Google Panda to Evolve into Real-Time Algorithm

Google Panda to Evolve into Real-Time Algorithm

Google Panda is evolving. The search engine giant’s Panda will soon graduate from an occasional manual update to a continuous part Google’s algorithm as reported by Matt Cutts, Google’s Distinguished Engineer. What impact will this have on websites and how should one guard against the wrath of Panda?

According to Danny Goodwin of Search Engine Watch, Matt Cutts revealed the Panda news at the SMX West 2013 Conference during the panel, The Search Police:

Rather than having some huge change that happens on a given day, you’re more likely in the future to see Panda deployed gradually as we’re rebuilding the index, so you’re less likely to see these large scale sorts of changes.”

How will the constant Panda Algorithm impact websites?

Will this be good news or bad news for website’s hit by Panda’s fury?  Goodwin states that once Panda is integrated into Google’s real-time algorithm, those sites that are hit due to “low-quality” or thin content may find:

it may be harder to detect in analytics due to this new integration with the main search algorithm, but it could mean a faster recovery.”

What does Google Panda do?

Google Panda is a major Google algorithm update that was rolled out in February of 2011.  The objective of this algorithm was to filter “poor quality content from working their way into Google’s top search results” by demoting scraper sites that copied other website content and content farms that include shall or low-quality content from Google’s search results.

What action plans can you take to avoid the Panda’s wrath?

If you have been putting off spring cleaning on your website or blog, now is the time to take it off the back burner. A comprehensive action plan to take includes:

  1. Eliminate Duplicate Content
    Duplicate content can be both intentional and unintentional.  More than likely, it is the unintentional duplicate content that goes unnoticed by the website owner.Google Webmaster Tools is an invaluable resource to help determine if there are duplicate content issues on your website.

    • Dashboard > Optimization > HTML Improvements

    Once detected, there are tools to help eliminate the duplicate content including:

    • Preferred domain – Set your preferred version of your domain name – www or non www in Google Webmaster Tools.
    • 301 Redirects – Ethically redirecting one page to another.
    • Robots.txt – Leaving the duplicate content, but blocking search engine bots from indexing the pages by adding disallow to the robots.txt. For example:
      Disallow Example
    • Meta Robots – You can block search engine spiders from indexing duplicate pages with meta robots by adding the following to the head of the page:
      Meta Robots Example
    • The Rel=Canonical Tag
      This tag goes in the head area of a page similar to the Meta Robots and allows webmaster to specify the canonical URL of a web page. For example:
      Canonical Directive Example
      WordPress is an extremely popular Content Management System (CMS) that is used for websites and blogs. Unfortunately, it can also cause duplicate content in the search engines.  Using a comprehensive tool like WordPress SEO by Yoast will help manage the duplicate content issues.
  2. Remove or Improve Low Quality Content
    First, one needs to determine if a page is low quality or shallow content. Google has a comprehensive list of 23 questions to ask about content in What counts as a high-quality site? Instead of going through each and every web page on a blog or website, you might like to evaluate the site’s Google Analytics statistics and review those pages with:

    • Pages with high bounce rate
    • Pages with low or no visits

    If you determine that a page has outdated content or is no longer relevant, you may like to consider implementing a 301 redirect to another page.  Note:  If you simply delete the page, your visitors will receive the dreaded “404” page not found.

    If the page does offer value, then you might like to improve it by revising it by adding additional information to provide unique and valuable content.  Google’s article specifically states:

    One other specific piece of guidance we’ve offered is that low-quality content on some parts of a website can impact the whole site’s rankings, and thus removing low quality pages, merging or improving the content of individual shallow pages into more useful pages, or moving low quality pages to a different domain could eventually help the rankings of your higher-quality content.

  3. Produce Quality Content
    Moving forward, it is clear that Google is looking for high quality. From the Webmaster Central Blog:

    Our site quality algorithms are aimed at helping people find “high-quality” sites by reducing the rankings of low-quality content.

    Several questions to ask yourself when creating content include:

    • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
    • Does this page or article provide relevant value?
    • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
    • For the full list, please review Google’s More guidance on building high-quality sites.

Take Away

Google Panda will be integrated into the search engine giant’s real-time algorithm and there are ethical techniques to ensure that your site is not hit.  Your best line of defense against the wrath of the Panda’s rage is to follow best practices from cleaning up duplicate and low quality content to implementing high quality content standards moving forward and following Google’s guidelines to the letter.

Fascinated with the growing potential and power of the Internet, Robin founded R & R Web Design LLC in the Chicago area in 2000. As creative director, she is passionate about helping others reach their Internet objectives through a strategic online presence with results driven custom web design, ethical SEO, and social media marketing.

24 comments on “Google Panda to Evolve into Real-Time Algorithm
  1. Tonya Sheridan says:

    Great advice and tips! That cute little Panda has sure been stirring things up lately. I’m glad to have you as a great resource of knowledge!

  2. Veronica Athanasiou says:

    Conclusion: If you cannot follow this article, find yourself a great webdesigner to manage your site 🙂 This is the feeling I get as I come across this kind of information. You make it look beautiful and fun though! It’s good to know about the difficulties we might encounter as we set up a website. Many web designers encourage people (mortals) to buy a domain and set it up themselves without warning of all these details. It is not that simple! Thank you for such insightful article Robin and for being here for all of us.

  3. Designer Rob Russo says:

    Thanks for all this information. A lot to cipher through but great to know. I might have to do a bit of website spring cleaning myself!

  4. WOW! That’s a lot of information to digest! That panda is stirring up things, isn’t it? You make it look simple. Hoping I’ll be able to do this when the time comes or hire someone. Thanks so much.

    • Alexandra, it is a lot of information to digest, isn’t it :). Yes, Google’s Panda is here to stay and it better to have him as a friend and not a foe. If you ever need any help, please let me know.

  5. Martha Giffen says:

    Wow! That’s some fantastic info! Basically, what I need to remember is always churn out quality content. I’ll leave the rest for my techie person! LOL

  6. Thank you for the information! I will be keeping it on hand as a reference in the coming months.

  7. Thanks for all of this information! There is certainly a lot to digest and keep in mind while creating content. I hope to keep the Panda a friend :).

    • Moira, it is a lot of information to digest, isn’t it? With Google being the number one search engine, it will definitely help us all if we keep Panda our friend :). Thank you for commenting!

  8. Thank you for the great advice and tips about google panda. I realize I have so much to learn!

  9. Sharon O'Day says:

    Robin, as a non-webdesigner, to have really effective SEO in place you either have to take a lot of time away from other business activities or have someone do it for you. So, while the intricacies of the Panda algorithm may be beyond me, I appreciate the general directions in your article that I CAN follow … like keeping content high and duplication out. Thanks for the heads up!

  10. Thank goodness there are experts like you to help out the technically incompetent like me! Thank you for the information!

  11. My gosh – I had no idea. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing all of this with your readers. I’ll get started ASAP!

  12. Norma Doiron says:

    Ouf!!! That Panda has to remain a friend that is for sure. Thanks for that great information, you rock! Keeping this for my records…. 🙂

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