On September 26, Pierre Far, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google UK, announced the rollout of new Panda update. He said it was a slow roll out that had begun earlier that week and expected to have done everything sometime the following week. Since the previous official Panda release in May was Panda 4.0, the new update has been dubbed Panda 4.1. According to Far, Google has added few more signals (based on feedback provided by users and webmasters) to help the Panda identify low-quality content more precisely. The current update has affected 3-5% of queries, depending on the locale. So, it is the time for site owners to examine their content development strategy, weed out low-quality material, and post fresh, relevant content to optimize online visibility.
In his Google Plus blog post, Far says that the improved Panda algorithm will result in a greater diversity of high-quality small and medium-sized sites ranking higher. This means that such businesses that were previously penalized by Panda can improve their ranking by removing low-quality content from their sites and optimizing their content for higher search engine ranking. If traffic improves after making the necessary changes, it obviously means that the update has worked favorably for the sites. Those not affected by Panda so far can also expect to see an increase in traffic if they upgrade their content.
If you see a significant drop in your traffic, this could be due to the new Panda algorithm. With its new signals, Panda 4.1 is a not just a simple refresh. The new update shows that Google has decided to be firm about the quality of content. Success with SEO is now inextricably linked to developing and posting content that benefits the reader.
Tips to Avoid a Google Penalty
- Avoid duplicate content as it may be considered a sign of spam and get your site removed. Develop good long-form content that can provide a valuable reading experience. If you have published thin content, roll the page in with other pages and use ‘301 redirects’ to redirect the old URL. You can also add new information to the existing content.
- Specialize XML sitemaps and define crawl priority properly. The old content should not be crawled again unless there is a specific reason.
- There should not be any conflicts with sitemap, URL parameters, Webmaster Tools and robots.txt commands
If you lack the skills to monitor analytics data, organic traffic levels and site performance, get help from an SEO expert. It’s important to know if the Panda refresh has affected your site and make the necessary changes if it has.