Shhh... The Secrets of Google Panda: What you need to know
Don’t know the answer to a question, just “Google it!” Google has certainly made a name for themselves as one of the top ranking search engines in the modern world. Providing millions of people all over the globe with the ability to navigate the internet effectively to gather any tidbit of information one could possibly think of, Google has it all covered. But when you type in your keyword and hit “google search,” what guarantee do you really have that the websites you’re being directed to do indeed feature the latest and most accurate information? Well, that’s where Google Panda steps into the spotlight.
Google Panda, named after Google engineer Navneet Panda, was launched on February 24th of 2011. Using a type of artificial intelligence in algorithm form, Google Panda’s targeted purpose was to reconfigure the ranking of websites, boosting high quality and purposeful content sites up the list while demoting low quality ones. This new algorithm based website rankings on a series of preselected qualities and their importance to Google users. Unfortunately, though well intentioned, Google Panda affected almost 12% of companies and where their sites ranked. Many business owners were infuriated as their sites dropped off of search engine result pages completely. However, Google responded over the next two years with twenty four updates to the Panda program, the most recent one in January of 2013 only affecting 1.2% of sites, in an attempt to perfect the algorithm’s accuracy.
So with these continuous updates and refreshes, how does Google keep users happy? Well, user satisfaction is usually based on a combination of both speed and accuracy. Google frequenters want to know they can find accurate answers to their questions or relevant query content quickly. And Google is in the money making business; therefore, they are happy only when their users return to use Google time after time. So, through the constant and grueling process of perfecting the Panda, Google is ensuring that users all over the world will continue to “Google it” when they have a question, in turn maintaining their strong market hold.
Throughout this process, controversy has surrounded Google’s Panda. It is clear that website owners feel it most, as your site must meet the Panda qualifications for a quality website or you may be eliminated completely. It makes it difficult to increase the marketability of your site if users can’t even find it. So, here are three keys to success if you want to stay on the map and survive the Panda wrath: beef up your content, increase your social media, and encourage users to return.
Many websites have been affected by the Panda because they are written mainly from a keyword perspective. Google Panda ranks sites with high quality content higher than sites that simply pump up their articles on keywords for SEO. So, if you want your site to score points with Panda, you may have to re-write or reconfigure some articles, but don’t spin them!
Proliferating social media on your site will automatically enhance your site’s value in Panda’s eyes. So, start a blog or message board. Give your users some more interactive mediums on your site, and increase their average stay time.
Lastly, keep them coming back for more. Google Panda uses percentage of return users as one of their site quality requirements. Google wants to see users returning to your site indicating there is high quality content featured there.
Google Panda can be a bear, but if you truly understand how the algorithm works and its new qualifications, you can keep your website at the top of its rankings. Remember, when users are happy, Google is happy. So, keep your users satisfied, and the Panda will keep pointing them in your direction.