Over the past couple of weeks, Google has been making significant updates to its Core Algorithm resulting in some wild ranking fluctuations in search results around the world, many website owners here will have realised that UK websites have not escaped.
To make matters worse for business owners, Google has also added their Panda update into the new version of the Core Algorithm – making the latest update a double hit.
Google’s Panda algorithm has been steadily rolling out over the last few years with regular subtle updates designed to weed out spam and poor quality content on the web. With Google now making this part of their Core Algorithm, it demonstrates their commitment to providing the best and most relevant content to Internet users and searchers.
What is Panda? Essentially it’s a series of algorithm updates designed to identify and weed out any low-quality websites, usually those with duplicate, ‘spammy’ and low quality content.
This algorithm will penalise the sites it identifies, while simultaneously bringing higher quality websites higher up the Google Rankings. Previously sites would first be subjected to Google’s Core Algorithm for their initial ranking and then filtered again, separately, whenever Google released a Panda update. This merge means that now Panda and the Core Algorithm will run side-by-side.
“So what should I do to stay on the good side of Panda?” I hear you ask, here are three simple tips that should help you avoid being penalised by Panda.
1. Focus on the quality of your content.
This might sound obvious considering the entire point of Panda is to pick up on low quality websites, but it really does need to be hammered home. Focus your efforts on making content that is helpful for those reading it - write for real readers, not search engines.
Tip: Google wants to see a site that has good quality content over a large percentage of their pages. Don’t focus all your content on one or two pages, spread it evenly across your entire site and make it rich and relevant.
2.Try to meet your searcher’s expectations.
You could have the best, most amazing, piece of content– but if it is unrelated to what your visitors are looking for, Google could still perceive this as low quality.
Tip: If your site is ranking for certain search queries, you want high quality, useful answers for the queries in question. If you rank for something and don’t have any relatable, high quality content, chances are Panda will slap you with a penalty.
3. Don’t delete your low quality pages.
Google doesn’t recommend removing low quality pages, purely because removing content on the basis it could be negatively impacting the site from a Panda perspective could just be making your problems worse. Instead, you should look to fix your low quality pages by replacing them with high quality content.
Tip: If you’re concerned a page is low quality, don’t delete the offender – instead set up your robots.txt file so that Google doesn’t index the page. As you slowly work on improving these pages, you can remove the tag when you feel enough unique, high quality content has been added.