Unless you’re involved in the industry of search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), or even website design and development, you probably have no clue what it means when someone says “Ugh, my website was just hit by Panda!”
After hearing this, you would probably start looking around for a panda bear immediately, and wondering what this bear has against the internet.
In fact, most average people aren’t even aware that Google releases algorithm updates at all — much less know what these updates are called and why they matter.
The thing is, for a business that relies heavily on content marketing and Google searches, these algorithms reallymatter — and a new one just rolled out, so here’s what you need to know:
- “Google Panda” is the algorithm update that weeds out websites with low-quality content, while boosting the page ranking of websites with good content. Panda is a series of algorithms that aims to improve results — because, considering that the U.S. alone creates an estimated 12 billion searches each month, there is a lot of competition to get to that Page 1 ranking in order to compete for sales.
- The last Panda update was on September 25, 2014, according to a report from Search Engine Land, and SEO experts noticed a slight shift in October 2014 as well. Google is very sneaky about its updates and rarely announces when they’ll happen, but Search Engine Land states that the July 2015 update is probably the 29th or 30th Panda.
- According to Google’s announcement, Panda 4.2 has been rolling out slowly over the period of a few days, and it’s affecting 2% to 3% of searches in the English language. If your website has been hurt by a Panda update, you’ll most likely notice it very quickly.
- Building up your onsite optimization after a Panda update is possible — but it’s going to take time, and high-quality content marketing is key. Business 2 Community estimates that another Panda refresh will occur in four to six weeks, so there’s no time like the present to start working on your onsite optimization.
- What exactly does “quality” mean, though? It can actually be pretty simple! Are your webpages easy to read? Only 55% of people are willing to read an article without bullet points, but 70% will read it if there are bullet points. Have you done any user testing on your site? Surprisingly, only 55% of businesses test their onsite optimization. Have you included a variety of media content? Made sure that there are no grammatical errors or spelling errors? All of this matters a lot with Panda.
So what are your thoughts about Panda 4.2? Did it help or hurt your website, and do you have any tips for other business owners about how to handle a Panda update fiasco?