Google Panda Algorithm: Everything You Need To Know
Whether you’re an SEO wiz, marketer, business owner, or someone that is looking to share their passion within the digital world… Google is the most powerful online tool at your fingertips, and you should be looking to make the most of it.
To truly make the most of Google, you need to have a solid understanding of the various algorithms the platform uses to process web pages before it displays search results. Doing so will help you climb those organic rankings to supercharge your website’s organic traffic.
What is a Google Algorithm?
Essentially, Google Algorithms are the ranking systems that are designed to analyse billions of web pages. This allows the world’s most popular search engine to then present the most relevant and useful results for users… all within a fraction of a second.
Google’s Algorithms have all been developed for a specific reason, and between them, they take into account over 200+ ranking factors. But what does Google take into account when delivering search results?
The words of your query, the relevance to users, the usability of the page, mobile-friendliness, site authority, user location, technical site aspects, on-page information, dwell time, the quality of content, click-through rate – as you can tell, the list goes on, and on… and on.
If you really want that number one spot, you should be considering every ranking factor within the different Google Algorithms. Luckily for you, that’s where specialist SEO experts like Circulate Digital come in to save the day.
If you want to learn more about the various ranking factors, you can find the key Google Algorithms here.
What is Google Panda? 🐼
When individuals who are unaware of Google’s Algorithms hear of Google Panda, they would be quick to presume it’s some sort of company mascot. You know, maybe a baby Panda that just lounges around all day in some form of Google super-office eating bamboo.
In reality, that’s far from the case.
The Google Panda algorithm is a complex ranking system that seeks to reward websites with high-quality content by providing them with a view of the search engine summit. While, on the other hand, sending websites with thin and low-quality content to the fiery depths of oblivion in the lowest search engine results pages.
For users, it’s easy to acknowledge low-quality content that offers little value when you land on the page of a website. But for search engines, this is a completely different ball game. That’s why Google Panda was born.
*reader imagines a cute baby panda*
When was Google Panda launched? 🐼
Google’s Panda Update was introduced in February 2011.
Like many Google Algorithms, Panda has been consistently revisited, updated and improved as time has passed.
However, in today’s SEO world, Google Panda updates aren’t something us marketers hear much of, as standalone Panda updates seem to be a thing of the past.
When the Google Panda algorithm was launched, over 12% of Google’s search results were changed with the press of a button. Considering there are hundreds of billions of indexable web pages on Google, that’s one hell of an impact.
Goodbye, low-quality content and too many adverts… you will not be missed.
Why did Google create Panda? 🐼
Google created the Panda algorithm in order to reward websites that produced high-quality content, whilst diminishing websites that offered low-quality content.
The level of quality from the content available on a webpage plays a direct role in user satisfaction when browsing across the search results. It was Google’s aim to improve this for the millions of users of the platform so they can find directly relevant and useful information.
Think of it this way… how often do you find a page within the search engine results, and as quickly as you clicked through, you find yourself back in the results pages looking for a better alternative? Yup… we know.
Obviously, for search engines, jumping in and out of pages is impossible… so Google needed to create an innovative solution to improve the quality of search results. Google, meet Panda, Panda, meet Google.
Google Panda has been a game-changer in the world of content creation, and users have benefitted from the algorithm ever since its release back in 2011. Those who were initially ranking high for target keywords with thin and boring content… after Google Panda, they weren’t.
How does Google Panda work? 🐼
Google Panda involves a mathematical and scientific process that assigns a score to pages on the basis of specific ‘signals’. These signals are picked up by Google’s learning systems and strongly correlate to the overall quality of the webpage.
Obviously, in true Google fashion, they never revealed these signals publicly. Is this to keep us all guessing when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation? We suppose doing so helps the intense competition amongst businesses, brands, bloggers and other internet users remain ~somewhat~ fair.
Low-quality content that offers no value is arguably the most annoying aspect for users in search engines. Sometimes, it only takes a quick scroll across a page to realise that you’re looking for something with a deeper insight into the subject you are trying to understand.
The Google Panda algorithm combats this to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Many moons ago, SEO wasn’t quite the complex science that it is now. There were fewer ranking factors that allowed websites to rank for keywords without being at the top of their game. In today’s world, that is not the case. But that isn’t a bad thing.
How to optimise for Google Panda 🐼
The all-important question that we all want to know… How can you optimise for Google Panda to ensure your content is ranking within the search results?
Well… the great thing about Google Panda is that although the algorithm takes into account a number of computerised factors, all signals are developed to create higher value in the eyes of the user.
But, what does this mean exactly?
In simple terms, if you’re optimising for Google Panda, you’re also creating high-quality content that users will love. That’s the beauty of the Google Panda algorithm, as it has made content writers across the world step up their game. The main person that benefits from this is…. *drumroll*… you, the user!
Amit Singhal, Google’s head of search at the time Panda was developed, released a series of questions to give guidance as to how content should be created for the Panda update.
From these questions, Circulate has developed our very own Google Panda algorithm checklist to ensure you are creating content that rises to the summit of search engine results pages.
How to create content for Google Panda 🐼
This section explains exactly how to optimise your website for the Google Panda algorithm.
We should mention… if you really want to rank highly. You’ll need to ensure other areas of your SEO engine are well oiled and working in unison together, as one broken part can lead to organic engine failure.
Great content isn’t the singular answer to turbo-charged SEO, it’s just a key component within the overall engine.
Simply follow our step by step guide if you want to optimise for Google Panda… If you do so properly, you will be creating content that bangs from both an organic search and user perspective.
Google Panda Content Checklist 🐼
Following our Panda content checklist can ensure you are making the most of your website’s content.
Value & quality
The key component when optimising for Google Panda, and the number one reason the algorithm was developed… high-quality content!
Your content MUST offer value and quality to users of the platform for Google to reward you. You should always develop content that urges users to keep on reading. If not… well, you simply won’t rank in the top positions.
Trust & credibility
To develop content that is high quality in the eyes of Google Panda, it must be trustworthy and credible.
Are you certain the information you are presenting is 100% correct? Does the page come across as a credible source that users will have confidence in? Will the user believe you?
These are the questions you must ask yourself when writing content for your website.
Expert & factual
Look to develop your on-page content in an expert like manner. Always avoid covering topics in light detail with just the basic information presented… that just won’t work. Look to deeply explore the topic you are writing about with key facts that users will be interested in.
Look to answer questions within the user’s eyes, will they come across your page and find what they are looking for?
A common mistake that many people make on their website surrounds content duplication.
If you have 10 pages on your website that cover the same topic and targeted keywords, you are essentially punishing yourself from an organic perspective. This causes cannibalisation and you will be de-ranked because of this.
Ensure all pages on your site are unique in their own right. Doing so will drive more authority to the pages, in turn increasing the ranking position.
Grammar & style
There’s nothing that screams unprofessionalism like poor-quality spelling, grammar and punctuation. We all make judgements based on the quality of a site’s content, and so does Google.
Ensure your grammar and content is clean, clear cut and high quality… with a style that is suitable for the topic you are discussing. A clearly represented tone of voice can also help resonate with your audience, and therefore Google – if users are spending more time on the page.
Using a tool such as Grammarly can help you stay on top of your grammar game.
Originality & attention to detail
Is the content original? Or is it just like all the other results that you find within search engines?
When creating content, own it… and make sure that the user knows that it’s come from the heart of your business, project, or soul. It sounds extreme, but it makes all the difference.
If you want real organic success, you should pay attention to every little detail of your on-page content to ensure it performs in the best way possible. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and content should not be written in a rush.
This is something that even the biggest brands out there can be guilty of! Creating biased content in order to make themselves look better. Even when it’s not the complete truth.
If you’re discussing a topic, ensure you are doing so from a neutral perspective. Feeding users fake truths can be a big turn off, and Google will recognise this.
Improving the authority of a website is a key qualitative measure that strengthens the overall visibility through the Google Panda algorithm. Google takes into account both your page authority and domain authority, and this translates to your position within the SERPs.
Gaining links to your pages from other RELEVANT web sources is the most effective way to improve the overall authority of your site in Google’s eyes.
Complete & comprehensive
Has the content been rushed? Or is it a complete masterpiece? Creating content that is towards the latter end of the scale will ensure you climb to the higher positions on Google. Your pages should be revisited and re-optimised with new information and high performing keywords if you want to maintain those top spots. Your best competitors will, so why don’t you?
For the best results surrounding the Google Panda algorithm, create content that is complete and comprehensive with all bases covered. Thin content is an arch-rival of Google Panda. So avoid this at all costs.
Interesting & insightful information
Again, who wants to read content that offers nothing of interest? Bland and boring content equals one thing… and that’s a higher bounce rate. Oh, and lower rankings… so make that two things.
You should always write in a way that is engaging; with interesting and insightful information presented throughout the entire piece. This will also encourage the number of backlinks you receive, the shareability of the content, and more… giving you a positive snowball effect for other aspects of your SEO.
Would you share the content?
Leading nicely to the next point… When reflecting on the progress of the content you are creating, you can ask yourself this key question. Would you or your users share the content? And if not, why not?
Finding gaps within the available content in search engines can offer real value to users, improving the shareability of your page.
Google doesn’t take social shares directly into account, but if you have created a masterpiece that users will love, then it’s gonna go down well in the eyes of the content loving Google Panda.
This one is simple. Don’t overload your page with ads.
Google has a particular set of skills, skills they have acquired over a very long career, skills that make them a nightmare for people that over-serve adverts.
Remove all the ads and that will be the end of it. Google won’t look for you, Google won’t pursue you. But if you don’t remove the ads, Google will find you, and they will… de-rank you.
*coughs away Liam Neeson voice*
Lacking in helpful specifics?
Have you ever read a full article, to just sit there afterwards, and think…. Why? I feel less knowledgeable than before!
Yeah… well… that’s never a good sign. So here’s a good piece of advice… make sure your content offers users helpful details. Your traffic should leave your page feeling like a connoisseur of the topic you are presenting. And if they do, Google Panda will applaud you and maybe share some organic bamboo.
Match user queries
Always ensure that the content on your site is mapped out to directly match user queries. Analysing the highest performing keywords that you aim to rank for is the best way to direct more traffic to your site.
Be specific… include your target keywords in on-page headings (H1s, H2s and even H3s), page titles, metadata, URLs, the content in the body of your page… everywhere you can.
BUT… try to avoid overstuffing your keywords, as Google Panda can actually punish you for this. A way to do this is by including the keyword, but doing so in a natural style that still reads nicely for the user.
Make your site Panda ready! 🐼
Do you feel more knowledgeable on the Google Panda algorithm? We hope so.
But do remember, if fully optimising your site in the eyes of Google was easy, everyone would be ranking first for their target keywords. Search engines are highly competitive spaces that require you to be at your VERY best.
That’s the reason so many businesses are placing more and more resources into their digital marketing.
If you’re looking for the best possible results from an organic perspective, you should look to develop an unbreakable relationship with a specialist digital marketing agency like Circulate. Whilst you’re busy running your business, we implement performance-driven website changes that take you to the top, whilst reporting every little detail to you along the way.
SEO is a complex art that requires constant attention to detail in every aspect of your site. To achieve the highest rates of performance, you need expert like knowledge and wisdom surrounding organic search. Luckily, we have that in abundance.
This also includes technical factors that require years of experience developing skills around website crawling, indexability, site structure and site speed.
Contact us today for a chat about your digital marketing and a friendly member of our team will be happy to assist you.
Circulate Digital holds all the SEO wisdom you will ever need to turbocharge the number of customers landing and converting on your website.
To those who made it to the very bottom… Thanks for reading!