Beat the Panda: How SEOs Can Combat Google’s Panda Update

by tomm on February 24, 2012 · 7 comments

google panda advice

Don't get bitten by the Panda (Photo: Phan Ly)

Did you see a significant drop in your website’s traffic around February last year? If so, chances are you were hit by Google’s Panda update, which acted as  a quality filter and was aimed at reducing the amount of spammy content appearing in the search results.

Since Google’s original release of Panda, there have been various iterations, each trying to further refine the sites which are affected, as many legitimate sites were originally hit without knowingly doing anything manipulative.

Because of this, it’s important all webmasters are aware of what types of issues on their site could create Panda problems and, if they do suffer, what they can do to recover:

What Makes Your Site Vulnerable to Panda?

  • A lack of original, unique content
  • A large amount of duplicate content (internal or external)
  • A high % of pages with low quality content, even if your top pages are highly rated
  • Lots of adverts
  • Unnatural use of a word or phrase on the page, i.e. keyword stuffing
  • Low quality links pointing at the site
  • The content on the page and/or title tag not matching search
  • Low amount of time spent on the page or site as a whole

What Should You Do If the Panda Bites You?

Locate the Problem

  • Find pages which have been worst hit
  • Identify what affected pages are doing which others are not
  • Test changes on those pages

Eradicate the Issues

  • Take the issues and pages you have highlighted and work through them to remove the problems
  • Remove low quality pages and consolidate the site so every page is doing a job and worthwhile
  • Write unique content for pages which have duplicate content
  • Edit over optimised pages so they are targeted at a user rather than a search engine
  • Try to add different forms of content; images, videos etc

Promote Your Site

  • Once you’ve corrected the on-site issues which may be annoying the big bad Panda, it’s time to move your focus to promoting your newly streamlined site
  • Promote content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google+
  • Reach out to blogs in your niche and ask if you can contribute content to their sites in order to generate higher quality links

Once you’ve been through this process, it’s unlikely that you’ll immediately recover the traffic lost originally, but don’t be discouraged! Once sites have corrected all Panda-related issues, they then have to wait until the next iteration of the update, at which point Google will judge whether you have overcome the issues. If you’ve done enough to ‘untrip’ the switch you flicked to get struck by Panda, then you should see you traffic start to climb back to where it was originally.

The Panda Update has caused a lot of webmasters a lot headaches, but if you think you’ve been hit it’s worth taking the time to run through the points highlighted above. As well as recovering traffic, it’s more than likely you’ll come out the other side with a better site for users which has the potential to convert better.

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Obaidul Haque February 24, 2012 at 8:13 am

Google’s Panda algorithm updates have now become quite frequent. I find that most of the webmasters are extremely worried about whether their website is the next target. Google has told us all how to build high quality websites. If you just follow the guidelines as set forth by Google, you won’t ever need to worry about the Panda smackdown.

In case your site gets hit by Google’s Panda, the points that the article makes can be followed step by step. If you were not hit, you should quickly become aware of the things that can make your site prone to Panda attacks.

Thanks for the share, Tom.

Robin February 25, 2012 at 11:42 am

Yes, I agree with the contents and I liked the image as well. Identifying and finding solutions for the low quality contents is what each one need to combat with panda.

Nick Stamoulis February 27, 2012 at 10:21 am

Google has become a lot more transparent and is giving website owners more information about their algorithm updates. Take the time to fully analyze your site and make changes. It may take some time for Google to re-index your changes, so you can’t expect traffic to magically re-appear. It’s a frustrating process, but it’s necessary to work towards improving a website’s position in Google.

Shine March 3, 2012 at 6:00 am

Thanks! Your Panda explanation and advice are really helpful.

Muhammad Jahid Hasan March 4, 2012 at 11:22 am

I really agree with u and i hope its very helpful. thanks for advice sharing.

Ricardus March 5, 2012 at 3:30 am

Been affected by the Panda numerous time. We always do constant updates on tweaking and SEO tweaking. That’s the only way though.

Jeff Alagar March 6, 2012 at 7:57 am

My 2 sites got attacked by Panda. 15% traffic drop overall. :(

Yes tracking the affected pages would go a long way, but if you want to make sure you won’t get attacked again, the key I think should be value and quality.

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