What Is Panda 4.0?
Google rolled out its latest attack on content spam in May with the introduction of Panda 4.0. Six week later and it’s clear the update was a significant one – not least for a number of news and press release sites. PR Newswire has made a lot of the Panda headlines lately, but the update hasn’t just effected news distributors.
If you’re seeing less traffic from Google searches since May 17 then you have probably been hit by Panda 4.0. And even if you haven’t, the search engine’s war on low-quality content means you should take another look at your SEO strategy.
Unlike other Google algorithms, Panda specifically targets poor content and each update raises the bar for what passes the search engine’s quality test. Even if your content strategy has worked until now, future updates could put you under the spotlight so it’s worth having a rethink.
Time to Panda-proof your content
To stay safe from Google updates you have to go back to the basics and get the essentials right. For Panda this means defining a specific target audience and creating content that genuinely has something to offer. Forget all about search ranking and traffic for a moment and ask yourself what can you give your audience that nobody else can.
You can’t research enough in the pursuit of quality content so find out everything possible about your audience and your competitors. Pitch yourself against the best in your industry and discover what your audience loves about them – then figure out what they don’t like so much and find a way to offer something unique.
This is the kind of content people are looking for when they type in a search query and Google wants to deliver.
What if I’ve already been hit by Panda 4.0?
If you have already been hit by Panda 4.0 or a previous version then you need to take action now. Audit your site to track down low quality content and replace it as soon as possible – the faster you move, the quicker you can recover.
Panda rolls out once a month, so this gives you a window to make as many improvements as possible to heal your search visibility. Keep the quality content coming, optimise it for search engines and share it on social media to spread the word. You won’t see results over night, but this is your long-term game plan for a sustainable SEO strategy.
Pay particular attention to your homepage and make sure it doesn’t rank for too many keywords. Google wants to match content to specific search queries and now that you have a regular stream of quality content you can play ball. Spread your keywords throughout your website with targeted content for specific search queries – this way you keep Google happy and your content more relevant.
Finally, embrace the Panda
Whatever you think of Google and its algorithms, the principle of fighting content spam is perfectly sound. Clean up your SEO strategy now and you will start to see why Panda and other updates might not be such a bad thing – especially when your competitors get slapped for not playing by the rules.