The Google Panda Review
Google announced the algorithm review on February 24th 2011. It was originally named the farmer review but that got changed to the Panda Review by google insiders and the name has stuck. It has certainly caused quite a stir amongst many leading SEO experts and its is fair to say the panda was smokin! for a while
Periodically Google change the algorithm of the way it rates and ranks websites, these changes can happen several times over a year with small tweaks and changes that don’t have that much of an effect on search results. The panda review was a major change which effected around 12% of all searches which is a massive number.
The review was rolled out to the English speaking countries on April 11th and the results were disastrous for many big online brands as well as thousand of smaller affiliate marketers.
The basic theme of the review was to improve the quality of the search results so they better serve to provide accurate relevant information. Google will now take in to account the bounce rate of a website for instance, this is the rate they work out of the time spent on a website by a visitor coming directly from the search results. If you have optimised your web page for 1 keyword and all the content on the page is tightly built around this keyword chances are once the visitor clicks through they will stay on the site because the content is exactly what they are looking for ( think wikipedia ), now you can build visitor confidence which results in more pages being clicked through and the opportunity for sales, opt ins etc. is greatly increased.
Now consider the alternative with pages trying to rank for several keywords most of which may not be relevant to the actual content on the page results in the visitor clicking back to the results to find the actual information they are looking for. Sites worst effected were the content scrapped sites and autoblogs generating lots of duplicate content and not a great deal of value, these type of sites are set up to beat google and earn lots of ad revenue but provide no value to the visitor.
Other sites effected badly were article directories and the biggest of the lot, ezinearticles.com lost over 10% of their search volume almost overnight because Google flagged up the poor spun articles that were getting through the submission process simply due to the massive number of articles being submitted.
Steps to take to get on the good side of google
Google have made it very clear in this review exactly what they want websites to deliver if they are to rank high in the search results. Here is a list of the basic requirements you need to be aware of and providing you adhere to them you will see positive results from your ranking efforts.
- All content should be 100% original, this means quite simply your own work, no spinning, no duplicate or scrapped content just a well researched article or blog post.
- Make sure you link internally to another post which is relevant and always link out to an authority website at least once per post.
- Place your links high up in the article and always use keyword anchor text links and bold some keywords or phrases to highlight what the post is clearly about.
- Do not stuff your content with keywords, Matt Cutts from Google clearly states that stuffing keywords into the title and the body of the article for the sake of getting as many keywords to rank is a waste of time and probably harms your efforts because it is less likely to get picked up and syndicated.
- Do not place any ads, banners or text links above the fold and ensure the balance is in favour of the content, ads should compliment the page not over power it.
- Set up your on page SEO ensuring you have essential plug ins to combat page loading speeds and SEO requirements such as h1 and h2 tags etc.
Do not put too much emphasis on submitting to article directories, they have all had a bad time and have lots of work to do if they are to get any real authority back from google, think out side the box and look for other opportunities to syndicate your content, use social bookmarking and social media as much as possible and this is an area google are investing a lot time and money.
Back links are still as important as ever
Choose your back links carefully, blasting out thousands of worthless profile links or auto approve blog comments will not add any value to your site, look to add links that are always relent to your topic and look to get high PR wherever possible, remember a link from an authority EDU or GOV blog with a PR of 5-6 is worth thousands of PR0 – 1 so make your efforts count, work smarter not longer is the key.
Finally, big is beautiful, its official! Google love big websites providing the have 100% original content “on topic” and are optimise for the exact keywords for each page. Find a niche and instead of building small individual blogs targeting 1 product, build a broader site and feature as many products within the niche as possible and you will quickly become an authority website and benefit from the trappings that come along with it.