How the Google Panda Update Affects Your Website

What is the Panda update, how Google now tags websites, and quick tips to adapt to the changes.

Unless you’re a search engine marketer you probably haven’t spent too much time worrying about how the Google algorithms changes affect your life. If you are an online business however, you should know what the characteristics of Panda (the latest Google organic ranking updates) are and how they will affect your website.

There are many theory sites that will go into detailed explanations of algorithms; this however is not my focus. I would like to give you a working explanation of Panda so you can implement changes on your website that will keep your website ranking well and ward off the Google red flags.

What is the ‘Panda’?

Panda Technology is essentially a document classifier. What does that mean?

Well, you know how people “tag” stuff on blogs and social sites? Panda, in the most simplest terms, is the technology Google invented to “tag” your website. It classifies your website as a web document, processes information about it, scans it for qualities and relates it to other documents on the web according to its type and differences: this goes “over here” and this “doesn’t.”

For instance, there are “high quality” sites such as Wikipedia or New York Times on Panda’s “good side” and there are “low quality sites” aka “scraper sites” that basically republish content not producing original or high quality content. Panda identifies those “scraper” sites or “content farms”. These sites also are just looking to make money off republished content by ranking highly for keywords but filling their site with affiliate links and advertising and little in the way of quality for the user.

The Panda Bear Is Smarter Than That

So how has the Panda Algorithm been updated to deal with scraper sites and content farms? According to the Official Google Blog:

“This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.

We can’t make a major improvement without affecting rankings for many sites. It has to be that some sites will go up and some will go down. Google depends on the high-quality content created by wonderful websites around the world, and we do have a responsibility to encourage a healthy web ecosystem. Therefore, it is important for high-quality sites to be rewarded, and that’s exactly what this change does.”

What Does This Mean For Your Website?

If your producing regular, original content that users can interact with, learn from, get value from, you’re doing the right thing as far as Google is concerned. Google is sort of acting as the janitor of the web here; that may be a good thing or not. It really remains to be seen how the algorithms affect everyone.

Right now its only affecting about 12% of US based websites but will be rolled out worldwide in the future. If you have lots of good content and that content is generating traffic and revenues, you will be fine. However, if you are making loads of cash from advertisements/affiliate links crammed into low quality content or scraped content, you may want to rethink your business model – and quick!

Quick Tips To Improve Your Website Based on Algorithm Changes

Put effort into generating high quality content by actually writing original content yourself OR if you are not comfortable doing that, hire a freelance writer or search marketing consultant to write content based around the topics of your blog or business. Then update regularly.

Get rid of any pages that may be viewed by Google as “link farms” pages on your sites that are filled with just links to other peoples content and add nothing original to the topic.

Add places on your site where people can interact with your content via comments, social sharing or if you’re really brave introduce a forum where you can answer questions on a topic and have users do the same. Be ready to do some serious editing there since you will invite a host of spammy contributors. But the organic ranking reward is worth the effort. And good luck!