What is Google Panda and why do I care to know about it?

2019/02/20 Google Panda

I get asked this question enough to write about it since Google is the largest search engine in the world so it’s important to know what Google Panda is and why everyone who manages a website should pay attention.  All Google wants is for everyone to publish content that is the “best of it’s kind” so you can answer a users questions when they search for something.  When you answer the questions you rise in the search rankings.  If you don’t publish the best of its kind then you will drop in the search rankings.  Simple right?  Not really.

Let’s take a closer look and break down Panda.

As I’m sure everyone already knows, Google uses an algorithm to rank the relevance of the pages and content on your site against other sites so they can produce the best search results for their customers. In short, the more relevant your content is the happier Google is and therefore your site rises higher on the page for people searching for the information they seek.

In the past, web developers figured out the page ranking system of Google and began a systematic use of keyword stuffing, thin content, broken links and many other black hat SEO tactics trying to “game the system” in order to rise higher on the search page.  Google didn’t like that.

So, in 2011 Google introduced “Panda” a major shift in how website pages and content, link building and navigation to prevent spammers and scammers from benefiting from black hat SEO tactics. Panda has been under constant development for that past six years.

Panda covered the following problems for search so no one could game the system.

Keyword Stuffing

This is one of the biggest problems for amateurs who want to manage their own site and content. They stuff the back end full of keywords that are not relevant to their site or to the pages on it. Hundreds of keywords and duplicate keywords that have no basis for being their yet they are hoping to fool the search engine so they can rise higher on the pages. Instead, they will be punished by Google and pay a very hefty price.

  • Irrelevant Content – This is content that doesn’t match the keywords, titles and other elements of your page you are trying to optimize.
  • Duplicate Content – This is exactly what it sounds like. Duplicate content across multiple pages of your site.
  • Duplicate Content from other sites – This is when the site owner copies the same information from another site and it happens a great deal with e-commerce sites where product information is copied from the vendor. Google wants original content all the time.
  • Poor Spelling & Grammar – The Internet has become more complicated but definitely more intelligent. Grammatically correct sentences and spelling is now more important then ever and if you’re sloppy and careless Google will punish you.  But don’t blame Google for this.  You should be writing good sentences anyway.
  • No optimization at all – There is no excuse for leaving any page on your site unoptimized. Many Content Management Systems have optimation extensions that can be installed and set up to optimize all the pages.

Now that Panda has been around for awhile the impact from what it did across the Internet was powerful and many large sites were punished such as eBay and Wikipedia. Panda also targeted many affiliate marketing sites that target doorway pages using keyword stuffing techniques.

Panda is now completely part of Google’s search algorithm and practicing good SEO techniques should keep you out of trouble.

Here’s what you need to do to keep Google Panda happy in the future:

Good Quality Content

  • Make sure your content is good and relevant to your page and to the site itself.
  • If you have a story to tell, tell it the best way possible and fill up the page.
  • Make your content relevant.
  • Don’t copy the content from anyone else.
  • No duplicate content from page to page on your own site.

Is Your Site Trustworthy?

Google can pick up some of the obvious items in this list.

  • Do you have privacy policies and terms of condition pages?
  • Is there a contact page?
  • Are you using a reCaptcha on the page?
  • Is the URL secure using HTTPS?

User experience

Is your site easy to navigate and fast? If not Panda will pick up on these items and provide a lower grade for you.

  • Redirects to another domain.
  • Too many ads.
  • Too many affiliate links.
  • 404 errors.

Click Through Rates

If visitors land on your page and then leave Google can pick up on this and will believe that your information isn’t what visitors are looking for.

  • High Bounce rates.
  • Low click-through rates.
  • returning visitors versus new visitors.
  • How long each visitor spends on the site.

What should be noted about Google Panda is that Panda is only trying to promote good web practices. This is where improving everything about your site and your business should be a top priority and will, therefore, benefit you, Google and the user experience. So when adding content you should think about it in two ways. If the content does not provide value to the user you shouldn’t publish it and if anything you add to your site makes your content more difficult to read will hurt your search ranking.

Do you have questions about Google Penguin and Google Hummingbird?

Have you noticed the change in search results when asking simple questions in the Google Search box such as, “how to hard boil an egg?” Or, “How long does it take to boil spaghetti?”  Google will give you the answer right there instead of directing you to the best site for the answers even though the answer is from a website like the Food Network or Bon Appetite.  You don’t even have to go to those sites as Google keeps you on their site longer.

There is a lot to talk about with Google so stay tuned.