Google Panda: Changes & Tips

Changes to Google’s search algorithm have been coming thick and fast of late.

Word around the traps is that the latest Panda 3.7 was released on 31 May 2012.

Over the last few months, a number of tweaks have been made. The overarching philosophy behind these changes has been to reduce the ranking of low quality sites and level the playing field for all quality content sources.

The Good News

In theory, it levels the playing field. Mum and Dad businesses and small operations should be able to compete without spending thousands on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Key Changes

The new algorithm is purportedly able to detect duplicate and ‘scraped’  content and spammy sites.

It also targets poor quality sites stuffed with keywords above and beyond a normal number as well as hidden links that are irrelevant.

Social Media

Since March this year, websites that are not engaged in social media have been penalised by falling lower on the search engine results page. That means if you have avoided getting social, this is your five minute warning order.

For users of Google Analytics, you have probably already noticed social engagement reporting.

Bad Backlinking

Once upon a time it was standard practice to have as many websites linking to yours as possible, especially those free directory sites covered with ads. Free links are good, right? Not necessarily. Not all links were created equal.

Website owners need to be wary bad backlink (also known as inbound links) if the referring sites are not considered to be good quality. A poor quality site would be loosely defined as one displaying a huge number of ads, no moderation system, low levels of traffic and inadequate quality content.

On the brighter side, quality inbound links are not too hard to get. HubSpot’s Marketing Grader system calls these “authoritative links”. Usually if you post a comment on a forum or the website or an industry leader in your field, these are considered authoritative links.So the lesson is, connect with others. Give praise where you see great work. It’s karma in action.

We highly recommend running a test of your own site with HubSpot’s free software. This was developed by a group who really know what they’re on about, including Dan Zarella who wrote his PhD on the science of social media. Our score is 68% and rising. Hope you can beat it.

Confused?

Don’t need to be. Basic common sense and professional integrity applies. Make sure you have quality content. Remember, this is a knowledge economy, so share your skills and knowledge.

Don’t cheat. There are no real shortcuts. If there are now, Panda will soon catch up.

Or, in the words of Google’s mantra “Only do good”.

While I do not purport to be SEO expert, I may be able to help. Well at least I promise not to charge you thousands of dollars.