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Top 3 Ways Blogs Can Fight Google Panda Update

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Bloggers and blog administrators are at least a little search engine savvy so most of you already know a lot about the Google Panda update and its importance.  With this in mind I’ll simply summarize what Panda is at a high level. Google uses algorithms to define where web pages show up in the search list for different keywords.  Panda is an algorithm Google put in place to remove pages with poor quality content.  Pages with only a few unique words on them, pages with more advertising than original content, and pages with duplicate content reprinted from another site are all targeted by Panda and penalized according to the perceived severity of the page.

This change was intended to help Google filter out what they consider low quality sites such as content farms and sites that just crawl the web and grab up as much random junk as they can and cram it all in one place only to cover it in advertising.  For the most part Panda did a fantastic job removing these types of sites from the top ten search positions.  Some legitimate pages got mauled by Panda along the way, but with such a sweeping change this was too be expected.  So how do you avoid enraging the Panda?  Here are the top 5 ways to stay clear of Panda and offer your readers something they really want to read.

1. Spell Check Everything

Spell checking sounds trivial but it’s not.  When Google is grading content on a site for quality correct spelling does come into play.  Poor spelling may not be a crushing blow but it does count and it’s easy to fix.  This is more important to keep in mind for site administrators than individual bloggers.  We can all check our own work, but the admins are responsible for several authors, possible thousands.  Most blogging software has built in spellcheckers but having a human being give every page the once over can be very important.  If two articles of equal quality are fighting it out for a top position it would be a shame to lose a spot due to misspellings.

2. Fix all Duplicate Content

If two or more pages have the same data on them they are duplicate content.  This isn’t hard to grasp by any means.  There are many different kinds of duplicate content such as true, near, cross-domain, and more.  All of these are interesting but the fact of the matter is you want the data on any of your pages to be unique to not only your site, but any site on the Internet.  This is incredibly important and can’t be stressed enough.  Duplicate content will bring down the Panda and it can take a long time to get it off.

This doesn’t mean two articles can’t be about the same subject of course.  There are thousands of articles about every topic imaginable on the Internet but what is important here is the presentation of the ideas.  Don’t just throw up an article you found by changing a few words here and there.  Google is smart and will know what’s going on.  Offering a similar article reimagined in your own words with new ideas is the way to go.

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Just because you are careful about duplicate content doesn’t mean everyone else is.  You may think you have no dupes when you actually have hundreds.  It’s unfortunate but possible that another site copied your content and published it.  Google may have difficulty discerning where the article originated and it’s possible that the dupe could hurt an innocent site.  There are methods to help reduce the chances of this happening in the future but the best short term plan is to rewrite anything that was duped now and guard against this in the future.  Copyscape.com is a great tool to use in order to locate any duplicate content.

3. Remove Shallow Content 

What shallow content is can be very subjective but Panda hates it so you have to deal with it.  This can be more of a concern with users of blog templates as the template can dominate the page with a tiny but of unique content hidden somewhere.  It looks like a full page but Google won’t see it that way.  If enough shallow pages pile up on a site it will get penalized by Google.  A good way to identify shallow content is if there is more advertising and links to other locations than content, it’s shallow.

It is a good rule of thumb that many site owners use that any page must have at least 500 words of unique content on it.  This is a good minimum but in most cases more is better.  Not more random words mind you, but more information on the given topic that will keep people reading.  A good method of fixing this issue without throwing out a bunch of content is to combine similar content into larger articles.  This is a good way to add depth to a page without having to lose anything.  As outlined above you may want to rewrite the whole article anyway to avoid duplicate content.

The above changes should bring about positive change even if Panda isn’t pounding on your door right now.  Google looks at user signals like time on site, how many pages were visited, how many clicks occurred, and where the user went after leaving your site.  Some user signals can only be measured by Google.  These are how many users blocked your site or simply hit the back button after reaching you.  The above changes can keep users engaged longer thus improving your signals to Google and keeping the Panda at bay.

This article is written by Jon T. Norwood. He is a managing partner at Bank Card Finder, a site that allows users to get accurate personal finance information.



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Jon T. Norwood is a managing partner at Bank Card Finder, a site that allows users to get accurate personal finance information as well as Low Interest Credit Cards across all available issuers.

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    21 Comments

    • Jack

      Penguin and Panda screwed my blogs big time. I was so pissed off by ever updating search engine Mr. Google. But Kudos to you for providing such amazing tips! I will definitely implement these tricks for my blogs. Thanks a ton!

    • Distinctly

      Also, Google seems to be updating Panda more often then it does Penguin, so site owners need to pay more attention to on-page factors. This makes on-page SEO more valuable as well in my opinion.

    • Danica Green | Paper Shopping Bags

      This will help us minimize the work as well and to have a faster page loading. You really need to look after the sites you visited and check everything to avoid Google Panda Update.

    • Anya

      Nice tricks but it is very difficult to get back on track with same site. I have tried everything but now started new site after failures.

    • HTL Group

      Content is King – yes this cliché has been so grossly overused that every time people hear it it results in a groan – however it's true (and no amount of groaning will ever change it!)

      IMHO Google didn't implement Google quick enough – there's just too much rubbish / regurgitated content out there.

      Ok – Rant over!

      Jon's tips are definitely a good place to start to help clean up a blog.

      In addition think about what content's already out there on the web and how it can be improved – if there are 4 blogs out there with posts that have ok content on a subject ho can this content be combined, polished and updated so that a post on your blog has the real kick ass version.

    • presto

      i used to like panda before google started using it

    • aatif

      Google panda is trying everything to make people write quality contents . thanks for your guide it will be helpful for my new blog

    • Eapen

      Good article Jon, but I really Don't think Google is going to penalize the sites with exactly the same copies. This is technically considered as Article Syndication and it is very much valid now and before. If that was the case then every news sites would have gone down the drain long ago. And it is also highly impractical to rewrite a post if we found the duplicates of it on the web. Google identifies the original one from the lot by checking the post that was first published.

    • Usman

      Well I agree that we need to eliminate shallow content and duplicate pages in order to recover from the drastic effects of Google Panda. I guess if a site has pretty much of same content it should be combined into one single post for the search engines to index.

    • sai@dailyblogtools

      Hello Jon T. Norwood
      very good explanation mate 🙂 i don't know that spellings also play main role on Google panda effect .

    • Rasel Rony

      yeah, the 3 points you noted out here is enough to fight Google panda update easily

    • techwhiz

      How can you tell if the Panda has been invoked on your site?

      • Jon T. Norwood

        That's hard too say but the way I could tell was my rankings dropped. I know that's not much help but if you don't have very high rankings then the you wont get a lot of bad user signals (as no one is going to your site via Google). Panda has a much greater impact the higher in the rankings your site is.

      • S.Pradeep Kumar

        No mate, as far as I know, it hasn't. 🙂

    • JamesW

      Thanks for the post, the most important is to create the better content, don't spam and promote suspicious links too much.

    • Sureshmania

      Thanks for the usefull tips….

    • Saket Jajodia

      I think I need to do 1st point and re-update my all blog post with latest screenshot and all.. Thanks Jon, for info..!! 🙂

    • Ravi

      These tips is always working, i have tried this and really great content with high reader authority of site have no fear about panda update.

    • Sameer

      Removing content that is not required is the only best way to get rid of Google Panda

    • Darshan | Goa resorts

      After all we had got solution for that when Google Panda was launched everyone was gone some dispointed but if we look it worked great for many to control spam work. But how you mentioned these tips really it will work better for us.

    • sachin kundu

      I am totally agree with you Jon T. Norwood, Panda update such a great start by Google to clean up and give user good and informative results. I the mid of panda updates going on, i was sad but now i am enjoying it.

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