The Google Panda update recently turned one year old. By now, you’ve probably heard about it and how it has everyone up in arms. In order to understand what Google Panda is and why it was created, we have to go back to basics and start with the Google algorithm.
Google uses a link analysis algorithm to determine how it will display its search results. This algorithm is called PageRank and it consists of an extremely complex ranking system. What we know is that PageRank analyzes web pages and assigns them an importance value according to a number of factors. For example, the more links there are to a page, the more important the page is assumed to be. But it doesn’t stop there. Google has added many secret criteria to the mix for determining the ranking of pages on result lists. There are thought to be in excess of 250 different factors. They are kept secret because Google wants to make sure that nobody manipulates their site to influence their search engine ranking results.
If you know what influences Google’s algorithm, you can adopt the right tactics to improve your website’s rankings. In fact, that’s what a lot of people did when they realized that Google analyzes the keywords on a page, the number of links or the number of pages a website has when determining a website’s importance. They filled all their pages with keywords, links and content. Some did it legitimately and some took it over the top and spammed their site with keywords, irrelevant links and content. What happened was a large number of low quality sites started appearing in the search results. Google needed to combat this flood of low quality sites from infiltrating the search results and the Google Panda update was born.
The Panda update is an enhancement of the Google search algorithm. It is one of those factors that have been added to the mix for determining where a website will feature in search results. It was first released in February 2011 and is now released every two to three months.
Panda acts like a quality filter. Websites with low quality content, excessive or irrelevant advertising, duplicate content, low or no quality inbound links, keyword spamming or high bounce rates are pushed down in search results. In fact, many website’s saw a drop in their Google search engine rankings after the Panda update was released.
What can I do to improve my website’s search engine rankings?
In light of the Google Panda update, make sure that your website does not have a high ratio of duplicate content, auto-generated content or redundant articles on similar topics. Focus on filling your site with unique and engaging content that builds your authority and credibility. If your site has advertising plastered all over it, consider reducing the number of ads to what might be considered an appropriate amount. Use social media to promote your website and its content and focus on building high quality inbound links from high authority sites.
Dianne Shaddock is an HR nerd who loves all things relating to Social Media and the Internet. That’s why she created Tools for Social Media, your source for free articles on all things related to social media, the Internet and Web 2.0 for the newbie.