You may have heard more than once about Google's Panda update. You may know this affects both organic and local search results in some way, but you may not know exactly how. You might also be confused about where the name Panda even comes from (it was based off of the name of the engineer who developed the algorithm).
So, now that it seems Google is fairly satisfied with its Panda update, how does it affect where your company ranks in search results?
According to Social Media Today, it may or may not at all. If you run a keyword-heavy site that is similar to a content farm, you're probably in trouble, as the original goal of the new algorithm was to push those types of sites down.
In addition, Panda made Google more intelligent in distinguishing what's first-page-worthy and what isn't. Unique content from social media sites and the number of social shares your content receives now factor into results, as does the actual design of your site. Better design = better SEO.
Usage metrics are emphasized even more now, so a high bounce rate (when a user enters a site and then leaves without continuing to view additional pages) is penalized more harshly.
And if your site contains any content, links, ads or images that Panda may perceive as spam, that will also damage your SEO.
Now that you understand Panda, have you heard of Search plus Your World?
As Mashable reports, this new initiative integrates Google Plus into Google's search results, allowing you to "search against both the broader web and (your) own Google Plus social graph," the news source notes.
Google Plus results (both search and images) will now be merged in with traditional ones, but clearly represented by a small blue head and body.
For example, the media outlet points to the search topic of Rome. In addition to maps, information and historical references, you will also be able to see if any of your friends on Google's social network ever visited there, what they said about it or if they posted any pictures.
Lastly, Google takes personalization one step further when you're typing names into the search box. If you're signed into Google Plus and begin typing a person's name, Google will automatically assume you're looking for a friend instead of a random person, and attempt to fill in the rest of the query with a buddy.