SEO and Google Panda

Since launching February 24th, 2011, Google Panda has changed the way we look at search engine marketing.

Google Panda introduced a new algorithm that affected a vast majority of sites on the web. It was only a matter of time before Google shut down large article repositories that basically reused the same material over and over again through different outlets.

What Google is trying to crack down on is sites that have multiple pages indexed with very similar, if not the same content. The idea now is to have only your top pages that actually contain meaningful content indexed. URL’s that are duplicate or irrelevant should be removed from your index.

If you were affected

The best practice is to make sure you are limited duplicate content on your site and only indexing the most relevant pages to Google.  It’s estimate(and I use that world loosely) that Panda updates every 4-6 weeks so try to clean up your site as much as possible for the next update.

Best moves to avoid being eaten by the Panda

While Google Panda definitely tightened up its policy on duplicate and irrelevant content with no substance, we still need to stick to some basic fundamentals to avoid losing search positioning:

  • Create fresh content – your content should be fresh and not taken from another site or reused from other sections of your own site. Repeating entire pages will get you flagged.
  • Update content regularly – it’s always a good idea to have some new for Google to index that is meaningful and not regurgitated from another blog or resource.
  • Clean up your index to avoid including less relevant pages – let’s face it, we all have some pages that are on our sites that we are not expecting to reach the first page of Google but are used more for reference to our visitors, clients or ourselves.  If you don’t want it to negatively effect you, leave it out of your index via robot exclusion, SML sitemaps, etc
  • Design your page so that it is user friendly – try to avoid putting to many adsense ads all over the place and try to stick to a basic layout of content on the left side and close to the top without too many roadblocks(ads, extra/irrelevant content, etc)
  • Possible other causes – there has been a lot of rumors floating around on the web about other factors with Panda including: speed of site, bounce rate, number of backlinks, number of pages viewed, organic traffic from other sources than google.

We won’t get into all the main components of SEO in this article as it’s focus is on Google Panda algorithm and what we have learned about it.

Takeaway

If your site was affected, it’s crucial to make sure you clean it up before the next update comes. Updating your content and only indexing relevant pages should be the first and foremost thing to do.