Panda 4.1 Update – Reloaded

“Reloaded, what is she talking about, it’s a new update?!” you are thinking. Well, I am sorry to disappoint. Although, people put numbers against what the update is, it is nothing new. It isn’t a brand new update, or has any new sneaky bits added to it. It is mainly Google becoming more sophisticated in enforcing the, rather well-established, rules of Panda (or any of their other updates) across the many corners of the web.

panda 4.1

So, if Panda has affected you and you have seen your rankings drop like hot potatoes, most probably it is a historic issue and you have been naughty for a while – and Google has found a way to track you down.

Come on and delve with me into the fascinating world of Google Panda…

Panda Not a One Hit Wonder

Panda 4.1 is not a one hit wonder. It did not suddenly appear, create damage and disappear again. This time Google announced that it is a slow roll-out. So, some sites have been seeing effects well after the update was announced, sparking suspicions that Google released Panda with another sneaky follow-on update. But that was not the case. Panda, most probably, is still rolling out, and we won’t be able to gauge the amount of damage it left behind for days or weeks to come.

I have been reading loads of articles online entitled “have you been hit by Panda?”. But are we still in a position to use the word “hit”? For me the word almost sets a foundation that we weren’t expecting an update, that it came out of the blue, and we did not know how to prevent the damage.

Google Web Spam rules are pretty clear. Websites and Digital Marketers alike know well that original, useful, quality content is the key to surviving Panda. I don’t mind how many more numbers they will put after the word “Panda” the core factors will stay most probably the same. However, we still all have horror and shock written all-over our faces.

So, once it has stopped rolling out 3-5% of English queries will have been affected – targeting as usual low quality and non-original content.

Are There Winners?

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One fact is clear Panda’s look cute and laid back but in this digital world they are pretty vicious creatures. Did your rankings go up? Are you suddenly getting more traffic? Panda must have given you a boost because you were good! Nope, Panda does not reward you per se. You are just reaping the benefit of some of your competitors (that clearly haven’t been good) dropping off their rankings. I’m sorry to tell you, Panda did not reward you it just simply ignored you.

Nevertheless, we can talk about losers. Some of the big losers during this Panda update are the following:

  • Game sites
  • Lyrics sites
  • Medical Portals
  • Plus there seems to be a slight indication that affiliate marketers could have been hit as well

In some way the list is not a big shocker either, although these sites will have a lot of content, it is thinly spread across a big volume of pages and in some cases duplicated or not as relevant.

How To Get Off Google’s Naughty List

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Image by Edward Simpson

If you are waiting for an enlightening moment that “AAAAHAAA” moment, I am sorry to disappoint. The factors that Google will consider have stayed pretty much the same. So, if you have been affected by Panda you might want to start rectifying the following 3 points, if you haven’t been affected keep up the good work (and keep the list as a reminder):

1. C-O-N-T-E-N-T

Yes, content is and will stay “the” major factor. But as Google has clearly shown not just any type of content BUT:

  • Original
  • Relevant
  • Created by a real person
  • With real knowledge
  • That not just links internally to your pages, but
  • Actually links out to authoritative sites, this will
  • Make your content more “trustworthy” (it is almost like back at school or uni, no plagiarism – reference your work with quality sources)

2. Social Media

Social is a growing factor for the authority of your site and especially content on your site. So, simply explained, the more social shares, likes etc your content has the more relevant and trustworthy it becomes. Social Media is almost a digital word of mouth, a recommendation backing up your claims.

3. Relevancy

Again we all know that Google is working hard to show “the most relevant” results to their users. Further, since the Hummingbird Update, we all know that questions, phrases and more have become increasingly important. Well, this is a good thing – trust me. You need to sit down and understand who you want to target, who is your audience, who do you want to convince to visit your website. You cannot be everything to everyone – you would spread yourself and your content too thinly. Be an expert in your industry/business’s expertise. This will allow you to attract quality over quantity to your site – and you definitely want quality. It might be nice seeing your traffic numbers increase – they mean nothing if they do not engage in some way with your site i.e. buy, request info, download or contact you.

That’s pretty much it. Stick to these rules and if you now think that some of your pages might be treading on thin ice get them updated, add more content, improve the content – show Google you care. To be honest you wouldn’t want to read last year’s newspaper over and over again- so keep your site fresh and up-to-date. No matter the industry!

5 Facts You Did Not Know About Pandas…

If you thought you know everything about these cuddly bears, well think again, here are some facts:

panda
Image by Philippa Willitts
  1. Pandas climb as high as 4000 meters to feed on Bamboo – Determined!
  2. Then they roll down the hill breaking larger strands – leaving bamboo destruction behind…
  3. Their constant snacking on bamboo is due to it not being nutritious in any way – so they need to get through 20kgs a day – which means no hibernating in winter – Relentless (and maybe a little clueless)!
  4. Due to the huge amounts of Bamboo consumed by Pandas, they defecate up to 40 times a day – So many things to say … I won’t
  5. Chinese philosophers believe the Panda represents Yin and Yang, black and white, and how it can bring peace and harmony when balanced

Just to end it on a high note…we might soon be facing an angry waddling “Penguin”, so whilst re-writing and adding all that new content we discussed – I’d just recommend you have a quick look at your link-profile as well. Breaking the rules is a quick and easy – recovering your reputation after being caught is a long process.

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