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What is Google Panda and what do you need to know?

What is Google Panda? All Things Code's latest blog hopes to answer all your SEO for Panda questions
Google’s Panda is anything but cute and cuddly

Google is a huge website monster, and the food for this beast is website data and information. And while the names of these monsters might create cuddly, adorable, images in your head.

‘Panda? Awww.’

I’m afraid that you’d be rather wrong. These algorithms focus on specific areas of interest to the search engine and you’ll need to know all about them.

Google Panda

Google Panda was released early 2011 and was focused primarily on content; thin content, and advert heavy content. The better the content, the higher up the rankings you were going to be placed.

Meaning that age old adage ‘Content is King’ means a lot more to Panda than the amount of backlinks you have – if your content was terrible to the end user, then you’d get demoted on the search rankings.

The aim of the game is to make your content interesting to the end users. That’s all it’s about – Google wants to make the internet, and by extension your website, interesting; more intuitive, nicer.

In order to ensure that your website isn’t affected by Panda, all you need to do is ask yourself some very important questions:

Unique content is what it’s all about

Unique content is the be all and end all when it comes to website content; it’s all about whether what you’re saying is unique. That doesn’t mean find something that nobody is talking about – because chances are it’s somewhere on the internet – but moreover, is your content uniquely written?

Namely: is it plagiarised?

Duplicate content, no matter where it’s from on the internet, will harm your ranking success – if all your content is the same as other websites, you’re in for a bad time.

BUT

If it’s fresh ideas, a new take, or just completely re-written to fit your own tone of voice, hey-presto it’s unique.

You just need to ensure that it meets the other three criteria:

Your website is for your audience

Google wants to make the internet interesting, more intuitive, nicer.

This seems like a bit of a no-brainer, but your website should be designed, and written, for your audience – not for Google.

Gone are the days of keyword stuffing, and creating terrible content just so your business can rank higher on search engines; you need to think about what your user wants to see – are they coming to you for an answer to a question?

What content is ‘bad’?

Aside from content that answer ‘no’ from the questions above there are two types of content that can be seen to be ‘bad content’ from Panda’s perspective:

What is Thin Content?

Thin content is content that doesn’t give anything to the reader, typically these are the web pages with low amounts of text – because if you haven’t written much content, it likely doesn’t have much value.

Typically, a good amount of content would be around 300 words – this number is somewhat arbitrary, because you shouldn’t push to reach this; the algorithms are changing to value your content, however this is a good general rule.

Duplicate Content

This one is fairly self-explanatory: if you have duplicate content (without a rel=”canonical” tag) you’re likely to get penalised for this and see yourself lower in the rankings – this is worse when you have lots of duplicate content.

There are other algorithms you should know about before you go any further on your SEO journey (and some extras that would be great to know). The next step will be our Google Penguin: what you need to know blog, which will be here on Friday.

If you’re looking for people to help you with your SEO: All Things Code can help. We’re a local digital agency based in Northampton – get in touch and we can help you with your digital journey.

Steve Archer

Head of SEO & Content