Google is known to bring about major changes in its algorithm from time to time. Google Panda Update was originally deemed to be targeting the content farms but as the changes roll out, it has become clearer that this upgrade has broader implications than that. With the worldwide implementation of this update, countless sites have been affected in various ways. Google’s main aim, since long, has been to eliminate spam results from its first page. Webmasters on the other hand have been using certain SEO tools to beat (or cheat) Google’s algorithm. Panda update has once again changed the entire game to some extent. Some of the major websites have already lost up to 50 % of their ranking after this Panda Update became fully operational.
So, exactly how has the Google Panda Update shifted the axis of SEO? The changes it has brought (or it might bring) about in SEO techniques are discussed below.
On-Page Factors NOT Off-Page Factors:
As opposed to the earlier updates, on-page factors have been the prime focus of Google Panda Update. It is still too early to tell if off-page factors have a role to play in the penalized websites. So far, the on-page factors that seem to be triggering the Panda slap are as follows.
Low Quality Content:
In the simplest of words, the entire update revolves around the on-page content quality. Sites using either plagiarized or borrowed content have been reprimanded severely and have lost quite some rankings and sites with good quality content were able to grab a better ranking after this upgrade became fully operational (there were exceptions alright, but still the majority of casualties were low quality content farms). Not just the quality, but content quantity also seems to be a factor, websites with lots of pages with thin content are also hit.
Google’s love for fresh content is no secret to anybody; previously, people would just stuff their websites with more and more content, without caring as to where and how the content came from. Plagiarizing or re-arranging content was far easier and convenient then generating new quality content. With this update in place, this practice will (hopefully) go out of the window.
Sites loaded with advertisements have also been targeted in this algorithm. Stuffing the sites with external ads triggers a spam alert, and leads Panda filters to believe that the content on the page is thin and thus low quality, same goes with lots of empty space on WebPages.
A popular SEO technique for generating some quick bucks off the websites was to stuff it like a thanksgiving turkey with as many advertisements as possible, without caring for the visitor’s experience at all. This practice has now become a big no-no as far as SEO is concerned, ad to content ratio might play a major role in deciding your Google ranking.
User data will also play a huge role from now on, in deciding the Google ranking of your website. Creating engaging pages, which make for a pleasant experience for the visitors, and forcing them to stay longer on your website (by providing quality content) will have a positive affect on your ranking. High bounce rate can prove to be even more damaging for your website. So if you are not giving quality content on your website, you are bound to go downhill in the SERP.
Interactive websites which are designed with the purpose to engage the visitors seem to be favored by this new algorithm. Allowing the visitors to post comment, rate and/or share content of the site can elicit a favorable response from search engines. On the other hand, sites which minimize or shun interaction with the users seem to be inviting the wrath of Panda.