Google’s Panda and Content Curation

Google’s Panda and Duplicate Content Penalty

Google likes its data clean, current and complete – and also unique and truthful. It is constantly tweaking its algorithms as it moves towards its goal of providing the best possible information to its users at the most appropriate time. Google wants to know why you want something (not just what you want), and deliver the most truthful and relevant information back to you in a nano-second. Google will also hit you with a duplicate content penalty if it senses you are putting non-original content on your site without proper annotation and accreditation.

Image of Panda looking at camera

Careful, Big Panda is Watching

Second image of Panda looking at camera

Careful, Big Panda is Watching (again)

Google’s Algorithm Updates

Google continuously re-evaluates and re-codes how it ranks pages and web sites. It names its algorithms after cute animals, such as Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird. Each of these updates had a different objective:

Google’s Knowledge Vault and the future of in-bound links

A next move by Google will be to assess the truthfulness of the content of a site, and make that a component of its ranking algorithm. By comparing content to data deposited in its Knowledge Vault with content on a specific site, Google will assign higher rankings to those sites that contain truthful  information (i.e., the Earth is spherical), and penalize sites that don’t contain truthful information (i.e., the Earth is flat).

This ranking will then affect sites that have in-bounds links: links from sites deemed “truthful” will be worth more than the equivalent number of in-bound links deemed less “truthful”.

{It is a conversation for another day to see how Google will determine the “truthfulness” of subjective issues.}

The Beauty of Content Curation

We have been told in the past that “Content in King”. That has been revised to “Superior Content is King”. The bar gets higher every day, and yet providing superior content becomes more essential.

What to do? Should you use great content from other sites and put it on your own?

The lines between sharing, referencing, duplicating, stealing and plagiarism can be fuzzy at the best of times.

Enter the concept of Content Curation – software that allows you to access snippets from other websites for inclusion on your own.

These clearly make including content on a web site much easier, but will you be penalized by Google for using them?

Let’s look at a couple of common-sense guidelines.

Image of old prisoner in jail

Don’t end up in Google jail

Panda and Content Curation – Do’s and Don’ts


√ Be selective about third-party content that you are including in your site. 

√ Include original annotation with your own thoughts and insights.

√ Make sure that the annotated content is greater than the curated content.

√ Retitle the post to reflect the annotated content that you are including.

√ Link back to the original article – make sure you credit the original content creator.


⊗ Don’t scrape sites for inclusion in your own site.

⊗ Don’t repost full articles – use snippets with proper attribution.

⊗ Don’t duplicate full size images.

⊗ Don’t use “No-follow” attributes: this stops Goggle-bots from properly crediting the original source of the content.


I use Shareist as my content curation system, and will be writing about to how use Shareist in an upcoming post. Basically, I find Shareist to be powerful, easy to use and affordable (there are both subscription and free versions – I opted for the subscription version because I see a lot of value in it).

As always, it is essential to keep abreast of how Google ranks pages – don’t spend the rest of your life rotting in Google jail.

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