The Evolution of Google’s Panda Update
Over-time as newer Panda updates have been released, the face of the search results have changed
The Panda algorithmic update was designed to help determine the ranking of a website based on its onsite factors. Once the update was first released in 2011, websites saw major hits to their rankings if their content was of a poor quality.
The update was originally referred to as the Farmers Update, because of the fact that it targeted content farms, and websites with a high number of pages containing low quality content.
Onsite Factors Considered by Panda
Panda takes into account onsite multiple factors when impacting a website’s ranking. The following are the important ranking factors that have been included within Panda over-time:
Thin Content: Pages that have very little content (e.g. 100-200 words) can be penalised for lacking substantial content.
Ads Above the Fold: Having three to four adverts above the fold, rather than useful content, can have a negative impact on a sites rankability.
Keyword Over-Optimisation: Having a keyword spammed multiple times on a page needlessly may be picked up and count against a site’s rankings.
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Keyword Use: These are words that are semantically related to the pages subject area, and help Google define the sector that the page belongs in.
Duplicate Content: Having content repeated within your site, or using content that is indexed on another website.
Broken Links and 404 Pages: Having links that do not lead anywhere will negatively impact your sites rankings.
Poor Quality Content Having pages with content that contains many spelling mistakes and grammatical errors will likely affect a site’s rankability.
Understanding how Panda has developed can help protect your site against future updates
The trend has been moving toward providing more valuable content to users. At present, Panda updates are not completely effective when it comes to gauging the true value of content, especially as this is very subjective.
However the Panda updates are moving in the direction of ranking websites higher that provide high quality content, and penalising websites that provide poorly written, or unoriginal content. For this reason, you can benefit from doing the following:
• Publishing content that provides something original
• Minimising the loading times of your webpages
• Sharing other valuable content (i.e. linking out to high quality pages on other websites)
• Avoiding over-optimisation of keywords
Ultimately the best way to avoid being penalised by the Panda updates is to create a high quality website, which provides original content, and a fantastic user experience. It’s still possible to rank a website while providing little or no value to visitors, however you will always be looking over your shoulder, anticipating the moment that Panda catches up to you and takes a bit out of your search engine rankings.