Live from Pro SEO: Taming the Panda to Help

By Evan Levy | May 16, 2011
More Articles by Evan


How to tame the Panda: ways you can fend off panda-related drops.

First, some background on what’s changed recently:
May day update- this is an algorithm change in Google looking for higher quality site to surface for long tail queries.

Caffeine- caffeine revamped the entire indexing system to make it even easier for engineers to add signals.  Basically increased the number of ranking signals.

As they crawled the web faster and faster, they found a lot of spam.

Panda was mainly about site quality.  It tried to create an algorithm that matched human ingenuity.  Google is still trying to find a way for users to tell them what sites they like.  This has moved beyond the algorithm, it’s about a changing mindset.  Manipulating the signals is now becoming harder than earning them.

Relevancy, trust, and now quality content are the ranking signals.  Or better yet, valuable content.

So can you recover from a panda attack?  Short answer, no.  If you think your site is high-quality and has been impacted by this change, you may need to reconsider major aspects of your site.

It’s more about how one proves they have a quality site, not how well they can manipulate the signals.

A few things you can do to avoid being erroneously hit:

1. Remove low quality pages or content.  Having low value content can bring down the rankings for the entire site.  Try and find what counts as low value content.  Page views less than 5, avg time on site, load time, no referring traffic other than search engines, etc.

2. Page speed increases have massive positive benefits.  Lower exits rates, higher index rates, higher revenue generation.

3. Advertising vs. content.  30% of the browser display area has to be unique content.  This does not include logos or menus.  You must have as much unique content on your page as you do advertising.

4.  Sites that got hit looked like they were not useful to people.  Get your design refreshed and make it more user friendly.

Google wants to reward the valuable content.  Many of these things are things that you can’t do overnight, but over time, they can help.

Give everyone in your company the authority to be an expert.  People with authority can signal to Google that you’re site is worth ranking.  Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn are all trying to create a social graph.  “rel=me” tags will help the search engines find you as an author, and tie authority and trust to you as an author, independent of the site.  If you can, ensure your accounts use the same email address and username.

Use CRO to encourage people to interact with you and your site.  Optimize for conversions that allow people to engage with your site.  Creating conversion actions will help build authority.

Content doesn’t always mean text.  Video works great too.

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