What’s the Latest on the Google Panda Update? Here’s our Take for a Website Review
You’re probably aware of the importance of Google searches, and doing a regular website review to make sure you’re keeping pace with your SEO and content management. But with Google issuing a new update to their Panda algorithm, you might want to pay extra attention to what their latest changes are and how it might affect your page rankings in the future.
Google uses an algorithm to determine what pages show up at the top of any given web-search. It’s a top secret formula that even people at Google don’t understand, but we out here in the trenches have to constantly work to get that algorithm to see our webpages as valuable and put us high on the Google results page. Perhaps ironically, the algorithm gave birth to thousands of schemes for gaming the system, including “SEO Only” pages that literally contain only search words with no other content, along with content repeated multiple times on one site to increase the search-word hit.
Google doesn’t like that. Nor should we. The big bad gorilla Google wants their searches to reveal quality pages. Call it self-preservation, but they know if their searches put out bad results, people will move on to other search engines. So they created Panda to specifically look for low quality content in its website review and down-grade websites based on that.
WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT THIS UPDATE?
The Panda algorithm was birthed in 2011 and has had several updates, so why should we care about this latest update? While the others were discovered after the fact, this update was announced by Google and they claim that it’s able to better identify low-quality content AND that the change helps boost the ranking of high-quality small-to-medium websites.
When Panda’s updated, sites previously downgraded could escape the hit if they’ve made the right changes, so every update could be a boost for your site. But this latest update’s especially interesting in that it means the little guys with quality content have a better chance to get up in the rankings.
WHAT’S PANDA LOOKING FOR?
The short answer to what the Panda algorithm looks for is quality content. How that’s found through an algorithm is a more difficult question, but we have some ideas based on analysis in the web community after this last update.
- “Thin” content – Generally a website is considered “thin” if there’s a general lack of content. Sites that only list products without additional content rank as thin. Historically analysts have seen websites that serve as a landing page to direct users to other sites fall under the thin category.
- Duplicate content – Duplicate content comes in two forms – repeating the exact same content on multiple pages, and copying content from another site. If you’re guilty of the first, you should consolidate those pages into one to help your ranking. If you’re guilty of the second, even if you’re copying it with permission, you may want to re-think your content strategy.
- Broad information – Analysts see broad information sites, like Ask.com, taking a hit where sites that have specific information have moved up or stayed at the top of searches. This indicates that Panda might be targeting sites that don’t have a theme to them, forcing the searches to find the experts on particular subjects. This is great news for us who are focused on our specific area.
As you do your next website review, look at where your pages might fall. Is your website content supporting your inbound marketing goals or hindering them? Take our free assessment to see where you can improve.
Marketing Matters Inbound is an inbound marketing firm specializing in online conversions, content strategy, PPC campaigns and traditional media placement. Our experience in B2B digital marketing and traditional media allows us to deliver results through a strategic media mix. We believe in aligning and merging marketing and sales/operations for optimal return on your marketing investment.