Google Panda update was a change in the Google’s ranking algorithm that was launched on 24th Feb 2011 and affected around 12% of the search results. This was a major update specifically done to target content farms which provided thin content written for the purpose of ranking higher in the search results. This update rewarded high quality sites that provided a great user experience.
Many websites, especially sites with pages that had significant duplicate content that provided little to no added value, were hit by this update. Unbeknownst to many, the Google Panda update was not a one time thing; with each iteration of Google algorithmic updates, little tweaks to Panda are released.
Steps to Panda Proof Your Website
Since Panda updates are a continual process, the question webmasters ask is this: How can I keep up with a moving target? How can I make my website impervious to the continually morphing Panda?
As we have seen in the article Website Penalized by Google, it is possible to recover from Google Panda and achieve positive results outside of the Google bubble.
Here, we will present 5 steps that you can take to ensure that your website recovers from Google Panda and remains future-proof against all upcoming Panda iterations.
Step 1 – Improve the Quality of Content on your Site
You have probably heard the term “Content is King”. While this idea has been around for awhile, the plain truth is that great content did not always rise to the top.
After the Google Panda release, the idea that “Content is King” carries more weight. You can still find instances of shallow sites getting to the top, but these instances are getting few and far between.
You need to do a site check to verify that your content deserves a high-ranking in the search results. One good way to accomplish this is to embrace objectivity.
Rather than you evaluating content that you have created, request some objective eyes and have them give feedback on your site. Ask them to define the quality of the site as a whole and to provide feedback on specific pages.
Another good way to quickly identify subpar content is through your site’s bounce rate, which can be analyzed using Google analytics. The bounce rate will give you a solid idea of who stays on your site and reads your content.
Finally, ferret out all of the pages that embrace “excessive” SEO and ask yourself: does this page exist to provide true value or simply manipulate search rankings? If the answer is the latter, you should choose to do heavy revisions or scrap the page entirely.
Step 2- Check for any Form of Cloaking
Cloaking in any form can severely damage the quality of content of your website. Cloaking can exist as hidden text, hidden links, doorway pages, excessive redirects etc. Check for these issues in your website and get rid of them as early as possible.
Step 3- Reduce Boilerplate Content
Boiler content is content that is similar on all pages of the site. Having too much boiler content and too little fresh content can damage the overall quality of the site and contributes to a less user friendly experience. You need to reduce the amount of boilerplate content on your site so that every page provides substantial value to the user.
Step 4- Check for Proper Spelling and Grammar
Many webmasters ignore proper spelling and grammar on their website. They consider these issues to be petty but fail to realize that spelling and grammar mistakes are indicative of a lack of professionalism and often leave visitors annoyed and dissatisfied.
In summary, identify incorrect grammar and spelling errors within all of your pages to increase professionalism and enhance the visitor experience.
Step 5- Reduce the Number of Ads
If your webpage’s content starts with an ad then it is a reason to worry.
Users do not like websites that provide content starting with an ad nor do they like those which have excessive pop up ads. The ad to content ratio should always be higher on the content side and lower on the ad side. Always remember, visitors are looking for content–not ads–so your first motto should be to serve the user well!
If you consistently practice the above 5 steps, this will put your website in good stead with Google Panda now and well into the future.
Joydeep Bhattacharya is a search engine optimization professional with over 5 years of industry experience. He loves to be associated with the search engine industry and also owns a personal Seo blog, seosandwitch.com where he shares stuff related to SEO, SMO, and internet marketing. You may connect with him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @seoforu.
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