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Panda is Back!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about getting your website found. To do this, we have to be continuously monitoring Google updates and algorithm changes in order to see what the latest ranking factors are. The most recent update was Panda 4.1. How will this affect you?

Released in February of 2011, the original Panda's focus was on targeting sites with low quality or poor content. Prior to this date, SEO companies could put up sites that were keyword stuffing or even contained spun content from another site, and rank for it. This is not the case anymore. Google continuously releases Panda updates in order to rank the sites that are providing the best content.

Google is all about the user experience. In order to provide the best experience, Google displays the highest quality sites first in search results. These sites are viewed as an authority or credible, and provide a solution for the user, i.e. more information. Which brings us to the question, how can you make your site Panda-friendly?

Have positive reviews and mentions on social media and review sites.

Do not hesitate to ask customers to post their positive experiences with you online, most are more than willing to do so!

Use a Top-Level Domain such as .com, .org, or .net.

Have your contact information clearly listed on all pages of your site.

The more information you provide the better. Do not limit the contact info to address and phone number. Include emails, hours, customer service hours, etc.

Have a detailed About Us page.

This information helps reinforce to Google that you are a legitimate business. About Us, Company Directory and Testimonials pages are all great ways to do this.

Have a positive online reputation.

Share your valuable content! Create blog posts, participate in forums, monitor reviews, etc.

If you have an ecommerce site, make sure that the shopping cart is easy to use.

Avoid these Panda-penalizing factors:

Your site gives a bad user experience.

While this concept is very general, it is easy to understand. Give the people what they want! Make sure that your site does not take too long to load. When it does load, do not let it have excessive whitespace. Avoid an overly confusing site, as well as poorly written content that does not answer the visitor's question. These are all factors that contribute to the user experience.

Duplicate Content.

Make sure that your content is YOURS! Create original content, titles and Meta descriptions that are yours alone.

Outdated Content.

Make sure all information/facts that are on your site are current. Do not keep outdated information live.

Excessive or nonuseful 404 errors found on the site.

Your main content is below the fold.

Your visitors need to be able to identify the purpose of the page as well as view the main content above the fold.

Your site appears abandoned.

Not maintaining your site and doing things such as fixing broken links and images, or updating it regularly, can all be subject to a Google penalty.

Contact our SEO department if you have any further questions, or if you feel you may have been attacked by a Panda lately!


2024 Update:  A lot has happend at Google since Panda

Since Google's Panda update, there have been several key changes to its algorithm, each aimed at enhancing the search experience and the quality of results. Here's a summarization of these updates:

  1. Hummingbird Update (2013): This update was a significant overhaul, improving Google's understanding of search queries. It particularly enhanced voice search and conversational queries, focusing on the context of words in a query.

  2. Pigeon Update (2014): Google refined local search results with this update. It integrated traditional web search criteria into local search rankings, improving the relevance and accuracy of local search results.

  3. Mobile-Friendly Update (2015): Often called 'Mobilegeddon', this update prioritized mobile-friendly websites in Google's mobile search results, reflecting the growing trend of mobile internet usage.

  4. RankBrain (2015): Google introduced machine learning into its algorithm with RankBrain. This update helped the search engine better understand and process complex and conversational search queries.

  5. Possum Update (2016): Focused on local search, this update diversified local search results and made them more sensitive to the searcher's location and the nuances of their query.

  6. BERT Update (2019): This was a major step forward in natural language processing, allowing Google to better understand the context and intent behind search queries.

  7. Page Experience Update (2021): This update combined traditional page experience metrics with Core Web Vitals, emphasizing the importance of user experience in website rankings.

Each of these updates reflects Google's commitment to delivering the most relevant, high-quality content to its users, emphasizing the need for websites to focus on mobile optimization, user experience, and content relevance.

If keeping up with the ever-changing landscape of Google's algorithm updates seems overwhelming, don't worry, our experienced SEO team is here to help. We stay on top of these updates to ensure your website remains optimized and competitive in search rankings. Contact us for expert SEO guidance and strategies tailored to your business's unique needs. Let us navigate the complexities of search engine algorithms for you!