October 15, 2014

The Google Panda Algorithm first hit webmasters several years ago, but recently the chatter has increased due to Google making tweaks to the Panda algorithm. For those of you new to SEO, the Google Panda algorithm might be a big confusing mess. But don’t worry, it really isn’t that hard to understand. This article will go over a full explanation of what the Google Panda algorithm is and what you need to be aware of.

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First Things First, What Is An “Algorithm”?

I’ll let you look up the exact definition of “algorithm”. For the purposes of this article, I will simply describe what an algorithm is in Google’s eyes. The Google algorithm is a series of metrics to determine if a website is high quality or not. There are over 250 different factors that make up the Google algorithm and nobody knows what these exact metrics are. The Google Panda algorithm, therefore, is just one small piece of the overall algorithm at Google.

Here’s an example… Google can track user behavior on websites. Say, for instance, 100 people find your competitors website, but 75 of them only view one page before hitting the back button and returning to the search results. This means, your competitor has a “bounce rate” of 75%. Now, let’s say 100 people find your site, but only 30 of them return to the search results after visiting one page. That means, you have a bounce rate of just 30%. In general, Google will view your site as higher quality than your competitors based on your bounce rate and will possibly rank your site higher in search results because of that.

The “bounce rate” on your site is just one factor of many, so having a low bounce rate doesn’t automatically mean you will rank highly. But if you get all of the “ingredients” correct on your site, chance are you’ll do pretty well for yourself.

What Is The Google Panda Algorithm

The Google Panda algorithm is designed to identify websites with a lot of advertising, spam, and affiliate links. Having advertising on your site is no problem at all and I practice what I preach. All of my sites use different forms of advertising including display ads, affiliate ads, and private ads. What Google wants to avoid is ranking pages on websites that have an excessive amount of ads or advertisements that are misleading (they look like regular site content but are really just affiliate links / advertisements). But, “excessive” advertising is a pretty subjective opinion, don’t you think?

What Does The Google Panda Algorithm Consider “Excessive” Advertising?

For starters, a page with less than 300 words of content but a bunch of advertisements will likely not rank well in Google because this is something the Google Panda algorithm looks for. When there is a page with lots of ads and very little content, Google calls this a “thin content page”. Pages like that can be very damaging.

Another thing the Google Panda algorithm looks at is how many advertisements are “above the fold.” If people have to scroll down past a bunch of advertisements before reaching any real content on your page, the Google Panda algorithm will ding you for this. Ironically, the Google Advertising network recommends you place ads above the fold for increased revenue. You can understand how this provides some confusion for website owners.

The main thing is to make sure you do things in moderation. One or two ads above the fold aren’t going to kill you and either are a few articles with shorter content. However, it is good practice to ensure that the visitors to your site have an awesome experience. Would you have a good experience on a site with ads plastered everywhere?

Google Panda Hates Low Quality Or Duplicate Content

Another area the Google Panda algorithm takes into consideration is the quality of your content. Google isn’t looking to penalize anyone for a few misspelled words or a little content that has been reused on several pages (like product descriptions, etc.). However, if you are blatantly stealing content form others are posting it on your site, Google Panda will hammer you. In addition, if you are using computer generated content or spun content, the Google Panda algorithm will definitely come after you.

The Google Panda Algorithm Is All About “On-Page” Factors

There are 2 different types of SEO – there is on page SEO and off page SEO. The Google Panda algorithm is all about on page SEO (the Google Penguin algorithm update is all about off page SEO). So, to get under the good graces of the Google Panda algorithm, you must ensure your website is running and functioning well. In addition to what has already been listed, things like site speed, security, user metrics, and quality of content play a huge roll in how well you will rank. There is no trick here and you don’t need to be an expert computer programmer to be on the Panda’s good site – you just need to create a useful site that will truly help others and not spam everybody. If this is accomplished, you will never have to worry about the Google Panda algorithm.

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