Google Panda is an algorithm that was released in February 2011. The idea behind the Google Panda algorithm was to ensure that only high-quality, relevant sites were presented high in the search results. Initially it was referred to as the ‘Farmer update’. This is because it seemed to be primarily targeting content farms; sites that take information from many sources to create a vast number of pages with the sole purpose of improving rankings. It was later named after the creator, Navneet Panda, and affected a huge number of sites.
The Google Panda algorithm was focused on quality content, rather than targeting sites with unnatural backlink patterns. However, the sites affected found that it wasn’t just their individual pages that were demoted but the entire website. This is because Google would deem the entire site to be less relevant. In some cases it can affect just a sub domain.
How to ensure the Google Panda algorithm doesn’t affect your site
Google has a checklist that you can use to determine whether your site is high quality or not. Here are some pointers you can use to determine if the content on your site is deemed as high quality or not:
- Has the content been written by someone who is an expert on the topic?
- Do you have similar duplicate content elsewhere?
- Is your content well written with no grammatical or factual errors?
- Is the idea behind your content original, with unique research or ideas?
- Is the content driven by the need to provide information to your readers, rather than ranking in the search engine results?
- Is the content more relevant than other pages that are ranked well by the search engines?
- Is the website a recognized authority on a particular topic?
- Is the content quality controlled?
- How is the content created – is it mass produced, outsourced or written by an expert?
- Would you recognize this website as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
- Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
- Does the content have an informative introduction or description, and does it contain insightful information?
- Would you share this content with a friend or colleague, would you bookmark it?
- Is the content too short or lacking in substance?
- Would a site user complain about the content on this site?
As you can see it’s an exhaustive list and there are a few other bullet points that we didn’t include! Google doesn’t assess your content based on those questions, but by presenting them they can make you assess the content you are producing and ensure that you know exactly the sort of content that they are looking for in order for it to be high quality and relevant.
There are three main areas that you need to concentrate on, as these are widely accepted as important when it comes to the Google Panda update. These include duplicate, thin or low quality content.
If you have duplicate content on your site it will be viewed as low quality by the Google Panda algorithm. Duplicate content is copy that has been taken from other areas of the Internet and therefore not the creator of this content. If content on your site appears elsewhere it won’t be seen as high quality.
A thin page is a web page that has content that adds little value to the reader. It could be that there is a small amount of copy on the page, or that the page is image heavy.
Finally, low quality content will affect your ranking. It’s better to have a few pages of high quality content than publish low quality content on a daily basis. Content should be in-depth and engaging, and it’s better to blog or publish articles weekly or fortnightly than post weak content every day.
How to recover from Google Panda
When the Google Panda algorithm is refreshed, Google will look at your website and decide if it is a high quality site. If it isn’t you will find that your ranking will fall. However, the algorithm is generally refreshed each month, and the way to improve your rankings is to ensure that you produce and publish well-written, relevant content. This way you should see an improvement so there is still hope! It may take a few months for Google to revisit all of your pages and for you to see a difference.
Luckily our SEO experts in Peterborough have the knowledge and skills to help improve your website’s ranking, avoid Google Panda penalties and gain more exposure for your business. Contact us now with any questions, or read more about our SEO services here.