Google and the other search engines are constantly updating their algorithms in order to filter out low quality content and provide users with the most meaningful results. There have been many updates over the years and we’ll be focusing mainly on the Google Panda updates for this post.
The Google Panda update not only fundamentally changes the way that a websites content is viewed by Google but it looks at the website’s interlinking structure as well. Unlike the Google Penguin update, which filters out spam websites, the Panda update looks at the quality of content on a website and ‘demotes’ those that aren’t up to scratch. We’ll have a look at exactly what that means below.
What has changed?
The first change was that websites that feature aggregated content are now considered to be of lower quality and will not appear in the search engines. This means that if you grab content from other blogs, article directories or websites this content will most likely not be listed in Google.
There are a few exceptions to this rule where aggregated content can still be allowed. This is the exception rather than the rule and only involves certain website partners who have exclusive rights to publish that content and also the rights to edit some of the content as well. This doesn’t apply to most blog owners.
The solution here is to make sure you’re posting good quality, unique content to your websites and avoid pulling in content from other sources.
Too Little Content
When Google Panda was first released many blog owners with smaller websites where hit hard, myself included.The reasoning behind this change was the Google noticed that many affiliate websites had a single front page with good content but very little content on the remaining pages. The websites were designed to pass people along through an affiliate link and provide no real solution to website viewers.
Google took note of this and altered their algorithm based on website content and internal linking structure.
What does the internal linking structure have to do with it?
Google also noticed that “thin” websites have all their links pointing to the main page with very little or no interlinking between other pages on the domain. This is because none of the other pages provide any real value. A genuine websites would provide a lot of content on many different pages and would naturally link between these other pages.
The solution in this case is to increase the length of your content, make sure it’s being shared on social media sites and create a deep linking structure so that your web pages point to each other where appropriate.
Poor Quality Content
It’s well known that the average word count for a page listed in the top 10 search results of Google is over 2,000 words. Providing lots of content makes it more likely that you have what your viewers are looking for. It also makes it look like you have an in-depth solution to their problem.
For this reason Google tend to reward websites that have lots of good quality content about a various topic. Google can also gauge the quality of a website by other factors such as bounce rate, click-through rates and the number and quality of external links. You’ll need to be thinking about all of these factors when building a website.
When you’re creating your content think about how you can provide an entire solution. This may involve looking for frequently asked questions in your niche or finding out what other aspects of the problem people are interested in.
Think about keeping active in your social media accounts so you can drum up support for your articles or content when you need to. Adding other content to your blog posts also helps to keep interest for longer. This can include adding images or videos or just formatting your blog post correctly so it’s easier to read.
Demotion or Promotion?
What’s important to remember is that the Google Panda update will demote sites, meaning that they will be ranked lower in the search results, but they won’t reward good websites by promoting them. The Panda update will only demote sites that falls under the category of having poor quality content.
This is a little different from the Penguin update which didn’t demote sites but ignored spam completely. According to Google this is a devaluing of those links, rather than demoting the websits, or ranking them lower.
The way the Google Panda algorithm works is that it will look at all of your pages across the domain and figure out how many of those pages are considered ‘low quality’. If too many of them fit under this category than your website will be demoted.
It’s as simple as that, and it just means that you need to make sure the majority of your blog posts and pages are good quality and have tons of content.