Gary Illyes announced at the SMX Advanced in Seattle that there will be a Panda update in the next couple of weeks.
What is Panda Update?
Google Panda was first rolled out in February 2011 and has created some multiple impacts on the search results due to the infamous ranking algorithm. The initial concept was to discover websites with low-quality content. The consequence was low rankings or even penalties. On the other hand, those websites with high-quality content appear higher in the serps. The outcome was that a lot of inferior websites lost all their traffic and visibility. During the first two years there were Panda updates once a month. But, started in March 2013 with the algorithmic changes to Panda, the updates were more continuous and less apparent.
Recent announcement of Gary Illyes
We managed to get a closer insight to the most recent update. Gary Illyes announced at SMX on behalf of Google, that there will be a Panda update coming in the next few weeks. While we would be normally expecting an algorithmic change, in this case he refers it to being a “data refresh”. Meaning that, websites that have been suffering from Panda, may see a light at the end of tunnel and recover, if they were optimised properly. “May” is important here, as the data refresh may not recover some sites at all and furthermore, many other sites, which are recently indexed may be hurt.
Illyes explained also, that Google want to keep this data fresh and therefore plan to update the algorithm as frequently as possible.
What does it mean for rankings?
Apart from what he explained at the SMX, we have no indication of the exact date of this refresh. However, we will provide any further details and what the impact resulted to in terms of page rankings. Whether the data refresh is coming or not, it is still important to keep an eye on your content being relevant and unique in order to rank on the first page. Below we have compiled a checklist for you ticking off the key ranking factors for good content:
#1 Use Relevant Content
The content you want to rank for has to be relevant for what your user wants to read. So try to provide the best information on a certain topic and focus on providing great content with help of rich media.
#2 Identify Duplicate Content
All content on your website needs to be unique, so you don’t run the risk of duplicate content. Identify pages which contents identical text and write unique content. You can analyze duplicates with many tools, for example see below:
Img: Locate where the duplicate content is so you can easily make the changes.
#3 Search for Thin Content
The content needs to be informative for the reader, so better avoid doorway pages, automatically generated content and scraped content from other sources. Also sites with >300 Links might be a problem.
#4 Remove Ads above the Fold
Avoid being top heavy with Ads above the fold as you might rank lower or even be penalized for this. Make sure your site has relevant content for the reader above the fold to avoid any unwanted circumstances.
#5 Optimize your content for TF*IDF
Use TF*IDF for keyword inspiration to find the most relevant keywords to use in the content you are trying to rank for. Don’t be caught out for keyword stuffing, but still value the importance of the keywords you’re trying to rank for.
If you monitor your websites regularly for “bad” content, you can keep your cool when the next Panda Update takes effect as you will most likely be safe from any negativity. But nevertheless keep on optimizing!