In March 2011, Google released the “Panda” or “Farmer” update. Matt Cutts, Google’s Head of Spam, released this statement: "This update is designed to reduce rankings for low quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on."
This sent shockwaves through the online community as some big name websites and companies were hit the hardest.
Some of these sites were:
The hardest hit website types:
- Affiliate Sites
- Ecommerce Websites
- Answer Web Sites
- Wiki Style Sites
- Archive Sites
- News Sites
This update affected 11.8% of search queries and targeted poor quality websites and scraper websites. Initially, there was some panic as some legitimate businesses were affected by the update. This calmed down as further versions of the update came and restored traffic to these sites. The purpose of the update is for the Google users to find the search results with the highest relevancy and provide a better user experience. With the rankings of low quality websites reduced, it is now the time for high quality websites to shine.
5 Tips For A High Quality Website:
1) Unique content with high relevancy
2) Clean Web Design– Less ads, less clutter, create a better user experience
3) Social Media – Facebook likes, Google +1’s, Retweets - user engagement
4) High Quality SEO – On page optimization, internal, and external linking
5) Take steps to decrease bounce rate and increase repeat visits
These steps are all aimed towards providing a fully unique site that provides a great user experience. This is not only good for search engines, but also gives your website loyal long term visitors.
It’s important to follow these steps on your website to help you avoid any penalties in the future with the Panda update. If you need help Panda Proofing your website, feel free to contact us and we can create a custom solution for you.