Still not feeling the love from the Google Panda Update?
Got a site wide penalty that you can’t fix?
Not sure how best to act?
Put your best Paw forwards and let’s see what we can do…
What Is The Google Panda Update?
Well it’s all about machine learning, basically speaking…
Google hired people to audit websites, getting them to rate how good or bad the site content / user experience was.
Computers were then brought in to mimic the people and when the algorithm was good enough to match the human answers they unleashed it across the globe.
Cue maniacal laughter…
Effectively Google is trying to look at sites in a more human way, making judgements about how good or bad a site is. Sadly if some of your site pages are rated low by Panda your whole site seems to suffer.
Say That Again?
OK to put it another way.
Google is now effectively able to ask (something like) the following questions of your site content and give each URL a thumbs up or down:
- Would you trust the information presented in this article?
- Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
- Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
- Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
- Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
- Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
- Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
- Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
- How much quality control is done on content?
- Does the article describe both sides of a story?
- Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
- Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
- Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
- For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
- Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
- Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
- Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
- Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
- Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
- Would users complain when they see pages from this site?
How can it possibly do that?
Richard Baxter has had a stab at figuring out how here: High Quality Web Sites – The New Google Ranking Factor
What Does Google Panda Love?
Well take a look at the above questions… it’s likely that Google Panda likes sites with:
- Quality Content that Engages with the User
- Great User Experience
- Good Navigation
- Limited On-site Duplicate Content
- Limited Cross-site Duplicate Content
- Limited On-site Thin Content
- Evidence of Social Signals (FB Likes / Tweets / Google Plus)
- Good User Metrics (low bounce rates etc.)
What Does Google Panda Hate?
Again difficult to diagnose as by nature it’s subjective but we can guess that it downgrades sites that have:
- Poor Quality Site Design
- Low Quality Content
- Lots of Thin or Duplicate on-site content
- Lots of Duplicate cross-site content
- Template Heavy Sites
- Page content that’s too Low Down
- Lots of Ads (Yes even Adsense see: An SEO Guide to Adsense, Ads and Placement)
- Automatically Generated Content
What Does Google Panda Do?
“This update is designed to reduce rankings for low quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.” Source: Finding more high-quality sites in search
The problem is that Google Panda can impact the rankings for your entire site.
Some people who have been hit by the Panda have actually deleted or de-indexed pages in an attempt to recover their rankings.
And Google itself has actually advised the blocking / removal of poor quality content, see: Google: Remove Low Quality Content If You Were Impacted By Farmer/Panda
How To Sort Panda Related Site Issues?
“If you believe you’ve been impacted by this change you should evaluate all the content on your site and do your best to improve the overall quality of the pages on your domain. Removing low quality pages or moving them to a different domain could help your rankings for the higher quality content.” Source: Google Panda Update Tip: Remove Low-Quality Content
Get your SEO to conduct a site audit, identifying the instances of the things that Panda hates.
Improve your site with the end user in mind, for example improve the content the navigation and the general user experience.
There are various ways to block, redirect and remove duplicate and thin content from the search engines.
Don’t just delete huge chunks of your site but do consider how best to deal with the highlighted issues.
If you don’t believe what your SEO tells you try this: Replicate Google’s Panda Questionnaire – Whiteboard Friday