Panda is the name of one of the algorithms used by Google to decide the order in which sites will rank in their search results. Panda is specifically designed to cull sites with low quality or ‘cut and paste’ content.
It became known to many people as they suddenly saw their website rankings plummet when Google finally integrated Panda into their indexing. In latest news, it has been confirmed by Matt Cutts (the head of Google’s Webspam team) on Twitter that the infamous Panda algorithm has now again received a significant update, Panda 4.0.
Many SEOs felt that the Google algorithm was a little over zealous in dropping sites with what it deemed to have low quality content. So, for sites that have focused on making sure their content is original, high quality and relevant to their users, this new Panda 4.0 update will be a relief. Google has instead culled what it deems to be the spammy / fake content sites and is now rewarding diligent website owners who have focused on good content.
There is still a lot to learn about the impact that Panda 4.0 will have overall, however it seems safe to say that Google does intend to continue rewarding high quality content and ensuring that these sites get exposure. Also it is rumoured that this update may allow opportunities for smaller sites to fight for ranking alongside some of the long term internet behemoths.
How to judge the quality of your website content?
It’s important to analyse your website data and see how people interact with your site and for how long. If many people come to your site and leave the page quickly this is measured through your bounce rate, a bounce rate over 60% is a cause for concern, a bounce rate below 40% is exceptionally good as it shows people are finding the information they were looking for.
Another factor that Google (and therefore you) should be looking at, is the length of time people are spending on the site and the number of pages they are visiting. If you can see that a significant portion of your traffic spends time on your site exploring one or more pages, then you can feel pretty confident that you’re providing your users with the type of content they are looking for. The length of time people spend on your site overall will vary greatly depending on what your market is and the type of information that the site provides.
The Panda 4.0 update is focusing on site usability and user engagement. Taking shortcuts by buying cheap low quality content, scraping (copying) content from other sources or stuffing pages with keywords will do you more harm than good. If you put in the hard work to ensure your site is easy to use and deliver quality content that is relevant to the end user and your business, you will be rewarded.