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How Does Panda Affect SEO?

A new algorithm from Google can have your business singing the blues if you don’t adapt.

The Internet has been abuzz about search engine optimization (SEO) for the last several years. Google, however, threw a monkey wrench into the works with Panda, it’s new search algorithm designed to weed out bad content and emphasize quality.

Why Panda?

When the Internet at large became aware of SEO it was like Pandora opening her box. Soon everyone was trying to figure out the best way to game the system and jump to the top of Google. An entire cottage industry sprung up around jury-rigging a website to make Google think it was better than it actually was. This leads to a lot of inferior content ranking near the top of Google searches.

Enter Google’s Panda update. Google designed the update in its infrastructure to ensure users searching on a particular topic would only find quality content. This means goodbye to just slapping together a website stuffed with keywords and hello to quality content generation as part of the cost of doing business on the Internet.

How to Win at Panda

Before Panda the name of the game was learning how to game the system. After Panda, the name of the game is spending time on quality content. For businesses looking to boost their search engine rankings, it’s not that the only SEO tricks won’t do anything -- it’s that they won’t do anything without quality content to drive the site. Some ways to ensure your company’s website wins at the new game of search engine rankings include:

  • Use content generated by human beings. Panda doesn’t like content generated by computers one bit.
  • Avoid affiliate links. This is another kiss of death under the new Panda system. Not only are you filling your site with duplicate, automated content, you are also filling it with commercial content, something Panda isn’t a fan of.
  • Have as little pay-per-click ads on your site as possible. While Google AdSense tells you to stuff your website with as many PPC ads as possible, they aren’t run by Google’s anti-spam team that was in charge of Panda. See how few PPC ads you can get away with on your site and don’t use any more than that.
  • Have each page of a site address a specific topic thoroughly and don’t repeat it. Addressing areas within a broader topic is fine, but make sure your content passes one basic test -- is each article worth reading? If not, get rid of all content that isn’t.
  • Blank pages entirely devoid of content can be a big problem for Panda. Get rid of any pages on your website that merely hold places for things you might put there in the future. At the risk of sounding redundant, every page on your site should be doing something. There is not a lot of room for extra fat under Panda.
  • Duplicate templates often count as duplicate content. If you’re using a template for a number of different sites, expect Panda not to like it very much and penalize you accordingly.

Getting Your Site Up to Par

Google Panda isn’t a punishment, it’s an opportunity to get your website up to speed. SEO or no SEO, your site should include quality content that is useful to your customers, giving them a reason to come to your website. Getting your website up to par for Panda not only increases your search engine rankings, it also gives you a better website.