Surviving the Panda-mic

This content is 10 years old. Please, read this page keeping its age in mind as SEO changes rapidly and while the past is useful to remember and reference, it often doesn't provide the best strategies to apply today.

As most of us know, the Panda update launched by Google in the US in February and this week in the UK has cause a lot of confusion, a lot of ranking drops and a lot of people scratching their heads wondering what to do to recover from it.

The Panda was designed to attack sites that spit out and aggregate low-quality content based on the most searched keywords on Google. The update caused a lot of shifts in the search results and helped to remove a lot of spam farms from the first page search results. This was great for publishers who were honestly trying to produce quality content. We also saw many splogs removed from Google’s index and many spun content sites lose their rankings, which in turn increased more legitimate sites up in rankings.

I have put together a few tips for webmasters that may help to offset the effects of the Panda and should help repair the loss in rankings.

  • We know that sites with duplicate content got hammered by the update. Produce only original high-quality, editorial or factual based content.
  • Domain age is important. Do not switch domain names if possible. If you do need to register a new site, then go for keyword specific terms that directly relate to your industry.
  • Google has clearly stated that social media is becoming increasingly important. Sites that were tied to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts fared better.
  • Sites with embedded video content seem to do better

Sometime the best approach is to make the most of a situation. To get the most from the Panda try the following:

  • Install a utilize a blog on your site. Write fresh, quality content at least 2-3 times a week. This causes the Google bots to closely monitor your site for new updates.
  • Add in feeds from your social networking accounts. The more links you get coming in from Facebook, Twitter and other social sites, the better.

For those sites that took a large ranking hit from the Panda, try some of the following recommendations.

  • Don’t ignore you rankings in other popular search engines such as Yahoo and Bing. The ranking drop you experienced in Google should not have affected your ranking elsewhere.
  • Setup a Google Webmaster Tools account and use it to analyze each section of your website. This tool not only helps you analyze and correct problems, but it also gives you a clear indication of the factors that Google is looking at when assessing your site.
  • Study and ensure that your site adheres to Google’s well established quality guidelines.

Once you have completed these steps, and you are certain that you have performed an exhaustive and thorough repair of your site, you can ask Google to take another look at your site for a reconsideration request.

Panda is by far, the largest most far-reaching changes to the algorithm in the last decade. Reports indicate that as much as 16% of all search queries have been affected. By keeping abreast of the guidelines established by Google and employing best practices, you will should be able to recoup your loses and regain your former ranking status.

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