Search Engine Optimization in a Post-Panda World

Google’s latest algorithm update, dubbed Panda, has many websites reevaluating their search marketing strategies. Websites that were formerly on top of the search engine results for their target keywords have found that their rankings have fallen post-Panda. What caused websites that were formerly ranking well in Google SERPs to plummet and how can businesses recover?

Most of the websites that were negatively impacted by Google’s Panda update may have been judged to be inferior in quality either due to their content or their backlink profile. Sites that were overflowing with advertisements were also hit hard by the update. Content mills and sites that were designed specifically for Google AdSense in particular have fared poorly since Panda was implemented. Websites that formerly relied on blogs to help boost their ranking in Google SERPs may have also been negatively impacted. It is still possible for these websites to recover their ranking.

Content based websites may need to focus on improving the quality of their existing content and continuing to build new content. Any articles or blog posts contained on a website should use good spelling and grammar. Content should also be unique. One of the primary targets of Panda were websites that contained duplicate or scraped content. Duplicate content should either be rewritten for uniqueness, eliminated from the website entirely or replaced with completely new content.

Some Google experts also believe that factual content ranks better than opinion thanks to the changes implemented with Panda. Businesses may want to consider including more statistics in their content and providing links to good quality, authoritative references. Virtually every industry has at least one or two good quality industry specific websites that can be used as references.

Once any content issues have been resolved, businesses affected by Panda need to carefully scrutinize their existing link profile. Websites are better off requesting that webmasters remove poor quality links entirely since they may now negatively impact ranking in the Google SERPs. Prior to Panda, these links had a neutral affect on ranking. In the future, websites should be careful where they leave backlinks. Avoid contracting with shady marketing companies that promise to boost search engine rankings by delivering thousands of poor quality backlinks.

Finally, websites should evaluate their ad placement and density. Websites that are ranking poorly post-Panda may be negatively impacted by having too many ads as compared to actual content. Businesses and bloggers should probably follow the Google AdSense TOS in evaluating their ad density and placement for all ads used regardless of whether Google serves those ads. Generally speaking, three text or banner ads and three search link units should be the limit for any given web page.

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