Last week I posted about Google Penguin, this week I’m going to give a quick crash course on Google Panda.
Google Panda is a code name for a Google algorithm which was first released in February 2011.
If you read my Google Penguin post, you’ll know that Penguin was targeting those sites that violated Googles webmaster terms and conditions to try and cheat their way to the top of the search rankings.
Google Panda targets low quality websites. This is so high quality websites will get more hits, where as low quality ones, or ones with lots of advertising will have a drop in rankings.
What does this mean for bloggers?
This means that for your blog or website to get to the top of those search results, you need to ensure you have high quality content across your site.
Even if you’re blogging for fun, I’m sure you would love to to get a few more viewers – if you are hit by Google Penguin, it can be hard to recover from and any organic traffic from search engines can be drastically reduced.
It’s even more important if you sell adverts or write sponsored posts on your blog, as the amount of views you get per month will probably have a big say in how much money you earn!
But what counts as a high quality website?
Great question! Google released a set of 23 questions to ask yourself so you can step into the mind of Google.
These questions serve as a check list to ensure you’re website or blog is of good quality:
- Would you trust the information presented in this article?
- Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
- Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
- Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
- Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
- Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
- Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
- Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
- How much quality control is done on content?
- Does the article describe both sides of a story?
- Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
- Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
- Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
- For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
- Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
- Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
- Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
- Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
- Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
- Would users complain when they see pages from this site?
How to protect yourself from Google Panda.
You don’t want to get slapped by the panda, otherwise you can lose valuable traffic. Let’s have a look at some quick and easy tips you can use to prevent this happening to you.
1. Watch out for your advertising ratio.
Selling adverts can be a good way of making income on your blog, but if you have a lot of adverts above the fold, so much so that a user has to scroll down before they get to any content, chances are you’ll have a sad panda on your hands.
2. Don’t Buy backlinks.
Both the penguin and the panda dislike this – ensure you’re earning your links organically and never pay someone to help increase your back links! Chances are, they’ll use a way that will have a negative impact on your search ranking.
3. Avoid thin pages.
Thin pages, or thin content are pages that give little or no value. They might be really short blog posts, they might be a post full of pictures, they might be a simple e-mail me page. It can also be duplicate content, automatically generated content or content that contains a lot of affiliate links.
To identify thin pages, you can:
- look at Google analytics to see which pages have a high bounce rate
- check your states to see which pages have lower than normal views for your sites
- look for pages that have less than 250 words
If you have any content like this, then either beef it up a little or get rid of it if it doesn’t add any value.
4. Don’t over-optimise keywords!
Another similarity between the penguin and the panda: neither like it when you try to keyword stuff your posts. If your keyword accounts for more than 2% of your text – then you have a problem. A panda problem! (I almost hate myself for typing that).
5. Proof read!
Remember to check your errors in your texts. Not only is this important because you look like an idiot when you have a spelling error (or feel like one – I’ve felt that surge of embarrassment when I’ve published a post with mistakes plenty of times), but it’s also an indication of low quality content.