Google has announced this month that Panda is now part of its core ranking algorithm. First of all, what was Panda and what is it now?

Google Panda

Besides being the last name of a Google engineer, Panda was a spam-fighting filter that ranked all indexed websites according to the quality of their content , according to a top secret list of factors. In a given search result set, it would reorder, or push down, the websites with a low Panda rank.

Panda is now part of the core algorithm, which means that it effects the order of the search results as would any other component of the algorithm, rather than changing the order. The practical implications of this change from filter to core component is not really clear, other than telling us that Panda is here to stay.

The Panda ranking system is not calculated on the fly, in real time. It is calculated, applied to a website, and it sticks until ranking are updated. This means that even if you make significant improvements in website quality, you will probably not see the effect of those changes in improved ranking until Panda updates or refreshes. Historically is has been months between updates.

Google Panda Tips

The Tips

1. Know your content

Catalog all your pages and look for thin content. Also identify your quality content. There is no minimum word count that Panda looks for, but if your site has an average word count per page between 200 and 300, you are probably ok.

2.  Improve thin content

  • Rather than just getting rid of thin content, try to add relevant content to upgrade the quality of your problem pages.
  • Small sites under 100 pages should definitely not get rid of content.
  • Sites around 500 pages or so may nofollow some low quality content, but should also add quality content.
  • Large sites over 1000 pages may need to nofollow thin content, or delete it if it makes sense.

3. Fix duplicate content

Obviously you don't want copied content on your website, but also make sure no one has copied your content, because Google isn't always the best at identifying the original author. Content that is generated by a template, with only minor modifications, can also be a Panda problem. Try to get more  unique content on those pages.

4. Make sure traffic is appropriate to landing page

Use Google Search console to look at the traffic coming to each page. Is the keyword appropriate to the landing page? If not, poor user experience, and DING, Panda penalty.

5. Think topics rather than keywords

Panda does not like keyword stuffing, but does like quality content pages with a variety of terms related by topic. The Hummingbird update made Google much better at synonyms, the idea being the users are better served by determining the intent of their query and matching that to relevant content, rather than just matching up keywords.

Google promises that Panda will be refreshed more frequently moving forward, so hopefully by making these improvement now, your rank will improve in the very near future.

TP Designs promotes websites in the San Francisco Bay Area through PPC and SEO services.

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