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How to make the most of Google’s “Panda” update

What do you know about Google’s “Panda” Update?

The term may sound like an adorable black and white bear; however, it is definitely NOT cuddly. This applies mostly if you have been practising the wrong search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques.

So, what exactly is it all about?

Overview

It is a major algorithm update, which Google introduced in the U.S. in February 2011 and then, globally in April 2011. The latest Panda modifications rolled out in March 2012, while another set of guidelines – the “Penguin Update” – came out on April 24 2012.

All these changes intend to provide the users with relevant and quality search results by looking out for these wrong practices.

  • Less or no original content
  • Low-quality links
  • High bounce rate (number of single-page visits, wherein the individuals left the landing page right away because of irrelevant content)
  • Too much adverts
  • Slow page loading time
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Several server errors

Looking into these optimisation mistakes, you can say that the main purpose of the “Panda” update is to give low ranking to websites with useless information.

With that said, how do you know if it has hit your site?

Well, the most obvious means of determining the impact is by checking your ranking. If you used to land in Google’s first page but your site is nowhere to be found these days, it means that you need to improve your webpages. And, how can you do this?

Spring back after the Google Panda Update.

1. Produce unique content
This aspect should always come first because many users visit your website for its information and not for its flash graphics or images. While you are applying this strategy, go beyond originality. You must also write engaging and high-quality articles for your target audience to make them stay longer and visit your site repeatedly.

Moreover, add statistical data and figures through tables, charts, and infographics. This way, you can increase your webpage’s relevancy using interesting approaches.

2. Prevent duplication
No matter Google’s warnings on copied content, some domains will go against these. Now, you can prevent other people from replicating your articles through canonicalization.

3. Concentrate on the right SEO techniques
In general, proper optimisation is all about relevance and authority. The former refers to how well the information on your website matches queries, while the latter indicates your pages’ ranking strength.

Additionally, it has two vital parts.

1. On-page – It typically involves optimising your site’s internal components through methods such as the following:

  • Boost page loading speed
  • Create title, meta, and header tags
  • Search, analyse, and use high-ranking keywords
  • Make a sitemap and link to your website’s other content

2. Off-page – It usually encompasses external factors using the following tactics:

  • Get backlinks from authority sites
  • Generate anchor texts

4. Use natural links
These consist of the latest types such as the following:

  • Naked – the exact URL of a webpage as it appears in search engines, for example: http://www.domainname.co.uk/webpagetitle.html
  • Junk – refers to general text links (e.g. click here, read more, visit this website, etc.), which Google considers important
  • Brand – incorporate your trade name to the link, an applicable approach if you have an e-commerce site
  • Latent semantic link – consist of phrases synonymous to your targeted search terms

5. Get help from social media
Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and Reddit – these are some of the top social platforms today. You can take advantage of these by creating a profile page on any of these sites and then, acquiring votes through shares, likes, follows, and reviews.

Additionally, integrate your blog site or website with social media buttons (like the ones on the next image) and RSS feeds to generate backlinks.

Given that Google includes social pages in its SERPs, you can benefit greatly through networking.

Conclusion

So, there you have the top ways of getting your website back on its feet after the Panda Update hit.

As a note, you will not obtain high ranking immediately after practising these strategies. You have to remember that it will take some time for your page rank to increase. With that said, you have to be patient while rectifying your previous practices.

Written by Emma Tomlinson, Head of Retail at Smart Traffic, an SEO services company listed at the Top 10 of the Microsoft Tech Track 100 for 2011.


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