The Google Panda algorithm is focused on content. How does the Panda algorithm update Google’s algorithm? What does it do and how does it change the search engine’s logic? And how does the Panda update affect your SEO strategy?
Quality Counts Toward Ranking
The Panda algorithm strives to take quality of content into account by increasing the ranking of sites with higher quality content over those with better keyword SEO. This means you need to put more effort into creating quality content than keyword density. And you need to ensure that your quality content is search engine optimized without being too much so. The signals Google uses to measure the quality of the content by how often it is shared on social media, how long people stay on the site after they review it and how many of them view other related pages on the same domain. You can improve these quality signals by
ensuring your content is positioned relative to the intent of the searchers who land on it, add infograhics that explain information to them that keeps them on the site as they read it and make links to related pages that are a better fit for their search prominent on the site. You also need to ensure that your content is shareable, such as putting buttons on the page that make it easy to share a link to your site via social media postings and adding calls to action like, “If you enjoy this article, follow us on Twitter” or “If you like this
article, share it via social media using the buttons below.” It is better to upgrade the quality of content than remove lower quality content, since many sites have found that deleting bad content hurts their rankings more than leaving it on the site does. And that’s assuming they didn’t accidentally leave dead links to the
removed content or redirects that Google penalizes you for. Removing mediocre content reduces the traffic your site receives, potentially hurting your rankings based on the amount of traffic. And you lose the internal redirects of someone landing on a merely OK page before going to a better page on your site, which actually helps your rankings. No indexing websites can be a short term solution so that these low grade sites can remain active while you study how much natural traffic come to them. If the site receives
significant traffic, then you know which ones to upgrade instead of remove and replace to improve your rankings under Google Panda.
Take Care with User Generated Content, Comments and Forums
Reader comments sections build up engagement and involvement with your brand. User forums are an excellent way to build a relationship with your customers and brand loyalty. Open forums can create user generated content that adds content to your site and may help users solve each other’s problems or let you know about problems in the field your service department didn’t know about. The problem with user generated content, questions and forums is that they can hurt your Google rankings. The most obvious case is when your comments section turns into a thousand lines of link spam. A less obvious way user forums can hurt you is when people post questions and don’t get answers, looking like thin content. You can offset this problem by monitoring forums for questions and answering them, limiting the duplicate posting of answers by linking to the correct part of the user manual or answering the question in unique words each time. Or remove unanswered questions if they have not been answered after several months. You should monitor forums and remove users who post link spam. Take care in policing user forums and risking charges of censorship. Do enforce community standards such as removing personal insults or off-topic discussions. Another way to boost the quality of user generated content is to reward those who voluntarily add quality content, whether answering the questions of others or posting how to articles they themselves wrote.
User Friendliness Helps Your Rankings
Google rewards sites that are easy for visitors to use. For example, faster loading sites get preference over slower loading ones, all other factors being equal. Websites whose multimedia presentations take so long to load people abandon it quickly get downgraded. Sites that have pop-ups or other annoying features that drive people away quickly get downgraded, since Google’s rankings penalize sites when people abandon them within a minute or so.
Advertising and Affiliates
Google punishes websites that appear to exist to funnel people to pages full of only ads or affiliate links. Adding ads with external links hurts you under these criteria. These sites still show up in very specific queries like searching for exactly that page name or affiliate opportunity, but they will not come up in general queries no matter how good their SEO is. You may need to reduce the number of affiliate ads on your site to keep the Google penalty low while retaining your affiliate income. And don’t assume all pages with links to advertisers and affiliates are bad. Check the Google referral data before you make a
change, because not all sites are penalized under the Panda update.
Duplication and Redundancy Hurt You
Google’s Panda algorithm is separate from the duplicate content checks Google’s algorithm does, but duplicate content checks are now part and parcel of the artificial intelligence behind the algorithm.
Duplication of content on your own site because you used templates to create multiple articles, each varying by a few words and keyword density, hurts your rankings almost as much as content scraping. Google punishes most aggregating sites, too, though Techmeme.com is an exception. This hurts websites that list coupon codes, freebies, price comparisons and the latest headlines from a variety of sources.
Redundant text on the same webpage hurts its rank, though rewording the same paragraph several times seems like an easy way to extend the length of content on a page and thus its rankings. Eliminating redundant web pages on your site are one of the few times removing pages helps your rankings. Review the Google traffic data to ensure that you take down the content that receives almost no traffic, assuming you don’t want to tailor the content to a narrower topic or give it more depth.