With Google’s recent confirmation that it would soon be rolling out its latest Panda algorithm update, we decided to create this short guide detailing everything you need to know about the update, and outline the steps that can be taken in order to prevent your website from taking a hit.
What is Google Panda?
Panda is a Google algorithm update that aims to improve the search rankings for websites that produce high quality content, and reduce the rank of low quality sites with poor, thin content. The first panda algorithm was rolled out in February 2011 and has evolved with regular refreshes since. Google has recently announced its latest version (4.2), which is rumoured to be its largest update in a while and could cause some major shifts in search results.
If we look at the two search results, the result from POCruises.com appears first in Google and offers visitors valuable information and satisfies their search queries. The other web page appears on page 12 of Google and comes from an affiliate website. This offers no value to most visitors and acts primarily to get visitors to click through to another webpage. This type of website is likely to see their rankings drop in favour of unique webpages, that offer visitors answers to their search queries.
How Could Panda Affect Your Website?
If your website has recurring examples of duplicate, thin content, offering little to no value toyourvisitors, then this is exactly what will trigger the Panda algorithm to place a penalty on your website. This could push your site further down the search results page, potentially resulting in a significant loss in traffic.
While the update may appear daunting at first, the likely outcome is that it will have an overall positive effect on your search visibility, as long as certain criteria are met. If you have been, and continue to, produce high quality content, relevant to your site visitors then the update shouldn’t have a negative impact on your site.
Here at Creode we’ve been working on reducing the impact of Panda on our client’s websites, some of the steps involved include;
1. Removing duplicate content from your website. Duplicate content will likely be flagged up by Panda and could result in a penalty.
2. Removing thin content. Having numerous examples of thin content featured on your website, could cause you to be hit by a penalty which could take a long time to clear. Thin content is not only related to the length of the content on a page, but also over-optimising for a keyword and visotors' bounce rate, are also factored in to determine if the page is 'thin'. An example of a thin page could be an affiliate website. Regularly, an affiliate page is displayed in search results, which acts primarily as a gateway to get the user to click through to another page.
3. Produce original, relevant content that your visitors will be interested in reading – ‘quality over quantity’.
4. Ensuring that each web page is unique in terms of content and the keywords targeted.
5. Ensuring the site is optimised from both technical and on-page point of views, that follows search engine best practice & guidelines.
If you would like more information on the update, or want to speak to us about what we could do to help prevent your site from being negatively affected, please get in touch!