Panda update impacts local search

Google has been open and forthcoming about the number of updates it has made to its crucial search algorithms. The updates are of particular importance to local SEO specialists, who may have seen a notable effect from the latest Panda update. Local search marketers need to take heed when it concerns algorithm updates because Google's search results are the lifeblood of local SEO and ranking punishment can be hard to recover from.

Google recently confirmed on Twitter that it had launched the latest data refresh, which has been termed Panda 21 among credible search engine blog communities. It will have a big effect on local search in the United States: 1.1 percent of English queries will be "noticeably affected." The previous update, Panda 20 in late September, affected 2.4 percent of English queries and was the farthest-reaching update since October 2011.

The update means businesses will have to be vigilant when ensuring their local search efforts won't be bogged down by the Panda refresh. Panda is one of two main algorithms - the other is Penguin, the spam algorithm - and is designed to weed out low-quality sites, resulting in a search rank hit. For local businesses, avoiding the refresh means ensuring their content and website is of a higher quality, as cluttered looking ads and bad links are things Panda targets.