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Google Panda was an update to Google algorithms that took place in February of 2011. It was one of a set of animal- and bird-themed Google updates that would take place over the next few years that garnered a lot of press attention as Google attempted to refine its evaluation of websites in general.
Google Panda was partially an attempt to deter the creation of content farms and content mills, large sites where keyword stuffing was a significant component of SEO, and where human readers found that much of the data on the site was low-quality content. Google also looked at things like ad-to-content ratios and the greater context of the resources available on one of these websites. For instance, companies that maintain massive encyclopedia or how-to websites with data-poor content were often downgraded in the aftermath of updates like Panda. Over the last several years, Google has instituted dozens of updates like Panda, but Panda and a successor, Penguin in 2012, have been some of the most publicly followed updates in Google's general effort to reward higher-quality business websites.