Content Building and Best Practice to Keep You from the Wrath of Google’s Panda Updates

Pandas and penguins were never such feared animals as they are now. Since Google’s algorithm updates have taken the name of these animals, they now often strike fear into the hearts and minds of many website owners and digital marketers. However, Google is really doing websites a favor because they are forcing ones who didn’t use best practices and promote the best user experience to change. Of course, businesses that were penalised won’t consider it a “favor”, but there are ways to recover and keep from getting penalised in the future.

In late September, Google rolled out its latest Panda algorithm update 4.1. It is being called a softer Panda update because, according to Pierre Far, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, the latest update is aimed at keeping the rankings of high-quality small and medium sized businesses. He posted the following message to his Google+ Page on 25 September.

Panda update rolling out

Earlier this week, we started a slow rollout of an improved Panda algorithm, and we expect to have everything done sometime next week.

Based on user (and webmaster!) feedback, we’ve been able to discover a few more signals to help Panda identify low-quality content more precisely. This results in a greater diversity of high-quality small- and medium-sized sites ranking higher, which is nice.

Depending on the locale, around 3-5% of queries are affected.


This certainly bodes well for small and medium sized businesses to see that Google is paying attention to them and to webmasters too. Maintaining your Google rankings really is about following best practices and adding fresh, relevant, and engaging content to your website on a regular basis. If you website is static, has broken links, or does not have enough content, then you can expect that Google’s algorithms will not favor your site to be shown in rankings for your keyword searches. A MarketingLand article outlines 5 of the key reasons why your site would be penalised by the Panda 4.1 algorithm:

  1. Affiliate sites without useful information that was essentially gateways to others sites.
  2. Content on the page was not the first thing a user encountered, rather it was a list of affiliate links first.
  3. Top organic listings that featured broken or blank pages upon clicking through.
  4. Keyword stuffing, doorway pages, deceptive content, security warnings, pop-up ads, forced downloads.
  5. “Content farms” like sites that had a lot of how-to type articles that were weak in depth.

If you maintain an affiliate site, it is imperative that you keep up with publishing new and informative content on your site rather than just linking to affiliate deals. Help your visitors and offer tips, details, and other relevant information. If you were wrongly using any of the shady practices such as keyword stuffing, making doorway pages, or being deceptive in any way, this should never be on the agenda for a website. Long term success comes from best practices and never from short cuts. Use your time efficiently and produce unique and informative content that is aimed at helping your website visitors and you will be just fine in Google’s book!


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