Kung Fu Panda 2, Google, and the Rebirth of Infographics

Google PandaEverybody loves a good infographic. You know, those big data illustration thingies. I especially appreciate them when I’m reading an article that’s just a little beyond my comprehension; I like the mental push I get from a well-done infographic.  Infographics come in many formats, which are often times combined: statistical, timeline, process or flow, map, and conceptual. Oh, yeah, and they drive huge amounts of search engine traffic.

Algorithms Cha-cha-cha

Google burst to the top of the search engine market in 1998, not because it could index webpages faster, but because it did a better job at ranking and weighting them. In other words, it had a better system of algorithms for assigning relevance. Google then concocted its own supply and demand, as it were, by selling the results of searchable keywords through AdWords; A pay-per-click service (PPC), which still generates the majority of Google’s revenue.

Unfortunately, Google’s system was vulnerable to “content farms” which are websites that optimize their pages with mass amounts of content for the sole purpose of beefing up their own (PPC) ad revenue. These farms don’t care about content quality or the redundancy of information. Content is often poorly written or aggregated from other sites without concern for relevance. Consequently, Google’s value is diminished with cluttered and misleading search results.

Kung Fu Panda 2

Between February and November of 2011, Google targeted content farms by implementing new search algorithms that would provide better search results. While developing the new release, Google-insiders called the project “Farmer,” until DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda 2 was released in May. Coincidentally, Panda was the nickname of the lead engineer on the project and the name caught on. Remember Google’s other releases? Fresh? Caffeine? Me neither, I had to look them up.

Google changes its algorithm system all the time. What makes Panda monumental is that it changes the core basis for how Google ranks webpages. For the first time, Google is able to assign search relevance based on webpage design and content quality. It’s been evaluated that 35 percent of all Internet searches are being affected by Panda. To put this in perspective, Panda can affect up to 10 percent of searches made by any one individual.

After the second released version of Google’s Panda in November of 2011, infographics started to pop up everywhere.

So let’s review . . .

Google uses algorithms primarily based on keywords so that it can sell keyword results through AdWords. Content farms usurp Google’s revenue stream by using Google’s own search algorithms to attract and sell PPC ad revenue. They do this by hosting tons of worthless content affecting Google’s search quality. Google then changes its algorithms to rank well-designed websites with quality content higher in searches, leaving content farms high and dry. To maintain search rankings, webmasters bomb their sites with infographics. I think I just blocked out my first infographic.

What better way to conclude than with a real infographic about Google’s Panda release:

Panda Infographic


3 responses to “Kung Fu Panda 2, Google, and the Rebirth of Infographics

  • The Emerging Critic

    I think the only thing that could topple Google is the issue of Privacy. If Google sold where you browse (without ecommerce or transaction). That would be a deal breaker for the public.

  • dainmcquarrie

    Google will be the top search engine forever with the continual re-engineering of their algorithms. They have to do so to keep on top of “farmers” as you mentioned but to keep on top of the other search engines who borrow from their success. Remember when Bing got in trouble because they stole Googles search results in early 2011? Here’s the article. http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/microsofts-bing-uses-google-search.html

    They obviously re-engineer how websites are rated so as to provide the most relevant and credible search results the consumer desires.

  • Julie A. Novak

    Content is king, and Panda puts the emphasis on quality. The accessibility of the Internet can make anyone a publisher, but good copy and design will attract more readers. While I’m not an expert on search, this system appears to take on the role of checks and balances for the user making it easier to find the best online content.