An overview of Google Panda for website managers

Google PandaGoogle has been updating it’s search algorithm with an ongoing update called Panda, which was first released in February 2011 and is focused on delivering higher-quality websites to the top of the search results. Quality has always been a major factor of Google’s search engine, which has been a primary reason for the company’s success.

Panda changes the way Google assesses websites for quality. Prior to Panda, scraper websites powered by robots and other copyright infringers were often receiving better rankings than sites with original content, and this offended the search giant.

Panda for GooglePanda uses artificial intelligence to learn and assign meaning to complex patterns. The artificial intelligence allows Panda to scale massively in order to track down bad and poor quality websites. During the time of the Panda rollout, older search ranking factors like PageRank were downgraded in importance, whereas social signals gained in importance. Some SEO professionals have logically asked whether Pagerank is dead.  Since there has been no update in values to Pagerank for the past six months, it makes sense that SEO pros ask this. Pagerank is not dead, but new metrics are becoming vital to SEO. Natural human engagement around content became a metric for ranking.

Panda matters for search marketing

  • Websites are evaluated as a whole – Rather than scoring individual pages based on their merits alone, Google now looks at a website more holistically.  If you have a lot of bad pages: thin content, tons of advertising, copied content, etc, consider updating those pages. Overall website quality, including website load speed, bounce rate and social signals are part of Google’s evaluation.
  • Semantics and language – Google is using artificial intelligence to assess language and meaning of content. Also, Google is evaluating writing quality as part of the ranking schema.
  • Trustrank – The overall measurement of trust of a website, based on a variety of metrics. Don’t decrease your trustrank by buying spammy links or tons of fake social votes. Google is becoming keen in detecting these bad tactics and punishing websites that benefit from them.

Best-practices for avoiding Panda punishment

  • Avoid “thin content” pages in your website – Pages with very little content or pages with just a form field can be labeled as thin content. These website pages can be flagged as low quality pages by search engines. Update these pages or remove them to prevent a beating by Panda. Panda hates thin websites and wants to hurt them.
  • Use Webmaster Tools to monitor crawl stats and discover problems before they become too big. Google provides feedback on website quality, including load time, website link data and alerts.
  • Avoid duplication of content – Duplication of content is becoming more important. Ensure that your content is unique and valuable to users. Quality is key to SEO success.

What is a manual action?

When Google labels a website “pure spam,” what does that mean? In the video below, Matt Cutts explains the term “pure spam” and how they identify websites for manual actions, which completely de-rank websites. If your website has been labeled a violator of Google’s terms of service, then you can still revive a website. Google always websites to be reconsideredGoogle forgives.

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