Lessons learnt from Google Panda

New information just released from Google regarding its Panda should be implemented in creating new content and enhancing existing content within a website. Here are the main details that you should consider to ensure your website flourishes with the recent update to the core algorithm:

Delete content only with extreme caution

Sites affected by Panda could still rank in the SERPs, all-be-it with reduced visibility. Panda rarely impacts upon an entire site, which is why extreme caution is required if you are considering mass-deleting existing content. A key factor of ranking prominently since the incorporation of Panda within the core ranking algorithm revolves around the need for visitors to derive the highest benefit from a site and removing content isn’t always the best solution. Without in-depth research and analysis, rankings could slide and pages that generate traffic to a site could be removed in error. There’s no quick fix to recover from a so-called Panda attack – instead, look at each page to determine its value. Webmasters often think duplicate content’s to blame but this isn’t always accurate either. While duplication can affect SEO, tackling this is best left until the end of the remedial steps that need to be taken to recover from falling foul of Panda.

Use tools to distinguish the good from the bad

If pages are receiving traffic, Google considers them worthy of ranking. Before removing content, check whether Google’s sending traffic by using an analytics program like Google Analytics. Make sure content matches search queries as people are becoming savvier when searching for information online, performing more longer-tail searches and what’s important is that a page meets content expectations. So, if a search brings visitors to a page, work to ensure that the page provides them with the information that they require. The Search Analytics Report within the Search Console can identify queries that lead to a page. The key to success is ensuring these pages aren’t vague and will satisfy the query by delivering expectations. This is straightforward, although it takes time and effort to spot mismatches. Small amendments are often the solution and providing accurate, high quality content on the landing page is better for visitor retention.

Focus on high quality content

Pages must contain trustworthy and high quality content. Quality issues can be caused by pulling content from diverse sources without proper integration. Sometimes, user-generated content can be low quality, but can be kept and marked as ‘noindex’. To find out more about quality content, there’s expert advice available, such as in the keynote speech by Gary Illyes in July 2015, at Pubcon.

Panda and word count

Panda concentrates on quality not quantity, so it’s a myth that a high word count makes for a strong Panda result. Instead, webmasters should look to their site’s overall ranking and traffic directed from Google. If these areas are strong then word count isn’t a problem.

Advertising and affiliate links

Panda doesn’t penalise advertising and affiliate links, but the problem lies in the content surrounding these, particularly the imbalance between quality content and monetisation. Remember that the value must tip in the balance of the site visitor, not the site owner. Visitors don’t need to be bombarded with vast quantities of advertising and affiliate links for site owners to profit, as visitors bring added value, spreading good feedback word of mouth, sharing on social media and making repeat visits based on their good experiences. Content should always be original and well informed.

User-generated content

There’s a view that all user-generated content’s bad, with so-called experts advising webmasters to erase it. It’s better to focus on the nature of the user content and screen it based on quality. If high quality, there isn’t a problem but, if low or mixed, a good tactic is to keep it on a site, but block it from Google indexing. Examples of pages to do this to are forum welcome pages or chat forums. It’s also important to deal with spam issues in user content, using some of the useful add-on tools that can find and eradicate spam before it’s indexed by Google.

Allowing comments

Many sites are removing visitor comments, but this is removing the information Google uses to judge how well visitors are responding to content. Once again, quality’s the deciding factor. Also, allowing comments can enhance content by offering additional insight and points of view, ensuring visitors return to check for updates.

Technical problems

Site technical problems can impact on a sites performance in a post Panda world. Review the onsite content to ensure that it is not being duplicated through pagination or other issues arising from canonicalization. You could also receive and overall SEO boost by ensuring that your site works speedily, has a good URL structure and doesn’t include long redirections.

Google’s Core Algorithm

Google revealed that Panda’s now part of its core algorithm with no additional impact on SEO. Panda started as a filter added to the core search algorithm and is basically the same but now integrated into the core algorithm.

In conclusion

The recently–released Google information about Panda contains great advice for SEOs to help make sites Panda-friendly. Essentially, the Panda algorithm revolves around promoting high quality content and demoting lower quality content. The best advice is that accurate, targeted, high quality content will help to achieve strong results from Google and the other major search engines.


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