What is Google’s Panda update?
For most people the name Panda simple refers to some type of cuddly animal in the zoo but in reference to Google it’s a far cry from this. Google implemented the Panda algorithm update to weed out websites that had poor content, plagiarised copy as well as keyword stuffing. Basically, it’s an algorithm to penalise sites that did not deliver quality information. If your web pages were lacking in quality copy then you would start to see a decrease in it’s rankings. After all, why should Google display pages that were not useful in presenting relevant information.If you have a look at what wikipedia says about the Panda update you should get a clear explanation.
However, if your wanting to look at ways to improve your websites quality in terms of the way it delivers content following are ways in which you can comply with the Panda algorithm and eventually help improve your websites overall rankings.
- Do you look at articles or blogs online and roll your eyes sometimes and think who wrote this? Chances are it was written by a third party so it could rank on Google. This is bad news and the trust factor with these type of articles can have a really bad effect on the brand of a company. Poorly worded copy is a brand killer and don’t for one minute think that Google will not pick up on this. It’s latest Panda algorithmic update is designed to weed out this type of sub standard copy and place it behind websites that have spent the time and effort to write great copy. Do it yourself, think about what you are going to write about and you will be rewarded with better online rankings.
- How much effort has been put into the writing of the article or web page. I have had clients ask me why their 200 worded page doesn’t rank. The answer is simple. You need copy that is upwards of 1000 words. Before you start screaming and yelling how impossible this is, remember I do not make the rules. Google’s Panda will rank lengthy articles over thinly disguised pages any time. Most of the pages I write are around the 1000 word mark so please before you even begin to write anything be prepared to make it fairly lengthy. Occasionally, I have seen articles less than 100 words rank fairly quickly, but this is an exception to the rule and their position doesn’t remain for that long. If your struggling for a news or blog topic look around online, do your research and something will eventually come to you.
- Who wrote you web page? Was it by a professional copywriter who knows your industry and who has spent the time to meet with you and get a clearer idea of your target audience? If this answer is yes then that’s fine. If the answer is no and you trusted your web copy with a stranger, then you are in trouble. Not only will it be rejected by your client base as laughable copy, but it will also be pinged by Panda as bad copy. Spend a few dollars and have it professionally written.
- Panda is a beast that can recognise duplicate content. And guess what this animal does when it sees this happening? It rips it to shreads and places little emphasis on it – hence lower online rankings. If you have been lazy and just copied and pasted words from another site (worst of all a competitors) and tried to pass it off as your own, then watch out. There is nothing to hide behind and no where to go. This will be picked up immediately and your website will be the only thing that suffers. In order to appease Panda and make it love your copy write fresh, unique content. If you think that you can launch a new website with rehashed old second hand copy, think again. It’s just not going to get the type of rankings you’d hoped for.
- Would you buy from the website? Would you actually open your wallet and part with money? If the answer is no and you feel that the trust value is low, then Panda will also. Fraudulent looking websites asking for money are just begging to be eaten up by Panda and spewed out as junk. Show credibility, show authority, have SSL certificates and all the must have ecommerce essentials and you will rank. This includes content about your business, product descriptions, your location, return policies as well as testimonials by other customers. You should even look at having third party sites that people can post testimonials on. This type of content really instills trust with the consumer, thereby complying to some extent with Panda.
- If you have a bad attitude about your article to begin with and cannot be bothered with spelling, grammatical errors or repetitive copy then you deserve to be ranked less than competitors who have spent the man hours compiling copy that wants to be read. It’s a lot better to have one well worded article than two to three off the cuff blogs that have little relevance.
- Is the web page written for Google or is it for your audience? Are you using old SEO tricks such as repeating keywords to manipulate your ranking? Old SEO tactics that are now banned by Panda are to repeat your main keywords as often as possible in the hope it gets ranked. This is so old school and it beggars belief that people still employ this strategy. Known as keyword stuffing this is one of the things Panda looks out for.
- Has the page got something new to say? Is it current or relevant or is it old outdated news or information that no one is interested in? Writing clean, new information that is totally 100% fresh will see your page rankings skyrocket – if it has over the 1000 words then even better – write for your customer and not for the search engines and you will be satisfying Panda.
- Has the page been written so well that your readers are going to share it around on their social media? If so, then great! The more tweets, likes and sharing your article gets organically the better it is. Google will pick up on this and note how popular your site has become and this will be rewarded.
- Has your web page got other ads that link externally? Are these flashy, over bearing adverts that distract the reader? If so you are in deep trouble with Panda. It’s a double whammy; your readers will hate it and Panda will hate it even more – watch out for the incoming penalty – it’s only a mater of time.
- Have you crammed the page with words or is it cleanly laid out with correct headings, neat titles and well spaced out paragraphs. This combined with catchy graphics that relate to your topic will go along way to securing a better online position.
So there you have it. I have unraveled the mystery of the Google Panda update and if you follow these rules you will be in the best possible position to survive online.
Saying this, it’s all well and good to follow these rules but if you then go ahead and employ a SEO company that hasn’t a clue what they are doing or are all about cost cutting (due to the limited budgets given to them in the first place), then all this is going to go down the drain. If your going to go to the effort of getting a website designed then make sure you also get them to get it professionally written.
Lets see what Matt Cutts the head of Google spam team says about what to do if your website has been penalised by Google Panda
Great copy combined with the clever use of graphics will always win over other sites. You really can’t have one without the other. Bear this in mind before you start your online journey. It’s all well and good to have beautiful graphics but if it doesn’t convey any relevant messages or your not clearly speaking to your target market, the exercise will be pointless.