With the introduction of Google’s Panda / farmer update to the UK on April 11th 2011, we have been getting questions:
“What does Google Panda / farmer mean for my website?” or importantly, “What does Google Panada mean for my business?”
In this post I intend to give you a quick overview of what the Google Panda / Farmer update is and how it could affect your online marketing and SEO.
What is the Google Panda Update?
The first thing you should know is that Google has an algorithm for returning search results. You can split it into 2 parts. The first part returns all of the pages that are relevant to your search term and the next part ranks them in order of relevance to your term. This is intended to return web pages so that the most relevant ones come first.
The Google Panda update is a change to the way the second stage works, i.e. the page rank algorithm. Google has implemented Panda to try and make the way that web pages are ranked more relevant.
Why have Google implemented Panda?
Google has been under criticism recently regarding the quality of its search results. The cause of this was spam content in many forms and guises, most notably:
- Duplicate content. For example, thousands of spam pages summarising and linking to an article to boost its ranking.
- Spam content. For example, a web-page that contain a meaningless combination of words that has been specifically tailored to rank highly on search results but that is unreadable to the average human. Often these pages have to sole goal of making money through advert clicks.
Google is always changing their algorithm to try and make search results more relevant. The reason that Panda has had such media attention is due to its level of impact. Google suggests that the change will impact “11.8% of our queries” (a query refers to a single Google search), which is quite significant considering that google suggested in 2008 that there were 1 Trillion unique web page URL’s. No doubt this has increased since then. I reference URL’s instead of pages because it is part of Googles algorithm to evaluate which URLs point to relevant new content vs. repeat content.
How does Google Panda work?
Google will never tell the general public the exact working of its algorithms. All they will tell us is the effect that the algorithm is trying to achieve.
In short the algorithm change aims to identify spammy duplicate content. The ultimate goal is to penalise content farms and spammed back links. Do you have an online SEO strategy that involves spamlike or automated processes to generate back links and content? Chances are that this is the type of thing that will be penalised. Google wants you to be creating content for humans to read, not search engines.
In some situations Google will also use information regarding the sites that users block to influence how it ranks pages.
How can I make sure my website works with change?
Don't create spam content to try and hit search results. Write high quality tailored content that will be relevant to what a user would want if they arrived on your page from a search engine.
If you are building back links then try to build them from quality sources that are relevant to the content of the pages that they are linking to.
Encourage in links by having genuinely useful content that people will naturally want to link to.
Remove spam content from your website. If you have lots of spam content on your website then there is a chance that Google could flag the whole site as a content farm. If you have multiple landing pages with tailored content then try and make sure that each page is relevant to the user that is likely to visit it. And if possible write something small and customised for every page so that Google can see that it has unique content.
I would recommend that you take the time to read Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. They are very open about the standard of websites and the sort of content that they are looking to rank highly.
Is this change a good one?
This change is definitely one that is for the general good of the internet. It is going to drastically change the spam building strategy that a lot of “SEO Specialists” employ and it will put a positive slant towards the SEO marketers who are gaining high rankings through quality copywriting.
I would suggest investing time into writing high quality content is the most important thing here. If you would like advice in this area then contact Scorchsoft and we can refer you to a high quality copy-writer who specialises in writing content to achieve search engine performance.