We are long beyond the days of online marketing with simple Meta tags for SEO optimization. Successful Google page ranking depends on an overall website value score governed by Google Webmaster Guide and determined by various quality factors. One of these quality factors is content.
What is a Google Panda Update?
In February of 2011, Google introduced a new friend to improve search query results and it is called Panda. It is an algorithm update derived from Google’s affirmative action plans.
The objective of Google Panda is to end content farming and eliminate low-quality content websites from negatively skewing search engine results.
How Google Panda Update Affects Your Website?
In order to rank solid positions on Google, factors such as engaging content, backlink attributes, and domain authority play big roles. Google’s Panda update has a detrimental effect on websites with thin, duplicate, or copied content that offers very little value.
The latest version 4.2 released on July 17, 2015, punishes websites on unqualified webpages as well as the entire domain as a whole. The bad news is if you still have spamming, plagiarized, or poor quality content on some of your webpages, your entire website can lose its ranking on Google.
Here’s a better explanation of the Panda update by Matt Cutts – Google’s top brass in the anti-spam team:
How to avoid being punished by Google Panda Update?
First of all, let us understand exactly what Panda is looking to punish. Avoid violations and spare your website from going down the path of no ranking. It’s never worth it to buy into tricks. The end result may leave you with an immense drop in traffic and a difficult road to recovery.
4 Google Panda Violations to Avoid
- Low-value content. Content that is short, filler-like or offers little meaning is obvious targets of Panda.
- Content Farms. These are websites that copies content from other websites in an attempt to fool Google into evaluating them as information rich. All content farming websites will be weeded out by Google without mercy.
- Duplicate pages and contents. Sometimes duplicated pages unintentionally result from improper CMS (Content Management System) practices. Remember to add Canonical tags to the original page to avoid this issue.
- Black hat SEO tactics. Any tactics that are not in accordance with Google Webmaster Guidelines will result in a violation. Schemes such as direct translating or manipulating other people’s content and using it as your own will be penalized. Don’t even go there.
With that said, it is important to make sure your website content passes the "Panda" test. Check your content quality with these self-assessment questions below.
10 Questions to Ask Yourself When Accessing Your Website for Google Panda Penalty
- Does your evergreen content look more like a paragraph or caption rather than a proper article? You are probably well aware by now that short content is less favored by Google.
- Do you have authoritative and accurate research to back up your content? Content authority and accuracy will improve SEO ranking and escalate your business reputation within the industry.
- Does your content sound overall trivial, generic, or superficial in nature? Readers, not search engines, are your ultimate audience. Even if you manage to escape algorithm penalty, readers will turn away because you have content of little worth.
- Did you double check the website’s SEO implementation? Notable things such as improperly executed optimization and Meta tags can become problematic for SEO ranking.
- Are you trying to fill up the website by spinning out variations of the same article, or simply replicating the same content? Please refrain from doing so because Google is smarter than you think with catching these tricks.
- Do you observe abnormally high bounce rate other than technical issues? If this happens, it means visitors don’t like what they find on your landing pages. This again ties back to having irrelevant content or low-quality content.
- Does your website look like blinking billboard with an overwhelming amount of ads? This is a red flag for spam to Google, as it can significantly impact user experience.
- Did you do spell checks and proofread before publishing? Unfortunately, too many misspelled words and poor grammar will affect your ranking.
- Are there too many unattended broken links? If your website is frequently flashing 404 alerts, have them fixed right away. It is a bad user experience and causes high bounce rate.
- Does your website take forever to load? Check your website’s speed with Google PageSpeed Insights. Keep track of how your website loading speed changes over time within Google Analytics.
Deliver a Great User Experience
The best advice to avoid Google Panda penalty is to always provide the best user experience to visitors through quality content. Think of your own search experiences.
If you are looking for car buying tips and all you get from Google are dozens of junk links, what good does search engines do? No one wants to waste time on a website with useless information.
It really pays off in the long term to follow through with proper SEO practices. Refer to our best SEO content optimization guide to improving website conversion.