With the Pandas on the prowl how are you doing?

Whenever the Pandas come out for a prowl it means something is about to change… good, bad, or ugly, who knows?

Why is Panda the least favorite and yet the most discussed topic with SEOs?

Here is why:-

Google has been and is by far the most popular search engine with the majority of the searches (over 60%) happening through Google. It was around 2011 that Google decided to do some major cleaning up because Google’s index was inundated with sites and a  percentage of such sites were using spamming techniques to rank higher on Google. A de-cluttering and cleaning operation was required urgently and badly. Operation Panda was launched in 2011 with Google deciding to do something, something more drastic than its usual algorithm updates, about the quality of search results.

However after the first Panda update there were a lot of protests because many of the original sites with original content were ranking below the sites that had copied their content! Overtime Google has updated the Panda algorithm and it seems to be more equipped in targeting and focusing on websites with thin and duplicate content. However, it does cause a lot of upsets and stress when Panda updates happen because no matter how perfect or near perfect an algorithm is, there are some percentage of good content sites that get affected by such updates.

Here is a list of questions from Google on what should be considered as high quality websites.This was provided to help webmasters understand, deal with the Panda attack, and hopefully enable them to overcome any future Panda attacks:

The truth is Google keeps optimizing its results quite often. You may not see a drastic change in a day but you will see changes over a month or so and bigger changes when the Pandas and penguins decide to descend upon you!

How come we don’t talk about Yahoo algorithm changes?

Most webmasters get between 70- 80% of their organic traffic from Google and the remaining from the other search engines. Therefore their main source of traffic is Google and any changes in the Google index upsets things for most webmasters.

Yahoo updates do affect traffic somewhat but you won’t notice the change instantly, it happens slowly over a period of time. The common thing between both Google and Yahoo! is that none of them like sites that spam and therefore, sooner or later, if a website employs spamming tactics, they will get thrown out of the index. Though I know some of them are still out there….

For now, if you have been affected by the Panda update, don’t worry, go over the points mentioned in the link above and start working on each and every point. And if your website is in alignment with the good quality definition, just wait and watch. There will be more updates, just keep doing the good stuff that you are doing, and be patient. If the downward trend continues, you may want to do the following:

1. Go over the incoming links to your site so that you know who is linking to you, you will need a Google webmaster account for this, if you do not have it yet, it is a must have and it is free.

2. Audit your site for errors in html, duplicate content, and over optimization.

3. You may also want to go over to the Google webmaster forum to seek help.

Have a great weekend. And may the Pandas and the Penguins be good to you!