SEO Tips for Google Panda Update

Most of the webmasters and digital marketing professionals struggle to understand the nuances of Digital Marketing and Search Engine Optimization, especially when it comes to understanding the theory with a deeper perspective than is presented in most blogs and online forums.One of the burning issues that has hit the Web-Masters is how to tackle the Google Panda, after it was released in late 2011. SEO tactics deployed by most web-masters have seemingly failed and many reliable and white hat sites are drastically getting downgraded ever since the Google Panda was introduced.

Google Panda was introduced to weed out “content farms” and low quality sites which strive to make a living by producing low quality content. New dimensions that has been added in Google Panda are that it analyzes websites based on an self-learning AI algorithm, which looks for similarities between websites people found to be high quality and low quality, based on surfing behavior. There is also a high probability that there is an increased usage of Image Analysis  with Text Analysis to identify original content. There is also a higher importance to content recency based on content type. Also, which sites and which articles connect to you from which sites, matter a lot.

Google Panda has been criticized by renowned web-masters since many a time renowned websites had “scraped” content and yet the original lesser known site was penalized. Also, it appeared to impact an entire site’s ranking or specific section, rather than just the individual pages on a site. Also it adversely impacted sites where most of the traffic came from “ever popular” content but were of smaller scale (e.g. Websites with niche content, Personal blogs).

So what does that leave you? If you are a web-master, you are probably worrying how to ensure that all the effort you have put in to develop your website does not go down the drain.While age old SEO tactics like getting good quality back-links still do the trick, it is important to realize that there are some basic differences which needs to be addressed, if you want to ensure that your web-site is recognized by Google Panda as a high quality site.

So we have brought out few pointers on what not to do, if you are attempting to optimize your website based on the guide-lines from Google Panda.

  1. Never keep a high percentage of duplicate content. This might apply both to a page or a complete site. So content that you may have on headers or footers, if they are repeated across pages, should never increase more than 25% of the content across all the pages.High percentage of boilerplate content (similar static content) is a strict negative pointer from Google Panda.
  2. A low amount of original content on a page or site is always bad. It is a good practice to ensure when you make a post, you should have more that at least 300 words in every post. Semantic analysis is done by Search Engines nowdays, which can actually trace the quality of content that you may have posted in your article, which is new from your older articles or novel from other content in other web-sites.
  3. A high percentage of pages with a low amount of original content will drastically downgrade your SERP rank. So it is important to ensure, that you create a post only when you have substantial content to make a new post. The age old thought that you should post frequently irrespective of the post content is way dead. It has been attacked by Search Engines besides Google, to weed out content farms.
  4. A high amount of inappropriate adverts, especially in the beginning of the page, showcases the focus of the web-page is only revenue. Hence Panda will recognize that page and a site as being a Content Farm.
  5. If the page content and page title tags do not match for the search queries a page does well for, it will be taken as an attempt to play around with key-words. Text snippets will be analyzed through Symantec Analyzers to ensure there is high consistency between the meta tags and content.
  6. Unnatural language on a page including over-optimization of SEO will be harshly penalized. Google is increasingly becoming efficient to recognize Black Hat SEO tactics.
  7. High bounce rate from a particular web-page or web-site or even low visit time on pages or site, less than 30 seconds, will be recognized as a low content web-page or website. Also low percentage of users returning to a site, without search, will be an indicator that the site has low quality content where visitors do not return. These are strong indicators of the content quality and quantity in a website.
  8. Low click-through percentage from Google’s results pages (for page or site) as and when it appears in Google Search will ensure that the page ranks even lower for consecutive searches, for the search criteria.
  9. Low or no quality inbound links to a page or site (by count or percentage) is always bad. However, low quality backlinks is judged by the relevance of the web-page where it is linked to, by analyzing the text snippets of the mentioned paragraph. If a page is mentioned where it won’t have substantial semantic linkage to the content, it may get penalized.
  10. Low or no mentions or links to a page or site in social media and from other sites is also bad. It is of critical importance that new people share your content. Typically, most SEO professionals link up with a group to promote their content by exchanging votes/shares. Over time, the same group of professionals share the links and posts of a site get shared by the same group, and within the same group. The search engines today can track the sharing pattern through web-mining and this is a serious negative pointer for a web-sites. Sharing or mentions across pages or new profiles is the new mantra for success. Even if you hit Digg’s first page by exchanging votes, you are likely to be recognized by Google Panda as a Link Farm.

I hope you enjoyed going through these guidelines on how to protect your web-site from Google Panda downgrades. Do let me know if you have any queries. You could also check out few of the good service providers for web marketing. Also, check out the free ebook “Advanced Guide to Digital Marketing” for more details on digital marketing, the theories and advanced concepts.

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Arpan Kar

Professor at Indian Institute of Management
Dr. Kar is a Professor in Information Systems Management in Indian Institute of Management (IIM), one of the top institutions in Business Management education globally. He has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research. He has over 35 high impact publications. Prior to joining academia, he has rich experience in Cognizant Business Consulting and IBM Research Laboratory. He is the Editor of Business Fundas.
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