10 in Seattle for Danny’s first return to the SMX stage since joining Google in October 2017. His through-the-looking-glass keynote will provide an invaluable glimpse into the search engine’s inner-workings from the man who knows it best.

Learn more »

Your FOMO fix from SMX West

Eric Enge’s 5 big SEO takeaways

Last week’s SMX West conference featured more than 100 individual sessions, so we figured both attendees and those who missed out might appreciate a few crib notes. Here are five session takeaways from SMX speaker and Perficient General Manager Eric Enge.

Leverage internal site search by sending searches with zero results directly to their R&D department. – Benjamin Spiegel, P&G

“Wherever you go, there you are” when re-platforming you are essentially going from one set of issues to another. – Dana Tan, Under Armour

CrUX data is the actual user-based site speed info you can get, this data is available at scale thru GSC using big query, or via the CrUX dashboard. – Jessica Bowman, SEO In House

GSC about URL removal tool – does not actually remove pages from the index, only removes them from being served for 6 months, this is to be done when you need to make a quick removal but aren’t able to get the page to actually serve a 404 or 410 yet. – Daniel Waisberg, Google

BERT is a huge change for search. – Dawn Anderson, Bertey

Look for more takeaways this week. And, of course, avoid FOMO by coming to SMX Advanced in June.

What we're reading

We've curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader

Ecommerce SEO: Optimizing and Ranking Category Pages – PPC Hero

Five Ways to Do Incrementality Testing with Digital Ads – Metric Theory

Responsive Display Ads in Google Ads Scripts – Google Ads Developer Blog

Google is indexing WhatsApp group chat links, making private groups discoverable – The Verge

Google reaches a settlement with state attorneys general – CNBC

Google Resists Demands From States in Digital-Ad Probe – Wall Street Journal

How to Create Rich Snippets Results for Search Pages – iPullRank

Publishing Web Content: What you need to know – Dixon Jones

Resources for small and medium-sized businesses – Microsoft Advertising

Schema Markup for SEO – The Complete Guide – Cognitive SEO

Which of My Competitor’s Keywords Should (& Shouldn’t) I Target? – Best of Whiteboard Friday – Moz