Google Panda and How it Affects Your Sites

Google Panda

Google Panda and How It Affects Your Sites

Update: Google Panda has gone through various updates all affecting how Google evaluates your site. There is a coin phrase being thrown around called the Panda Rank. Basically you never really know what your Panda rank is but there are things you can do to improve your standing with Panda.

  • Avoid copied content at all costs. Copyscape.com is a great way to check to see if someone has copied your content or a article that was written for you has also been sold to someone else.

Update: Google Panda 2.3 was released the beginning of July 2011. I am calling it the Rabid Panda. It is downing what I consider to be perfectly good sites. 2.3 affects the way Google’s indexing system ranks content on websites. I believe Google will be coming up with another update fairly soon to make adjustments. I have seen sites with very little content and few backlinks shoot to position one and sites with high page ranks and quality backlinks knocked down a few pegs. Read more about backlinks here. As Google struggles to define what it considers to be quality content and sets it’s algorithms, we here at BOS will continue to keep you updated.

Update: Google Panda 2.2 has been initiated. It affects Adsense sites that have scraped and copied content. These sites are being Panda Whacked and in some cases de-indexed.

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What happened to my site? You may be asking yourself this. In February 2011 Google changed it’s algorithms again. It is more than just Google changing the dance; Google is changing partners for the dance. Thousands of sites have been affected including many article directories. Sites that were on top have been either greatly demoted or de-indexed. Many affiliates are feeling the sting, traffic is way down and they are wondering what is going on.

I attended a webinar on Google Panda put on by Offer Vault and got the ‘skinny’ on what is happening. 12% of indexed URL’s have been affected by Google Panda. Organic updates have been affected and keyword traffic is way down from article marketing. Entire internet marketing businesses have been crushed or wiped out. Entire Adsense businesses have disappeared.

Google, wanting to align itself with its corporate mission of delivering the highest quality search results to its customers, targeted what it considered to be content farms. Article Directories like E-Zine and E-How have been hit hard because a lot of the content was not original or was junk. Google is looking for original content and content that is relevant and of use to its customers.

If you have a certain percentage of duplicate content on your site, your site will be demoted. Google is not saying what that percentage is. Techniques to draw traffic, like 100 articles in 100 days, no longer work like they used to. If you were article marketing to get traffic you have probably seen a great reduction.

Google is also checking for duplicate meta descriptions, keywords, and title tags. Title tags are the biggest issue. Check your site for duplicate title tags and get rid of them. Google Webmaster Tools can be used to find those duplicates under its link HTML Suggestions. If you use WordPress you will definitely have duplicates if you are using All-in-One SEO or other automated SEO plugins. Delete the duplicates.

If you have pages that have duplicate information and you really want to keep them, no-index them so your site won’t be affected.
If you outsource a lot and your sites have been affected, it may be because of ESL (English as a Second Language). ESL does not read the same as native English. Rewrite the articles from your outsourcers or no-index them. The idea here is to leave as few footprints as possible for Google to find. Google wants you doing your own work.

Another footprint that is left when you outsource is the number of words in your articles. If all of your articles are 350 words, that is a heads up for Google. Vary the number of words in each of your articles, i.e. 300, 400, 700, and split your posts and pages using bullets, videos, images, and tables.

Bruce Clay, a guru in the business for a very long time, discovered a footprint in page linking. This issue that has come about with Google Panda is if your site has too many outbound links. If you have a site that is popping in and out or has disappeared and has a lot of outbound links, reduce the number of them, especially the Related Article links. They are frowned upon by Google. It was recommended that you should have only 2-3 outbound links in your content and 3-4 related links at the bottom of your site to be safe. You could also set up a separate page for your related article links and no-index no-follow them.

It is recommended also that you weed out or change your lowest performing pages. Google is looking at bounce rate even more now. To engage your readers add videos and images. Visitors will stay on your site longer to listen to the video. Images that tell a story will catch a visitor’s eye and they will linger. Maintain a good bounce rate. It was recommended sub-70%-80% necessary on your home page. You can have 80%-90% if you have a high stick rate on your site like 10 minutes or more. That is the only time you can have a high bounce rate an keep Google happy.

Here are some recommendations to help with stick rates:

• Create engaging copy that has value to the reader
• Bold your headlines and just don’t make them the keyword; make them relevant and interesting to read
• Include illustrations or charts with technical details or details that a reader will spend time looking at
• Add images that tell a story that the visitor will finding engaging and think about
• Add bullet points. Readers will scan a page and land on the bullet points and read them in detail to find out if this is a site they want to stay on

Gone are the days of being able to create easy content farm sites and make money. Gone are the days of easy affiliate profits. Google Panda is forcing affiliates to become publishers and add value to their sites for their visitors. You must add value and become like Wiki. You will always see Wiki sites always at the top of Google. That is because of the value they provide. Be niche specific. If you have a How-To guide make sure it isn’t like everyone else’s with the standard do-this/do-that and your are finished type information. Give a history, add a story, anything that will add value and keep Google happy.

Adding Social Network to your sites is important. Integrate with the social networks and get more sales. Add FaceBook and Twitter to your sites. That is the wave of the very near future. Google Panda is already looking at that. More importance will be placed on social networking and affiliate sites as time goes on so get ahead of the pack.

If your site has been affected by Google Panda you will need to follow the guidelines here and fix your site so Google will like it. But that is not going to be enough. It is like starting all over only tougher. Google is mad at you. Backlinks On Steroids have been able to get these Panda Whacked sites back on track. If your site has been punished, Backlinks On Steroids can definitely help get your site back. If your site has been de-indexed it will take a lot more work. It was suggested in the Offer Vault webinar you just let these sites go and move on. I disagree. I believe that with proper SEO, proper original content, and backlinks from Backlinks On Steroids can help bring your sites back to earning money. I give free evaluations. Contact me. [email protected]

So what can you do when your site has been Panda Whacked? The first thing to do is get rid of all duplicate/copied content and replace it with original and relevant content. Then add some link balancing packages and have us ping and RSS feed the backlinks. Depending on how hard your site was whacked will determine the number of backlinks you will need or if you will need the Booster Package. Below is a video from Google Webmaster Tools.
Authored by: Joan Wardzala – SEO Specialist – Specializing in both horizontal and vertical SEO Google+

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