How to ensure Google Panda doesn’t affect your content strategy

At the start of 2011 the Google Panda search-ranking algorithm was released, which was designed to target websites with poor quality, copied, spun or a substantial lack of content. If a website was caught out by the ‘Panda update’ it would usually mean a substantial loss on rankings, making it much harder for that website to gain any lost ground and recover from.

Keep it unique
Copying or spinning any kind of content is the obvious no no here, so spend the time researching & creating your content to the best of your abilities. The algorithm looks for not only copied content but an absence & presence of content. If your site offers very little content on each page then that’s enough for it to get Panda’s attention and down the rankings you may go.

Although there are no guaranteed ways to check the quality of your content, the handy tool that Copyscape offers is about as close to guaranteed as you will get. This simple & easy tool will check the URL you provide it with (usually the page you’ve just created content for) and it will check it against other URL’s online giving you a score that will tell you how unique your content actually is. If you’ve ‘accidentally’ typed out a paragraph that’s very similar to one you’ve just read for research purposes, or you have intentionally cut & past a section from elsewhere online, this will pick it up & tell you how naughty you’ve been. If you do get caught out, even if you’ve made a genuine error and made your text too similar, then you will know you will have to change it. The best thing to do is to start over and try writing as much as you can off the top of your head and only read other articles when absolutely necessary. Skipping the checks can cost you dearly, so we recommend that you spend time.

Use Canonical Tags
If your website contains pages which are unnervingly similar then you can use a Canonical Tag to tell search engines which page houses the original content & the one you would prefer to be crawled. Unfortunately this won’t let you off the hook completely, so only do it as a last resort if you are unable to use a 301 redirect, as Google’s spiders may ignore it, which could cause you future issues.

The positives of Panda
But on the plus side, the update means bad news for the poor quality websites that would either steal content or simply spam any old thing that wasn’t relevant. This is another step closer to clearing the search results of ‘spam’ websites making the overall browsing experience for the average user much more informative & productive when searching for a certain subject. This has helped many website owners understand that the whole point of the internet is to bring unique and quality information to those who seek it, not just to copy what’s already there in hope of making some quick cash. We hope that Panda will continue to reward those who work hard on creating unique content for their website and punish those who still want to spin and spam duplicate content around the web.

Author Gyles Seward

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