Change is the only constant. We all know that Google constantly updates its search algorithm. While the latest Panda update didn’t seem to have affected many on the surface, it is an update to keep spammers and bad quality content at bay. So the penalty is sure to be heartbreaking.
Google rolled out Panda in 2011 for one sole purpose, encourage quality content. It has done so by ranking offenders and keyword stuffers lower in SERPs. Panda has weeded out many bad websites and with smaller updates coming out frequently, it may continue to do so. The aim is to encourage small businesses to come up with high quality content. So, if you are on the lookout for a new content upgrade strategy, this is the right place.
When Does Panda See Red?
There are a few elements that determine the quality of your content in the eyes of the panda.
- Bad user experience. Having known Google for years, if there is one thing it gives more importance that anything, it is user experience. It may be due to your site navigation, readability or page loading speeds. Panda hates when people get irritated due to poor navigation or site structure.
- Content is too thin. Panda update tends to penalize content that is too short and stretched out. Short content either lacks proper keywords or is filled with fillers to accommodate keywords.
- Duplicate content. Copied and repeated content has always been a red flagger for Google and Panda sees no exception in that. Penalty is certain for plagiarism.
- Keyword stuffing. With every update for Panda, Google is looking to do away with keyword stuffing. But in reality, this trick doesn’t do much good. You may scrape through, but in the future, you are sure to get caught.
- Outdated content. The content that people no longer search for.
Do thorough research: Before you start writing, study your audience. Search for the type of content the people in your niche are looking for. Choose correct topics. There is no purpose in writing irrelevant topics.
Research will also help you keep up with the latest and trending topics. This will help you stay on top of competition.
Make content attractive: To make your audience understand your ideas easily, add some illustrations, examples and videos.Hire a designer if you have to. You can also add links to more detailed explanations.
A cluttered look is the worst of first impressions. Format your content into paragraphs. Use bold headings and bullets where ever possible.
Incorrect grammar and spellings can also spell doom for your content. Try to use online tools for checking, they are very effective. Proof read twice and get help if needed.
Go old-school: If writing fresh, modern style content isn’t your forte, try going for evergreen content. They always have a separate requirement and fan following. One thing you can be sure about this is that they are great for strategy and any new update.
Some examples are:
- Tutorials or step by step instruction guides (How to guides).
- Top ten compilations.
- Best tips post.
Restrict your keyword density: it is the amount of keywords present for a given length of content. It is a very fragile matter when it comes to Panda. There is no threshold or a guideline for keyword density. You just have to find that perfect blend so to speak.
Keywords are important to get traffic to your site. But try to keep the sentence formation natural. Do not try to frame out of context paragraphs just to include many keywords. It is the perfectuser signal burner there ever could be.
Increase your article size: This is a sure cut method to impress Panda. Long form content has shown to be a great performer especially with SERPs ranking. It even has the added advantage of including many keywords. If you could entice a visitor to start reading your more posts, it could drastically decrease your bounce rates. You don’t have to cough up a lengthy story, but 1,000 words would be a good starting point.
Don’t lose sight of your goal: when I say goal, I am talking about the reason for starting the blog or the article in the first place. Don’t stray away from the topic. People might lose interest in your blog. Writing irrelevant content can also result in a weak SEO.
Panda hates plagiarism: The most common reason, other than link sharing, for which webmasters get penalized is plagiarism. Panda allows content that is inspired from other sources but is strict about simple copy paste. Try to keep your content as unique as possible. There are many tools out there to check plagiarism.
Stay Updated: another one of Panda’s red areas is old and outdated content. For example, old studies that contain outdated (and incorrect) information. Make use of this opportunity to weed out bad information and old facts and create new content that is relevant to today’s users and is up-to-date.
The final tweak, that doesn’t have to do much with content, but with user experience is Page loading speeds.
SEO signals do not stop with building a perfect website or a blog. Anywhere above 3 seconds, and your blog needs serious optimization. Some tips to optimize page loading speeds are:
- Choose a good web hosting option. Shared hosting will suit for small blogs only.
- Keep image sizes small. Every Mb matters to users.
- Choose a light theme and minimal plugins.
The road to obtaining perfect content and hence appreciation from Panda is a long and time consuming one. But the rewards are well worth it. It is not something done in a single day. You may have to reconsider with every minor update. The good thing is. If you follow these guidelines, your task is guaranteed to get easier. So get started.
Kiera Hayes is a professional blogger. She enjoys writing articles on WordPress, web trends, marketing and blogging.