Let’s face it: pandas are pretty cute. Look at their little faces. And those little ears. However, since I’ve been working in SEO, pandas and penguins have become my least favourite cute animal. Sad, really. But here’s why – recovering from a Panda-based Google penalty is HARD WORK.
If you’ve been hit by panda, I’m not saying you’ve got a low quality website. I’m saying it’s your content that needs a long hard look at. Panda picks out low quality content, and it tells you off for it by giving you a Google penalty.
Panda was first released in February of 2011 and since then, it’s been the bane of most spammy webmaster’s lives. So far it’s been updated more than 25 times – if you want to keep up with our fuzzy black-eyed friends, you’ll need to keep your content good.
So how can we get our traffic back, and get our rankings back up again in the aftermath of Panda?
It’s all about content
If you’ve got duplicate content, get rid of it right now. I’m serious. Go onto your website and get rid of any duplicate content.
Duplicate content issues can arise if you’ve simply gone ahead and copy pasted content from someone else’s site. When search engines bring up content, they need to choose the most relevant and best version. If yours isn’t the original one, you’re going to get in trouble unless you’ve credited it with a follow link to the original content.
You can also get duplicate content issues if you’ve been using the same meta data for multiple pages, the same title tags, similar product pages and similar category pages. Do a site crawl with Screaming Frog and see if there’s any duplicate content, and sort it out.
How good is good?
What exactly makes poor quality content poor? It’s all very well writing like you’re perpetually drunk on your blog or something, but for an ecommerce or big client website, you can’t be mucking around with poor spelling, bad grammar and content which is literally just there to pack in as many keywords as possible.
According to Panda, only those sites which have good content are worth ranking at the top of the SERPs. And if your content is rubbish, you naturally won’t be able to retain visitors. So sort that out too.
Thin content is also an issue. The amount of content required on a page is up for discussion, but on the whole Panda really doesn’t like pages with minimal content. If there’s pages with only a hundred words or so, you need to bulk it up.
We all want to create unique, high-quality content. Panda really likes unique high-quality content. An excellent place to host this kind of content is on a site blog.
And make sure your site isn’t peppered with ads, too.
Once you’ve sorted all this out, you can send that Panda packing.