The Panda Effect

By now, most businesses are implementing some form of basic SEO.  Whether it’s optimizing page titles and structure, or optimizing all pictures, content and folder structure, it’s important to build your site with SEO in mind.

Most people agree that Google is the leading search engine (by a significant margin).  By receiving over 65% of all search traffic, Google has been busy at work with trying to return the most relevant results as quickly as possible.

Recently, the search engine giant has released their latest version of their algorithm, Panda.  With the release of Panda came a series of changes and new factors that are taken into account when “grading” a website. The Panda release affects nearly 12% of all search results.

Let’s take a look at some of the new factors Panda takes into account when crawling a website.

  • Focus on the basics: UI/UX It may sound scary, but Google’s web bots (the Googlebot) are becoming more human-like by “understanding” page layouts.  By taking factors such as bounce rate, time spent on each page and site, page response times and conversion rates, the Googlebot is able to determine if the page contains content that people are actually wanting to view.With this information, the Googlebot is able to make an educated guess as to how people are engaging with your website.

  • Content Quality, Including Spelling Something our content writers always ask themselves is “How original is my content?”  It’s no secret that Google has virtually limitless space to store indexes of your content.  Because of this, it’s relatively easy for Google to determine the uniqueness of your content.  Pages with trustworthy and reliable content are favored more by the Googlebots, too.It seems trivial, but you would be surprised at the number of websites that have small spelling and grammar errors.  Googlebots recognize this and actually penalize sites with errors.  By looking through a website’s PageRank, or how reputable the website is, spelling and grammar affect this significantly.

  • Ad Spacing and Layout If you’re like me, you probably despise ads.  Googlebots are no different.  If they deem your page to have too many ads, your website may become flagged as a link farm, or may be seen as a page that serves no purpose other than to advertise for other companies. Being flagged as a link farm will severely affect your rankings, as most link farm websites have no real value.

  • Cleanliness of Code Any developer will agree that clean code is much easier to manage.  By writing clean code, it’s much easier to ensure your website renders the same way in any browser, regardless if it’s Internet Explorer or Chrome.  By validating your website against the W3C, this is your best ally in making sure everyone and Googlebots can view your website properly.

The Internet changes constantly. Google recognizes the inevitable changes and continually updates their algorithms.  Panda is the latest big change and certainly won’t be the last. By keeping these tips in mind, a website can please the “Google Gods” and improve its page rank.

Filed Under:

  • seo
  • google