The Panda Strikes Again!
Marketers hardly had time to breath before they were struck again by the Panda. This was the second update of the month which took place on June 25th. The previous update was on June 8th. Google Panda updates every month or so, it has been observed.
For those of you who are not aware of the Panda in town, here is some history. In January 2011, Google promised search engine marketers that it would take action against search engine spam (scraper sites, sites with little original content and so on). In February, Google delivered a new ranking algorithm which eventually came to be known as the Panda update. There have been 18 updates so far and these have successfully sent search engine marketers scrambling to change their link building and the content of their websites. This resulted in sites with high quality content to rise on top.
PANDA UPDATE 3.8 VERSION:
Google felt that they needed to push another update just two weeks later. This truly sent shock waves through the online community. Google informed everyone that this update has affected ~1% queries worldwide. This was referred to as a minor Panda update. There were no updates to the algorithm or any change in the signals.
This new update created agitation by some as it resulted in many online businesses to lose rank due to a single update. Though Google referred toit as a minor refresh, the rankings of many sites were affected.
THERE WERE CONQUERORS TOO…
Despite the number of updates and flushing out of low quality sites, there were many sites which emerged victorious. Here are the top 5 sites in the UK that gained the most from the Panda algorithm update.
- ebay.co.uk (+42.06%)
- techcrunch.com (+40.72%)
- national.lottery.co.uk (+39.50%)
- econsultancy.com (+37.09%)
- thisismoney.co.uk (+30.13%)
WE SHALL OVERCOME:
There are many strategies businesses can implement in order to mitigate any negative effects on page rank these changes might create. Note that Google has now introduced a Webmaster Academy; which is essentially a set of guidelines to help you improve or maintain your position for your keywords of interest.
Google’s Amit Singhal advised marketers who took a hit from Panda that “improving the content of individual shallow pages into more useful pages, or moving low quality pages to a different domain could eventually help the rankings of your higher-quality content”
There have been many strategies suggested by industry experts over time. Here is a quick overview of points of interest.
- Too much advertising is a big no no. It has been noticed that sites that advertise too much are the ones flagged first by the Panda.
- Backlink articles. Yes, articles that are backlinked with references are considered to be of a higher quality than those that aren’t.
- Look out for old, not so good content. Google can bring your score down even because of an individual page. The more updated the content is, the more on the safer side you are.
- No one likes a broken RSS feed. It has been noted that Google perceives anything broken as that which is of low quality. Wouldn’t want that!
- Small business owners should make their posts on authoritative destination sites as this would impress readers as serious and reliable content.
- Avoid duplicating content. Writing to quality editorial standards can drive traffic and improve brand quality significantly.
- And finally, follow Webmaster Central blog which gives one current updates and posts innovative strategies to stay in the field.
It is important not to fret over algorithms, signals and updates. Instead focus on improving the user experience and quality of content. There have been 7 Panda updates this year. The best of the sites have survived. It is important that search engine marketers ensure that they follow strategies that work to improve their rankings over time. Brafton recently reported that 87% of marketers said they will invest in website content in 2012. Let’s focus on the end result… better quality content across the internet.