Google Slaps Panda out of it’s Goodwill
I used to like pandas. I remember seeing a big panda at the zoo as a child and being amazed by how slowly they seemed to move. Pandas are actually deeply rooted in the Chinese culture and symbolize good will.
This is why I got upset when Google decided to name their recent search algorithm change aka Google slap, now known as Big Panda, of all names.
Was this really necessary? Amit Singhal from Google, claims they named the change after a Google employee (really???)
Ok, now down to business.
What is Google Panda and Should You be Worried?
The recent Google Panda update has been making waves in the SEO community. A Google update is simply a change in the Google search algorithm, also fondly nicknamed Google slap, since a site’s rankings can be affected by algorithm changes and get slapped right off the first page….
The Panda update refers to Google’s recent search algorithm change that powerfully decapitated some very big and well known sites such as Forbes and the New York Times Co. Google Panda, also nicknamed the Farmer Update is aimed at getting rid of low quality sites. Some of these sites are referred to as content farms.
Chances are, if you are practicing solid search engine optimization (SEO) and publishing unique, relevant quality content and are not relying just on mass links from content farms, your sites fared well during the update.
As in any sweeping algorithm change some sites have been affected unjustly and can resubmit their site for re-consideration using the Google Webmaster Tools.
That is, if Google deems your site to be an authority source of quality and relevant content…
How does Google determine the quality of your site?
Here are a few factors that may have direct relevance to your site getting slapped in 4 basic categories:
- Your Pages – Do you have pages in your site or campaign that contain duplicate content? How much original content is on each page of your site?
- User Experience -Does your site contain excessive advertising?
- SEO Optimization – SEO optimizations is about communicated what your site is about to the search engines. Are you using the golden SEO optimization Rules and optimize your site for title, description and content types without spamming keywords? Do you have any links to your site?
- Visitor behavior – Do people stay on your site once they get there (how is your bounce rate?), do visitors return to your site or mention it in social media channels?
Should you be worried? If you are following the Google Webmaster guidelines and decent SEO, you really shouldn’t have a problem. Though many SEOs use shady color links to promote your site and you may not even know this.
Google states that even the presence of one low quality page on your site can drag the whole site down, consider going through your server and cleaning it up. You may be surprised by what you find.
Many times outsourced designers or coders will drop in hidden links to their sites.
One way to verify whether your site had been Panda slapped is to check your traffic levels in Google Analytics.
If your site was wrongly slapped in the mix you can submit your site for reconsideration with Google.
But before you do that, you might want to clean up any broken links or other problems on your site using the Google Webmaster Tools.
Does Your Site Have Authority?
Google seems to be favoring “authority sites”.
You may be asking your self what this means.
Well to the best of my understanding, (and I say this because I don’t work for Google in any way shape or form 🙂 authority sites and big brands are moving up in the search engines rapidly post Panda.
So what is authority?
Well, in a nutshell it has to do with the type of domain, for example government and educational sites (.gov and .edu) are considered to have more authority than your average site. The other main aspect of authority is size.
Yes, my friend, size does matter!
The number of pages on your site affects your rankings..
and of course how you link these pages together is also no small potatoes….
Does your Site Contain High Quality and Relevant Content?
The term quality content is a constant topic of discussion among SEOs and internet marketers. While Google clearly outlines what not to do with your content, the precise rules are not clearly specified.
Ruling out short, duplicate, boring, unattractive, unsubstantiated and other negative adjectives we can deduce that quality content should look something like a site Google clearly loves – Wikipedia.
Why Wiki Pages are Fabulous
Think about it for a moment.
- A standard Wiki site page contains over 1000 words.
- Each page is divided into sections and organized using internal navigation and bookmarks.
- Every Wiki page strives to include images and references.
- Every Wiki page is internally linked to other Wiki Pages.
- There are many pages on a Wiki site.
- People consider a Wiki site information to be correct and quote the site and link to it as a source of authority information.
What is Relevant Content?
Relevant means that people actually care about what you are publishing. These can be measured using social indicators such as Google Plus 1, Facebook, Twitter and other social links and activity.
Get into the active conversation, it is the best way to stay current both with your visitors needs as well as establish your authority within your online community.
Google Panda Update – The Jist of it
There are more factors involved of course, but understanding how the search engines view content and rankings is important for your mindset going forward post Panda.
So get busy and and work on the aspects you can control to ensure your site has both quality and authority in the eyes of Google.
Want to get your SEO rocking? Contact me about my Duru coaching and SEO services today!