Google Panda is a part of the search algorithm, the main task of which is to evaluate the quality of the content content of website pages.
Sites with useful, interesting and unique information that can fully satisfy the user's informational needs should be displayed in the organic search. If a low-quality resource with insufficiently relevant content tries to occupy high positions through text manipulation, then the site has a high chance of meeting this beast.
A bit of history
Google Panda began its existence on February 24, 2011 as a spam filter that helps to evaluate the quality of sites and lower low-quality pages in the ranking. Initially, it was aimed exclusively at artificially generated texts and content exchanges, but Matt Cutts, head of the web spam team, decided to direct its work to increase the relevance of search results. Between 2011 and 2015, the filter underwent dozens of updates, and in early 2016 it became part of Google's main ranking algorithm.
What sites is Panda targeting?
The most important thing to understand is that the Panda algorithm is purely content oriented. It does not estimate the number of inbound/outbound links, speed page loading or site technical condition. It doesn't matter if HTTPS is available or which CMS is used. It weeds out useless and spammy sites with low quality content from organic traffic. Therefore, if the items below are present on the pages of your site, you should beware of fluffy paws and work on the content.
- Thin content (thin content) – pages with little main content that are not able to satisfy the visitor. This means you don't have to try to fit some magical minimum number of words per page. If you can fully disclose the queries your page is ranking for in a few sentences, then you're fine. But mostly this is not enough.
- Duplicate content. This item includes the use of any materials from third-party resources without indicating the original source. Panda doesn't like plagiarism, images and video. Similarly, you should not clutter the site with repeated content, even if it is considered unique in global search. Therefore, you should not create articles that are cross-sectional in terms of content, using synonyms as keywords, or create a large number of cards of the same product, which essentially differ in only one characteristic. When the percentage of such pages on your site starts to be significant, there is a high probability of getting sanctioned.
- Poor content. If the main goal is not achieved - to be useful and interesting to the reader - the content risks falling into the category of low quality. For example, the topic is not fully disclosed and there is no detailed information, not enough useful content with enough keywords - just to attract as much traffic as possible. The presence of spelling, stylistic or factual errors.
- High percentage of advertising. The main content of the page is lost among endless advertising blocks. Google doesn't mind advertising or affiliate links, as long as it's unobtrusive and doesn't make it difficult to understand the main useful information. Panda's filter includes sites with low-quality content that aim to redirect users to other sites with advertising or affiliate links. At the same time, they can continue to rank for more specific and highly relevant queries.
- Low quality user content. Sites with user-generated content are at risk. For example, comments, forums and blogs that grow out of control, where short user messages are published.
How to determine if you have been sanctioned by Google Panda?
If you have noticed a sharp decline in organic search traffic from Google and are convinced that it is not related to a seasonal decrease in demand, we begin to check in more detail.
Panda's algorithm is automatic and built into the main ranking algorithm, so you can't just match its update dates with the trend of traffic on your site.
- First of all, you should go to Google Search Console and look at "Measures taken manually". If the site is filtered for "unnatural links", you will see a message. Automatic sanctions are usually not displayed on this tab.
- Next, we go to Google Analytics and analyze organic traffic to specific pages. Our task is to determine whether the entire site solicited or only specific groups URL-iv. If the site is under Panda, it does not necessarily mean that it is completely pessimistic, as it happens with Penguin. Most likely, we will observe the deterioration of the positions of certain groups of requests that lead to low-quality pages.
How to remove a site from Google Panda sanctions?
What should you do, and what actions are recommended to refrain from, if a Panda "fell" on you?
- First of all, it is necessary to analyze which pages and pieces of content Google continues to attract users to. Don't rush to remove content from all pages just on the basis of too much/too little text. Use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to compile a list of pages with good and zero traffic that need improvement.
- Evaluate how fully the information on the problem pages is disclosed based on the queries that the users come for. If the information is vague, not unique or does not satisfy the user's needs in the request, we refine the content. The main goal is quality, usefulness and authority, not quantity.
- All information must be unique - not only that text, but also pictures, videos and other multimedia files. I would like to note separately that Panda is not particularly interested in technical duplicates of the site, but they will certainly affect your SEO.
- All pages that you are not ready to finalize right now - we close them from indexing through the robots.txt file or use meta-tag robots with the content=’noindex’ attribute value (<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”/>). To quickly remove pages from the Google index, make sure that the pages are in the sitemap or add them there and prohibit indexing.
- Deletion of poor-quality pages is recommended only if there is no way to improve them. For example, spammed forums, sites republishing RSS feeds.
- Estimate the amount of advertising and affiliate links to the main useful content. The benefit of the site owner should not exceed the benefit of the visitor. Therefore, make sure that advertising and affiliate links are not intrusive, do not interfere with the perception of the main content, do not block or distract attention from it, correspond to the topic and content of the page. If there are too many ads on the first screen, you can additionally get a reduction in non-Panda factors of the main algorithm.
- We carefully check user-generated content. Introducing moderation. Clear spam is removed. The rest is edited where possible to eliminate errors and increase usefulness.
- The more quality content, the better. Fill the site with relevant and useful information to compensate for the impact of the spam filter. A site is generally considered high-quality if the vast majority of pages provide users with high-quality content.
And remember, Panda is about content, not technical issues. Therefore, to cure Panda, continue to work on improving the resource, create useful and high-quality content for visitors, not for search engines.