Google Panda Updates: Quick Guide To Avoid Being Hit
If your site has ever been hit by Google’s Panda Update – then you’re already familiar with what this filter can do. But perhaps you aren’t aware of why it happened. Or more importantly, how it can be avoided or undone. Let’s start by understanding what this tool is engineered to do and how you can go on the path of the write-eous and Panda-proof your website.
What Is Panda?
Without a doubt – Google is the leading search engine in the world. In order to maintain this status and the market share that goes with it, they are constantly developing new ways to bring value and quality content to their users. In February 2011, Google introduced the Panda Update aimed at blocking websites with low-quality content from appearing at the top of search results. Improving the overall quality of search results.
A Panda Refresh used to happen every month and have a dramatic effect on search results but now they are slowly and continuously rolled out which makes them less noticeable. Of course, this doesn’t make them less effective so it’s worth keeping an eye on proceedings as sites that have escaped previous refreshes may be caught, or sites that have improved their content since they were hit may be released.
Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.Bill Gates - January 1996
How does the Panda Update work?
If your website was hit by a Panda Refresh – don’t panic. Many legitimate websites get hit in what is called a ‘false positive’, but the good news is that a recovery is possible and not that difficult to implement. If you would like to learn how to avoid having your site hit by the Panda Update, you’ll need to start by understanding what kind of website Panda is going to target:
- Web sites will low or thin quality content. This means too few words on the page without having a targeted keyword.
- Websites with poor SEO structure. Free sites like SEO SiteCheckup or SEO Webpage Analyzer can help you pinpoint problem areas.
- Websites that act as content farms or have unnecessary pages indexed in Google (sites that usually contain a large number of low-quality articles & pages).
- Too much duplicate content both on and off the website.
- Black-hat SEO. (This is when a site over-optimizing their SEO to rank top in search engines. Also known as keyword-stuffing).
- Advertisement to content ratio is disproportionate.
- Too many broken links.
How to keep your site ‘safe’ from the Panda Update
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating new content on your blog or website:
- Use headers, bold, italics, etc…
- Add a description and keywords to your images. This will help Google identify the subject of your images.
- Use at least 250 words per post. Anything less could be considered ‘thin’ content.
- Avoid duplicate content. This is for both plagiarised and sitewide duplicate content.
- Use targeted keywords but don’t overdo it. Ideally you would want to use a keyword 2-3 times on a page. This is enough to help Google find your content but not too much so it looks spammy.
- Create quality content. Don’t let a dodgy past catch up with you in the future and create original content from now on that will stand the test of time.
- Re-write poor quality content. It’s generally better to add some thickness and quality to already thin content, rather than deleting it.
We don't recommend removing content in general for Panda, rather add more highQ stuff.Gary Illyes (@methode) from Google - October 7, 2015
Not only should these tips keep your site safe from the next Panda Refresh, it will improve your search rankings and increase traffic to your website (the good kind!).