Google has announced the roll out of the Panda 4.1 Update.
How will this affect your site and your SEO?
First thing to understand is that Google has been updating the search algorithm since the beginning, in order to tweak the results for the highest relevance to the end user. Google’s main goal in the organic search is for the end user to see the highest quality content possible.
Think about this:
How would a computer system determine content’s value to users?
Here is how the Google Algorithm works:
- Google weighs the quality of the sites that link into your site (Note: Quality Over Quantity!)
- Google analyzes the CTR in Organic Search for your articles (Make your titles and descriptions catchy and relevant!)
- Google scans your site for onsite issues or errors (Use sites like Moz.com to scan your site for errors)
- Google measures how your site is navigated by users (if your users “bounce” at a high rate, your rankings will drop)
- Google assigns a Domain Rank and Page Rank for your site for targeted keywords
If at any point in Google’s analysis of your site you have any of these following issues, you will be dropped:
- Unnatural content and bad grammar
- Unnatural linking or links from bad websites
- Errors on your site or on your server
- Confusing topics on your site and not having a unified theme to your content
- Too much of “anything” – Always use moderation, there is no shortcut to success in SEO
And last but not least – Quality Content and Unique Content!
Quality content and unique content is what the Panda updates are trying to accomplish. So what does this mean for your site?
Here is how to analyze your site
Do you have duplicate content?
You might instantly say – NO WAY! Then move onto the next item. But hold up for a moment…
This is the number 1 issue that I see with new client websites! So pay attention if you are using WordPress or any CMS with “Tags.”
Do you write posts? Do you add six or more tags to your posts? STOP!
Click on each of those tags in your WordPress, and you will find that every “page” is an archive of the same content! Yes, Google sees your tag archive pages as duplicate content. Adding a dozen tags to your posts will hurt your rankings, and Google is continuing to push updates to remove duplicate content. These tags can hurt your site.
The proper way to handle tags
I will use my site for example: if I am writing about SEO, PPC, Facebook, Email Marketing and Blogging, then I can use all these items as categories on my blog. So when I write a new article, like this one about Google Panda Updates, I will classify this in the SEO category.
On this article, I could add the tag of Panda Update. HOWEVER, if there are no other articles about Panda Updates or if there are no other articles in the SEO category, then I would be creating duplicate content.
How do you manage this?
I write more content over time, and then go back later and to add the tags.
Keep in mind, that you should already be using Google Webmaster Tools, if you aren’t using it, go sign up now.
On Google Webmaster Tools, you need to submit your site maps. I use Yoast SEO as my WordPress plugin because it is the best! This plugin will give you site maps to submit to Webmaster Tools. On new websites, or sites with limited posts, I will typically NOT submit the “tags” feed.
This will limit the duplicate content, and possible 404 errors if you are changing tags (as I just mentioned above). If you are going to change tags, you will have an error from Google Webmaster Tools that you can mark as fixed, and then check back later to make sure it doesn’t come back again.
Next, Fix Your ‘Thin’ Content
For all you people outsourcing content writing, STOP! Analyze their work and possibly fire them because Google isn’t letting weak content get into rankings.
Before the Panda update, it was fairly easy to setup pages to rank high for keywords, but this is getting more difficult with every update. Today, your content has to be the best of the best! Google identifies this by Social Sharing (so have Social Sharing easy on your site!) and also with sites linking in.
As I am writing, understand that this website is brand new. I have just created it as I have moved my business to Miami Florida and I wanted to start over with a new site and new brand. I have ranked sites on page 1 for different keywords and niches for myself and my clients for years. If you are reading this well after October 3, 2014, then you will see higher ranking and more engagement. However, if you are reading this now, keep in mind this site is brand new and every site needs to start from the beginning!
So with that, write quality content, over 350 words, and use proper grammar. Link to articles on your site, and link to articles off your site. Include images that you have purchased from a stock photo site, and do your best to give the highest quality content to your readers.
Don’t cut corners when it comes to content, if you are an expert in your field, share your knowledge and expertise with the world. Even if you are the CEO of the company. Actually, if you are the CEO of your company, you better be sharing content!
As always, if you have questions or need any help with analyzing your site, or if you have been affected by the Google Panda 4.1 update, contact us and let us give you some advice on how to bounce back into rankings.
If you are on WordPress, let us know and we have free guides that can help you optimize your WordPress SEO!
We are dedicated to helping you achieve your business goals! Thank you for reading, and be sure to leave a comment below if you have questions.