Google Panda is a newer format to the search engine's results-ranking algorithm. Released in February 2011, Panda sought to give less trustworthy sites a lower ranking while doling out higher ranks to more reputable websites. What does this mean to a person who uses Google during a search? Well, Google's hopes are that the top-ranking sites would more closely match the intended results from a search, and low-quality websites, as Google terms them, would appear at a much lower ranking in the search results.
The biggest complain from websites, however, was that Google's ranking algorithm now placed sites that stole content or abused copyrights above the original content creators. Since the February 2011 release, which affected rankings on nearly 12 percent of search results, Google has released many updates to Panda to account for changes in search behavior and provided more high-quality websites a deserved ranking.
The Google Panda 3.8 Update
The Google Panda 3.8 Update was released June 25th, and Google calls it a refresh rather than an update. What is the difference? Well, an update would apply new information, algorithms or changes to the existing system, whereas a refresh reinforces an already-in place system. The company states that the Google Panda algorithm needed to be refreshed to catch some of the low-quality websites that fell through the cracks during the last update's release. Google stated via Twitter that the refresh affected approximately 1 percent of search result rankings.
How to Panda-Proof Your Website
Google provides a list of ways to turn your low-quality website into a high-quality site in order to reclaim your high rankings or to improve your website's rankings. The search engine provides the company's mindset in order to get websites on the same page mentally, leveling the playing field and giving everyone the same advantages in order to receive better rankings.
While Google hasn't released, and won't release, the algorithm's site-quality assessment, it has provided a list of questions a web designer can ask in order to make a website more favorable in the search result ranking system.
What to avoid
Even high-quality websites can receive low rankings if a portion or several pages are deemed low-quality. In order to rid your website of low-quality material, here is a list things to avoid.
- Heavy advertising layouts. Move your advertising to one sidebar or place it within text and mark it clearly as an ad. Google Panda 3.8 is cracking down on web designs that could mislead readers into thinking an advertisement is trustworthy or that the ad itself is actual content.
- Redundancy. Multiple articles or links with variations on keywords are a red flag. These articles can be seen as spamming or trying to trick or mislead readers. If your site has several articles on similar topics, consider rewriting the articles or joining them to avoid redundancy. Remember, there's a difference between being redundant and utilizing search engine optimization (SEO). About 15 years ago, websites simply had to include a plethora of words or phrasing on their sites in order to receive a high search engine ranking. Now, with the advancement of algorithms, a website has to appeal to what the algorithms are searching for using a high-quality, search engine optimization method.
- Errors. Spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and factual errors (stating a “fact” that is not true) should be avoided at all costs. These mistakes make a website seem untrustworthy, and if your site includes factual errors, it had be held liable for legal repercussions if applicable. Always proofread your website's content and do research before making claims that may be untrue.
- Plagiarism. Does your website “borrow” information, images or designs from another source? If so, you should include attribution. Attribution is a way of giving credit to the original source. Your website should be filled with original content, however, if you do borrow a link, image, design or text, you must attribute it to the original creator through a link, a line of text or copyright disclaimer. It is always advisable to gain permission from the creator before “borrowing” (stealing) his or her content.
- Overall untrustworthy. How does a visitor to your website view your content? Are factual claims made without additional information, attribution or references? If so, your articles or content can be viewed as untrustworthy. Readers can easily determine if a site was hastily thrown together, and that makes them wonder why a reputable business would choose the quick and easy route rather than spending time on a quality product. And usually the visitor will decide that a reputable company wouldn't rush the process, and they'll move on to another site, and so will Google Panda 3.8.
If you have experienced a fall in search result rankings, you can proactively improve your results through managing your website. The most important step to take is to be honorable in your improvements. If you find a hack or back way into the system, don't take it, or you'll find yourself in the same spot the next time Google Panda updates or refreshes. Instead, take the moral high ground and improve your content by updating your website on a regular basis. Improved content and frequent updates are two big areas in Google Panda SEO, and they're easy to achieve. If you aren't a good writer, and you want to avoid spelling/grammar mistakes, you can hire a blogger or website content editor to manage the system for you.
Share and Enjoy