When Google began rolling out their fourth algorithm update, Panda 4.0, on May 20th this year, it was time for webmasters to quake a little. After all, Panda is intended to seek out websites that are made up of low quality, spammy content, pushing them further down the search engine rankings. Panda’s main objective is to maintain the popularity of web pages that contain high quality, relevant content. Since Google first introduced Panda in February 2011 it has had a devastating impact on websites that did not pass its quality test.
Now, heading for almost a month since the changes, is Google achieving its goals? According to a new study by Searchmetrics, many sites have seen their position in search engine rankings decline quite dramatically since Panda 4.0 rolled out. Those that have suffered tend to be websites who do not provide fresh original content, especially those in the celebrity gossip sector who publish stories from news agencies. Price comparison sites and news and weather portals have also seen slippage in their rankings.
So, how to maintain a reasonable place in the Google search results pages? The main characteristics of a good quality site, according to Google, are trust, value, content that is written for searchers (rather than second guessing what will rank well), comprehensively covering a topic and originality.
There are hundreds of factors that Google analyses when deciding how a page will rank. These include whether the words on the site match with the keywords in the search query, the presence of images, site speed and the number of spelling mistakes.
The key fact here is to make sure your site keeps relevant, well written and factual. If you maintain quality, you’ll be ready for Panda’s next update….