Matt Cutts released a Panda Update recently. It stirred up a lot of SEO conversation and speculation. The video responds to a user-submitted Webmaster Tools question: how do I know if my site is hit by Panda since Google integrated it into its normal indexing process? In this post I’ll explain (in easy to understand terms) what this question actually means and determine if your website is at risk.
Hit by the Panda Update… Maybe, MayBe Not
Google’s rolls out these changes as part of their continuing effort to tackle webspam. Before March 2013, each Panda update was an event. Meaning, these algorithm changes weren’t part of Google’s tweaks to their algorithm. Matt Cutts announced at SMX that Panda updates would be more incremental, rolling Panda alterations via their normal indexing process.
Translation: The majority of spammy websites have been spanked by demoting their SEO rankings. Most offenders have been removed from Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) so human searchers have a better experience. Google will handle future Panda changes as minor alterations, catching sites still trying to game the search quality guidelines.
Signals You’ve Been Spanked
If your website contains scraped text, duplicate content and other signals it indicates you don’t really care about your human visitor. As a result, your rankings have most likely suffered from a Panda update. Need more guidance on how Google defines as a high-quality site? This Webmaster Central Blog post nicely outlines how to improve website quality. To confirm you’ve been affected by a Panda update, go to your Webmaster Tools and follow these procedures.
Translation: I think Matt Cutts summed it up nicely:
…if you think you might be affected by Panda, the overriding kind of goal is to try to make sure that you have high-quality content – the sort of content that people really enjoy, that’s compelling – the sort of thing that they’ll love to read that you might see in a magazine or in a book, and that people would refer back to or send friends to…
Here are a few questions to ask about your website’s content to assess its quality:
- Would you trust the information presented in the blog post, webpage or article?
- Does your website have overlapping, redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
- Are your topics based upon genuine interest of visitors/readers? Or it the site generating content solely to rank well in search engines?
At the heart each Panda update is the mission to give quality answers to human search questions. Are you adding value or drivel? If you’ve found value in this post, excellent. Please share a comment about what you’d like to hear about next.
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