Google Panda: Optimising Your Website
Google Panda: The name given to a series of recent and relatively significant changes and improvements made to Google’s search algorithm. The Panda algorithm updates are targeted mainly at penalising poor quality or “thin” content and forms just one of over 200 methods that Google uses to determine the search engine rank of a page on a blog or website.
The first Google Panda algorithm update was launched in February 2011, followed by a new update around once every month, with the latest installment arriving in April 2012. While this may seem like a lot it’s worth putting the updates into the context of almost constant minor tweaks and updates that Google are making to their search engine systems every day.
The main aim of Google Panda, according to Google, is to combat the rise of so-called “content farms” and poor quality content turning up in any given search in a bid to improve the relevancy of results for search engine users. In their latest incarnation the updates now stretch beyond English language content and include content in languages from across the world.
Search engine optimisation through content based on keywords has been a core strategy for website optimisation and monetisation for a number of years now. While basing content on popular search words can be a method of delivering highly relevant material to users it has also often been abused, resulting in keyword stuffing or content that provides little quality substance in addition to those keywords.
So Google Panda is only hitting sites that are of poor quality?
In theory yes, in practice, not always. For example the Google Panda algorithm changes are not only designed to penalise poor quality content on your online business site, you are also likely to be penalised for poor quality backlinks too or using blacklisted blog networks or article distribution networks to distribute material.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that it’s not only the main pages of your site that will be take into account. If a certain amount of pages on your site rank as poor your whole site is likely to be penalised even though a few good quality pages may still continue to rank.
What can I do to save my site from the paws of Google Panda?
While it is impossible to predict how the subtleties of the Google Panda algorithm updates will affect your site rankings, there is one simple way to help ensure you get on the right side of the Google Panda filter: Produce solid content.
It may sound ridiculous but rather than optimising to please a search engine, stop for a moment and think about how useful you would find your own site if it turned up in a search. Forget the Panda, and ask yourself “what would a human think?”.
From a user point of view we all want the search engine that we use to turn up results that are appropriate to our search queries, and the better quality the search results the more likely we are to find the information that we need and use that search engine again. No-one can really blame Google for seeking to optimise the service that they provide, however there is no denying that Google Panda has made life tough for some webmasters.
In the fast moving world of technology the key to success is the ability to adapt. If you find yourself dropping in rank as a result of the Google Panda algorithm updates, take it as an opportunity to improve the content and quality of your site, your audience is only likely to thank you for it.
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