Google Panda 4.0 Changes to Search Rankings

google panda indexing update 2015

If you’re a Graphic Memory newsletter subscriber, you’re going to be hearing a lot about Google Panda 4.0 updates and the extreme importance of original website content. For those who are not familiar with Google Panda, it is simply put, the algorithm used for determine a page’s validity and position in search results. With the most recent update hitting this past May, a lot of webmasters are concerned with what this will mean for them.

What is Google Panda?

Despite the general world relating this term to the cuddly Asian bear, it is actually named for Google engineer Navneet Panda who developed the new adopted algorithm that seems to defy logic in its depth of site indexing.

The initial release of Google Panda in 2011 was designed to keep sites with thin, weak, or copied content from sneaking into high ranking positions. Each update expounds upon this, updating the definitions used to decide what is relevant to users and what is not with a heavy focus on eliminating as much spam as possible.

The Duplicate Web Content Problem

It seems to be the biggest piece of the content puzzle that Google Panda is attacking is copied or duplicate web content. Sites with mostly copied content are seeing up to 88% drop in Google rankings. Whether it’s a paragraph, a page, or an entire site’s worth of copy, don’t do it. Not only will a site lose validity in the eyes of the user, but Google will not take kindly to the duplication.

The war on duplicate content even includes the use of the same original content used in multiple places on one site. For instance, if a site has two separate pages that have the same information it can be seen as spam behavior.

Analyzing Quality Web Content

The other important factor in Google Panda’s algorithm is strong, quality content a website visitor will actually want to see. While it used to be that the more pages you had the better you would rank, that is no longer necessarily true. It is much better to consolidate content onto fewer pages that can hold their own, rather than many pages with only a paragraph or two on each.

It is recommended that every page of a website have at least 300 words and at least one supported (and properly acquired!) image. Hitting those minimum numbers isn’t enough, however. The content must be engaging, current, informative and unique. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when writing web copy is to ask yourself - “Would someone want to share this page with their friends?” If you can answer yes to that, you are on the right track!

So, what can do you do to combat these and future updates?

  • Use completely original content. If it wasn’t written by or for you, avoid it.
  • Ensure every page has enough content (300 word minimum)
  • Write engaging and quality content good enough to repost

If you’re concerned about how Google Panda or other aspects of the changing SEO landscape are affecting you or challenged with writing content, call Graphic Memory Internet Services today to see what we can do for you!