As you’ve probably heard, Google launched a new algorithm update known as Panda 4.0 on May 20th. Panda was originally released in the beginning of 2011, and has been providing data refreshes ever since impacting websites that have overall poor content quality. This new update isn’t just a refresh, it’s an algorithm change that has impacted 7.5% of queries which isn’t going unnoticed.
Let’s start with the bad. Your website will be negatively impacted if any of the following factors occur:
Duplicate Content: Your website has content that is also visible on other websites that wasn’t published by you first. Also known as scraped content. There can also be sitewide duplicate content which means your website has internal pages that have the same or very similar content, ecommerce category pages that aren’t properly canonicalized, etc.
Low Quality Content: This term is pretty general in terms of Panda. This algorithm is going to look at the overall quality of your website in comparison to the large number of sites that are competing with you, as well as these factors:
- Doorway Pages – internal website landing pages that are only meant for search engines – not visitors. These are usually keyword stuffed landing pages that will rank high in the search results for a specific array of keywords, but have absolutely zero value to a visitor who lands on it. They are strictly there to manipulate search engines.
- Thin Content – content that lacks originality. Mostly happens on affiliate sites where product descriptions are copied, and don’t add any original content to override the duplicated product descriptions. Original content should always overpower anything that is duplicated. Don’t only rely on affiliate content. Thin content can also be defined as pages that only have a couple lines of content. Make sure your content provides value and has weight on each landing page.
Over-Optimization: This is where Panda is going to look for pages that contain over usage of keywords otherwise known as keyword stuffing. Don’t stuff keywords in your meta data or within your content.
Bad news is, if your website currently has any of the items listed above, you have a chance of being negatively impacted by this update or penalized by Google. Don’t think that just because you haven’t been impacted this time, you won’t be in the future. Panda 4.0 is only the beginning of more updates where the algorithm is only going to become smarter and continue to evolve.
Here’s a few sites that have been negatively impacted due to Panda 4.0:
- ask.com > -50%
- ebay.com > -33%
- retailmenot.com > -33%
The good part of this major algorithm change is the fact that websites will be rewarded with higher rankings that already contain high quality content. If you’ve seen an increase in organic traffic and rankings since this update occurred, chances are you’re already doing something right. There’s a lot of talk going around that smaller business websites will be rewarded from this update. About time!
Best Practices for Producing Quality Content
Always Write Original Content
Don’t ever think it’s okay to simply copy and paste content from other websites. Your site will be penalized for doing this! Your website should provide detailed information about your product or service while keeping conversion in mind. You don’t want to bore your potential clients with a bunch of mumbo jumbo content. Provide original content that will educate them and show the difference between your company and your competition. What makes your company so special?
Don’t Stuff Keywords into Your Content
Keyword density is an outdated SEO technique. If you’re still stuffing keywords into your content, it will trigger Google to thinking your content sounds unnatural and you can be penalized. Keep your content sounding natural with a variety of keyword variations.
Produce Fresh Content That’s High Quality
There isn’t any calculated formula as to how often you should be producing blogs, eBooks, or videos. What you want to keep in mind is the quality of the content you’re publishing. Does your content hold sentimental value or are you just producing content because you want Google to keep crawling your website? I hope the answer is that your content is producing some sort of value. To do this, create a monthly editorial calendar that have blog topics in mind. If you have enough topics to write 2 blogs per week, do it! If not, once per week is fine.
Since Google is going to continue to release large updates such as Panda 4.0, it’s highly recommended to always keep your readers in mind first, then the search engines second when writing content online. Quality over quantity. Offer value in your content to readers because in the end, it will help your rankings if your readers are sharing your content naturally.
We hope this article helped you understand the basics of Panda 4.0. Have you been targeted by this update? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.