It’s no secret that in 2013 Google is going to continue making both Panda and Penguin updates to further clean up search results and reduce spam. Google has already made 24 Panda updates altogether, and at SMX, Matt Cutts admitted that there were more to come (with one update very ‘soon’).
If you thought you got away scot free from the first (and subsequent) Panda updates, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will continue your good luck. Google’s aim is to continuously improve search results, so you won’t be able to hide your site forever. Remember, the Panda updates all began with human users, so the best way forward with SEO, the most sustainable strategy, is still to have a high quality site that appeals to human users. If you want to make double, or even triple, sure that you won’t be negatively affected by future Panda updates, we have put together a reminder list of everything we learnt from Panda, and what you need to do to keep your site safe. (We will be doing a Penguin version of this post very soon).
Panda updates focus on the quality of the content on your site. In particular, it is thought to penalise ‘thin’ content. What is thin content, and does your website have it? Let’s see:
- Do you have pages where advertisements outweigh normal content?
- Do you have a heavy template, with only a small ‘unique’ content area on each page?
- Is your content riddled with links?
- If you cut and paste your content into a Word Document, do you get multiple grammar or spelling problems?
- Did you pay a pittance for outsourced content writing?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, there’s a chance you have thin content on your site, and you really should fix it. Unfortunately there are no cheap/quick solutions and if you are serious about improving your site you probably know, deep down in your gut, what you need to do. We’ll spell it out, just in case you need a Panda refresh:
Be Panda Ready!
- Reduce the density of advertising and ‘SEO’ links on your pages.
- Take the time, or spend the money, to edit your existing content.
- Fatten up your thin pages by adding relevant content – be it text, image or video
- Look into your analytics and find pages with a high bounce rate and/or low time-on-page. Is that content thin? Better give it a refresh.
- Look for duplicate content across your site, remove it (you might even want to redirect pages)
- Undertake regular SEO audits to ensure you don’t have broken sections, broken links or ‘empty’ pages (This can happen in big, complicated CMS’s, like those used in online retail).