The Google Panda 4.0 update is all about unique, high quality content and back links. In order to best tackle the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking of your website you need to formulate a content marketing plan. Some questions we need to ask ourselves.
- Why are we creating content?
- Who are we trying to reach?
- What benefit does our target audience receive?
- What benefit do we get from the content?
After reviewing our SERP rankings before and after Panda 4.0 we now need to look at how Panda will affect us in the future.
You need to ensure that your website contains a good mix of unique, helpful and authentic content. Product descriptions can no longer be simply copied and pasted from the manufacturer’s site or brochure. You need to re-write product descriptions and make them unique from other retailers above all they must contain relevant and helpful information.
Adding a variety of good quality images, text, video and animations on the site will improve your visitors experience and SEO ranking. Google is looking for valuable online resources which provide unique, informative and helpful information.
Using a wide variety of media content we can provide better quality pages. Animations and video clips from YouTube will engage visitors for longer . We can use this content to also keep visitors on the website longer. We need to ensure that the content we create is unique, helpful and engaging. The ‘stickier’ the web pages the longer visitors will stay and explore the website.
What is Google Panda?
Google Panda is a filter that prevents low quality sites and/or pages from ranking well in the search engine results page. The filter’s threshold is influence by Google Quality Raters. Quality Raters answer questions such as “would I trust this site with my credit card?” so that Google can distinguish the difference between high and low quality sites.
The Google Panda patent (patent 8,682,892), filed on September 28, 2012 and was granted on March 25, 2014. The patent states that Google Panda creates a ratio with a site’s inbound links and reference queries, search queries for the site’s brand. That ratio is then used to create a site-wide modification factor. The site-wide modification factor is then used to create a modification factor for a page based upon a search query. If the page fails to meet a certain threshold, the modification factor is applied and, therefore, the page would rank lower in the search engine results page.
Google Panda affects the ranking of an entire site or a specific section rather than just the individual pages on a site.
In March 2012, Google updated Panda and stated that they are deploying an “over-optimization penalty,” in order to level the playing field.
Google says it only takes a few pages of poor quality or duplicated content to hold down traffic on an otherwise solid site, and recommends such pages be removed, blocked from being indexed by the search engine, or rewritten. However, Matt Cutts, head of webspam at Google, warns that rewriting duplicate content so that it is original may not be enough to recover from Panda—the rewrites must be of sufficiently high quality, as such content brings “additional value” to the web. Content that is general, non-specific, and not substantially different from what is already out there should not be expected to rank well: “Those other sites are not bringing additional value. While they’re not duplicates they bring nothing new to the table.”.
What did the Panda 4.0 update do?
Initially it appears that press release websites seem to have been worst affected by the new Panda 4 update. Other prominent TLD websites have also seen a huge drop in SERP ranking. EBay has suffered badly from the Panda 4 update losing its ranking as one of the top 10 websites online.
Panda 4.0 losers
An SEO search on the main TLD sites has found a variety of high ranking sites affected by the update. EBay has seen ⅓ of its pages dropped from search engine results. The Yellow Advertiser website has also seen 20% of its pages dropped from search results. The table below gives an insight into the top list of losers from the Panda 4 update. It has been reported by eBay that they lost their ranking due to manual changes to their site which happened at the same time Panda 4 was released?
The Panda 4 winners
Although we have seen giants topple from their top SEO positions we have also seen others benefit.
What do you need to do?
The following points are an indication of what to do to appease the great Google Panda 4.0. The list is compiled from the Google Webmaster blog which lists a large number of things they look at when assessing quality.
- Are the articles on your site full of good detailed information, or very shallow?
- Do you have duplicate content? This could mean that content is duplicated on multiple pages or that you have content that is duplicated on other sites across the web.
- Do you have spelling errors?
- Do your articles provide original content that can’t be found elsewhere on the web?
- Would people want to bookmark and share your content?
- Are there a distracting number of ads on your pages?
A close eye needs to be kept on the great Google Panda, updates to Panda means new tweaks to our website content to keep ahead. Ecommerce managers and business owners alike need to understand the importance on relevant, fresh and unique content to the Panda!