Google Panda Update presumably initiated to target the Content Farms in the wake of J.C. Penny NY Times article to save the reputation of Google and the quality of its search results, it may have been in the pipeline anyway but that N.Y Times article incident did hasten it, but as the changes roll out, it has become clearer in the last two months or so that this update has much larger implications for the SEO world than just for the Content Farms.
Initially implemented only to US search results, with its global implementation, countless big and small websites have been affected but there’s clearly a pattern and we’ll discuss that here. Google has always been going after spammy websites and with its every big SERP’s update; it has done a good job by ridding serp’s from spam results.
Google Panda update has once again shaken the rankings in a big way that some of the major websites have already lost up to 50% of their search engine ranking and some of the biggest losers are those who used manufacturers’ or product/service source’s provided descriptions and copied content on their website. Others include ad heavy websites with little or no useful content for the user and those who scraped or used duplicate content to create thin content pages.
More On-Page Factors than Off-Page Factors
Google Panda update is more about On-Page factors than Off-Page factors. One of the biggest issue has been thin content pages or duplicate content pages that make the right or left panels of any website. Web Developers can avoid such mistakes by creating content intelligent panels or widgets rather than just the dumb include snippets to fetch only the relevant content in the side bars or underneath the actually article content.
Similarly, checks should be placed in the CMS to publish only those landing pages on website that fulfil the SEO checklist, with enough data and complete meta and other tags. Content scraping should not be made part of website, it can only hurt chances of getting any search engine rankings. Also ‘Product widget’ heavily stuffed keyword rich external hyperlinks to affiliate should be avoided, ‘more..’ is not bad option after all.
Google Panda has shown us that web developers cannot be complacent anymore. It’s too serious a business to be left in the hands of seo’s alone or to their phony interpretations! From my experience as web developer, there are only very few good SEO’s who really know what they are up to, most of these self-professed seo’s usually have little or no idea how server side code works and what’s possible and what’s not and what can be handled best at which layer. Web developers need to get engaged with Internet marketers at more deeper level and from initial stages if the website they are building need to go anywhere in rankings.
Possible Problematic Issues from Panda Update Perspective
- Thin Pages/Shallow Pages cause lot more problems for a domain
- Ad-Content ratio – Content above the fold
- Internal links are devalued now, only in-coming external count
- High Bounce Rate and content usefulness issues, it may not be relevant for Blog and posts where visitor is only inclined to read a specific recent topic or issue, but for any E-Commerce or affiliate website, it definitely is. On-page user behaviour measured by analytics you have on the website could raise red flags.
- Lack of Social Media Marketing
- Duplicate content snippets on your webpages cause much bigger problems, use intelligent content snippets instead if at all
- Too many external named links “widget keyword” instead of “more…” can cause penalties
- Missing Positive Reviews For Products/Affiliates websites, missing positive reviews from the usual review websites can get you unfavourable attention of the Panda.
- Think before you link, although it has always been true, but now it’s outright fatal. The low quality of a link destination will decrease the quality of the linking domain
- Website Credibility – Missing seals/certificates of organizations could give a negative signal, especially for E-Commerce websites
- Avoid “Duplicate content” like a plague and use only “unique content” on every webpage
- Find out the hardest hit/penalized pages and drop all of them, they are not coming back anytime soon
- Remove the heavily keyword rich external hyperlinks to the affiliate website and use “more” instead
- All the “Thin landing Pages” content are being hit hard, go back to these landing pages and add original content
- Article spinning sites are being hit hardest, put a stop on all “article submission” activity
- Remove all “scraped” and “borrowed” content, that should have always been the case but with Google Panda update, there’s no room left for scrapping and copying
- Reduce Ad-Content ratio by reducing number of ads especially at the top of the page.
One caveat for above ideas here is that these are only observations and most likely factors why you were hit by Google Panda if you were. However, this summary is based on informed opinion of overwhelming number of experienced and practising webmasters so ignore it at your own peril, risking your online business and rankings!