Google often makes changes to its search engine ranking algorithm with the intent of improving the search results returned to their users. Google’s Panda Update, named after Navneet Panda an engineer at Google, set out to lower the rank of low quality sites and boost the ranking of higher quality sites. Likewise, Panda set out to help the mom and pop websites have a chance at being seen in searches. As long as the mom and pop sites have killer content, the search engines will pick up on the signals coming from the visitor on their site and rank it accordingly.
Google’s Panda update refers to a series of updates that started in February 2011. Panda updates affected 12% of search results and decreased site traffic for many websites. The biggest Panda punch to date was felt in March 2012. Matt Cutts of Google announced they were deploying an “over-optimized” or “overly SEO’ed” penalty. Cutts said it was in effort to level the playing field by giving sites with great content a better shot at ranking above sites that have content that is not as great but did a better job with SEO.
What should I do to keep my website out of Panda’s cross hairs?
Google is pretty tight lipped about this but the two engineers at the heart of Panda, Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal gave some good advice in an interview with Wired.
- Write high quality, unique content & stay away from duplicate content.
- Keep advertisements to a minimum & keep them toward the bottom of the page.
- Make sure the page content (and title tag) matches the search queries a page does well for.
- Eliminate unnatural language on a page including overuse of a word (keyword stuffing).
- Little to no boilerplate or repetitive content.
- Lower bounce rates keeping visitors on your site.
- Improve returning visitor rate
- High click through % from Google results pages.
- High quality inbound links to a page or site.
- Mentions or links from social media and from other sites.
If you think your website has been affected by the Panda algorithm update and need help with a site analysis or online marketing services, please feel free to contact us today.