As many people have surely noticed, the big G recently updated their algorithm. This update was called the Panda or Farmer update. The intent of this algo change was to combat the recent flood of spun content to hit the web and to "punish" or penalize the content farm sites that benefit from this spun content.
For example, sites like Ezinearticles dropped in the rankings dramatically. For those who dont know that site, EZA is a site that lets article writers post their article with an anchor text link to their site. So, the first benefit to the writer is they get a link to their site... And it is an easily acquired link and from a "trusted" site. The second benefit is that an article at EZA is more likely to rank for a keyword than an article at "Joe's Site"... Therefore, there will often be traffic to the article and some of that traffic could click through to the writer's site as well. And if they do, then that visitor is often quite good as they theoretically have been presold by your article.
The benefit for EZA is that they get TONS of free content uploaded to their site. Have millions of indexed pages. And monetize it all through adsense or other paid contextual advertising. So, that is a big win for them as well.
And, a couple of years ago people really started seeing the benefit of article marketing as a linkbuilding method and thus the spinning frenzy was born.
Spinning an article is a procedure by which the writer uses a piece of software and spins the sentences with synonyms for the many words in a sentence... So, the subject of a sentence might be... Guy, Dude, Man, Boy, Fella, Him, etc...
The net effect is that ONE article would become hundreds of articles. And these articles would get posted ALL over the world wide web for the power of the links. The articles are unreadable many times. At best they are gramatically challenged and offer or provide little or no value at all to the marketplace.
If you have ever searched for a solution to a problem and found many versions of the same solution - often not even the right or correct solution - then you have seen spun content.
Well, Google has had enough. It is greatly effecting the quality of search and therefore they wanted to fix the problem. The Panda update is an attempt to do so.
Personally, I think that penalizing this junk content is the 100% right thing to do. And I have always felt that it would be better for people to focus on Super quality content and post it on their OWN sites. That way, they dont have all of these steps in between the customer and themselves. I know that it is not always easy to do so. But, in a perfect world... That would be great.
The down side of Panda is that I hear from many people who have large sites with their own content - unique un-spun content - that many of them have been hit as well... This is where it certainly is difficult. Google or any reasonable person would never want to penalize high quality content as it only hurts everybody. The big G's customer is ultimately the searcher. The guy who opens the browser and types in... "cure for arthritis" or whatever. If Google loses him, then they lose the adwords revenue they are able to make because they control the lion share of eyeballs.
So, it is in everyone's best interest to help the little guy who might have gotten punished by mistake. But, to do everything possible to stamp out the junky spun content that is polluting the web and obscuring the places where people can find either the answers they seek or an opinion they would like to hear.
So, was Panda Good or Bad? I guess it depends on how the tweaks go in the next couple months. But, either way I guess to me its a step in the right direction...