Essentially, the Panda Update draws on scalable machine learning to quantify how much users actually “like” a site. Tons of metrics go into deciding whether a site is one that should receive a page 1 or page 7 listing. Factors such as Time On Site, Browse Rate, Bounce Rate, and Diversity of Traffic help this new algorithm determine the user’s experience, ultimately ranking the site appropriately.
The controversy surrounding this new algorithm speaks to the game-changing effect it has made on SEO. No longer can websites pack thousands of pages with keyword-biased content into austere text boxes and expect prominent search results. The goal is weeding these “spammy” URLs out of search results and only presenting the highest quality sites. The onus now is on the site’s design and functionality, rather than automated, bland text boxes.