The world of Google is a mysterious place where many SEOs are in search of the Holy Grail, the algorithm that will hold the secrets to ranking on Google. Recently Matt Cutts attended SMX West and gave details on what looks like to be a very busy year in the SEO World with the updates planned. Unsurprisingly we are going to have to deal with updates from both Google Panda and Penguin.
The Google Panda update is closer than you think, and could have reared its head last weekend (15th Match 2013). Webmasters were hit badly by this first sight of Google Panda a while back and many are still recovering. Google recently announced that it’s not going to release information on updates anymore which leaves many SEOs in the dark about what changes they have made. All we can do is monitor and continue to speculate the direction in which Google is currently heading.
There are some things we do know about Google Panda though and below are a few things you can do to help avoid being punished by the latest update.
How to sweet talk a Panda (avoid Google Pandas Wrath)
1.Create Quality Content
If you are not down with the SEO kids (and adults), ‘Content is King’, we have heard this phrase so much over the last few years, and I’m sure we are going to continue hearing about it. Keyword density is not the main ranking factor these days. Make sure you analyse some of your key metrics such as page views, number of organic visits, number of inbound links, and social interactions. If your content is relevant and useful chances are you will not be punished.
2.Remove or Improve Thin Content
Thin content may be anything that is not relevant to a site, or is on a site purely for keyword density. Take a look at your analytics and see pages that have a relatively low visitor number compared to the rest of your site, these could be classed as thin content. In basic terms any content which does not serve a real purpose, either remove or improve.
3.Ads or DisAds
You may not have any adverts on your site…if this is the case then go straight to number 4. Google Panda is taking a dislike to advertisements on sites especially if there are many ads appearing above the fold. It’s going to hurt your search ranking if a visitor has to scroll before reaching the real page content. Try rearranging your ads to give the visitor the best experience on your site and reach the content without any effort. If possible remove adverts which are not serving a real purpose.
4.Shortcuts do not work
We are firm believers (that’s believer not Beliber, often confused) in organic rankings. Your boss may want results, you may want fast results. But time is the best thing for your site. This does not mean sit back and relax, it just means don’t cut corners when it comes to optimisation. Don’t buy backlinks, don’t buy visitor views, as Google Panda will come back and bite you by penalising your site for black-hat SEO techniques.
Regularly check your site, make sure pages are not empty, images are loading correctly and there are no broken links or internet page duplications. Small sites are obviously easier to check, but webmasters on large sites should still take this all into consideration and keep on top of their site. Make use of 301 redirects where possible to keep the site on track.
Bear Hugs All Round
Google Panda penalises the whole site, not just the page, so keeping everything in order and implementing the above points may reduce your chances of being hit hard by the algorithm update.
Small steps go a long way, although you may not see initial changes to your ranking position keep track with monthly reports and you should see an improvement.