What is the Google Panda Update?

Let’s start with a brief history about Google’s Panda… It’s nothing new, it has been around for a while now. It was first released in February 2011 and has received a number of updates since then.

At the time of writing this blog post we are on version 3.2, here is a list of all the different versions of the Panda Update and the release date:

Panda Update 1.0: February 24, 2011
Panda Update 2.0: April 11, 2011
Panda Update 2.1: May 10, 2011
Panda Update 2.2: June 16, 2011
Panda Update 2.3: July 23, 2011
Panda Update 2.4: August 12, 2011
Panda Update 2.5: September 28, 2011
Panda Update 3.0: October 19, 2011
Panda Update 3.1: November 18, 2011
Panda Update 3.2: January 18, 2012

Some of these updates only affected US sites but a number of them were global.

The Google Panda update is a series of algorithmic tweaks that Google rolls out every few weeks. It’s aim was basically to lower the rank of low-quality sites and return higher-quality sites near the top of the results.

What does Panda eat?

Panda eating a website

As with everything Google is never clear on exactly what Panda is targeting/looking for on sites but from our own findings we have found that you can do your best to avoid being penalised by the Panda by avoiding having the following on your site:

  • – Low amount of original content
  • – Duplicate content (content used on multiple websites)
  • – Content used on multiple pages of your site
  • – Low quality inbound links to your site
  • – Low time spent on your site
  • – High bounce rate
  • – Too many adverts (including Google Adsense)
  • – Too high keyword density (unnatural use of a word on a page)
  • – Poor titles and meta descriptions that result in a low CTR from the search engine

How to tell if you have been affected

It should be very obvious if you have been effected by a Google Panda update, you will see a significant drop in traffic and positions on/around the dates I listed above. It’s a domain level penalty so your site could literally drop out of Google.

Example of traffic drop caused by Panda update

Image Source: https://www.littleabout.com/Techno/recover-ranking-google-big-panda-update/98738/

If the drop in traffic/positions did not happen on the above dates it could have been another minor tweak to the algorithm, it wasn’t necessarily the Panda.

I’ve been bitten by the Panda, what do I do?

You basically need to do the opposite of the things to avoid I listed above:

  • – Write good, focused, unique content that doesn’t overuse keywords for every page. Don’t just write 1 good paragraph and use it on every page of your site.
  • – Get rid of the pages of low quality pages of your site… poor content, duplicate content, high bounce rates etc, they will bring your entire site down.
  • – Try and keep visitors on your site and reduce the bounce rate. Are visitors finding what they expect on your site? Does the content reflect the title of the page/the keywords you are being found under?
  • – Address technical issues such as broken links, canonicalization
  • – Reduce the amount of adverts (including Google Adsense)

This was just a brief guide to the Google Panda update, I hope it has been useful and helps you avoid being penalised by Google’s panda updates.

Next week’s blog post will be covering what you can do if you’ve suddenly dropped out of Google but it won’t just focus on the Panda update, stay tuned.

This blog post was written by Diana Esho – follow us on Twitter or Facebook for an inside look into the technical side of SEO.

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