It’s been a long time since I have talked about Google Panda and other algorithm updates.
Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam confirmed at SMX West that Panda is now a part of Google search algorithm, and you can not push it manually.
Meaning, it will be a major problem for webmasters in the future, as it will be hard to diagnose why the site traffic is going down.
You can listen to an audio clip from the show below:
This is a quick guide on
- How to find whether or not Panda has hit your site?
- How to fix your site traffic and search engine ranking when affected by Google Panda?
Find whether Google Panda has hit your site
If your site is penalized by Panda, it could be because of many reasons, but the two most common reasons are:
- Your content is poor and of low-quality. It includes writing content which is not up to the mark, is copied from other websites or is not adding value to the search engine.
- Your website SEO is not up to the mark, and you are unknowingly creating a shallow content from your blog. Ex: Tag pages, category pages or pages with duplicate meta title. This includes SEO structure of your blog (lots of broken links, lots of re-direction).
The first step is to check whether or not Google Panda has hit you. For this, SEMRUSH, an SEM tool has added a new feature called as Position Changes that shows for how many keywords have you lost the ranking and for how many keywords have you gained the ranking.
Google Algo updates including Panda has hit your site if you are losing keyword ranking to a great extent.
You could also take help of their SE traffic tool feature to analyze a website for Panda penalty. Check out the screenshots:
Note: SEMRUSH tool will not give you accurate results. It is just a workaround.
So now, it’s a good time to start focusing on quality of the site because, in future, it will be hard to understand why Google Panda has penalized your site, and you will have a tiny room for improvement.
Start here to fix Google Panda penalty:
SEO audit of your site
Fixing content will take time. So, if you want to fix major issues quickly, I recommend you to work on site wide SEO issues first.
A good way to start is by checking what pages from your blog is indexed by Google.
For this, go to Google search and type site:domain.com and see what all pages Google have indexed from your blog. Go to the last page, and do click on
Go to the last page, and do click on show omitted search results. A quick glance will give you an idea, if low-quality pages are indexed or not.
For every result, ask a question to yourself: “Is this page useful for Google search or users.”
If tags and categories pages are indexed, make them no index. Tags and Categories are useful for content navigation, and improves user experience, but they are not useful for search engines. Check below screenshot for an example of low-quality pages:
Such links are not useful for search engines, and many a time they create duplicate meta description issue (not in the above example). So your first step should be to:
- Get rid of all such unwanted indexed pages/part of your blog. Instead of using robots.txt, use noindex meta tag to get rid of such pages or part of your blog.
Find duplicate Meta descriptions and titles:
Once you get rid of unwanted links and pages from your web index, it’s time to find content with duplicate meta title or description.
This happens due to many reasons including using a bad SEO plugin, URL parameters, and various other factors. You can use Google search console to find pages with duplicate meta description and meta titles.
Once you fixed these few SEO issues on your site, you are on the right way to fix Google penalty for your website.
In short, so far you have improved your site architecture, and improved the way Google index and crawl your sites.
Improve on the content level:
Sites which are penalized by Panda are mostly because of the low-quality content issue.
Above fixes will help you to lower down the number of low-quality content from your site. To minimize it, you need to work at the content level.
Start with On-page SEO, but avoid spamming your content by any means possible. Write naturally and keep the formatting of your article right.
For example: Don’t use too many H2 or too many H3 tags in a post. Use proper headings when necessary. When I was auditing ShoutMeLoud old posts, I realized I have much content which has 1 H1 tag and 5 H3 tags, and most of these contents are getting 0 search engine traffic.
Integrate known Google SEO ranking factors:
- Improve site loading time
- Fewer ads above the fold.
- Your design should give enjoyable user experience.
- Include Google authorship.
- Hide dates from Google search
- Include social signals by integrating your website with Facebook, Google Plus, YouTube, Twitter and other web.20 properties.
- Add Social bookmarking buttons to encourage users to share your article. Also, promote old posts to improve social signals.
Article length also impacts search engine ranking, and adding rich content like slides, videos further helps in improving the quality of your content.
After the latest Panda updates, niche sites are ranking way higher than multi-niche sites. So, if you are writing on multiple topics on your blog, I would recommend you to focus on one niche.
This will help you to create an authority in a niche; else you will always be outranked by a niche authoritative website.
These are a few suggestions which I suggest if your website is penalized by Google Panda algo. There are much more things to do to get completely out of Panda, but the above steps will help you to get started. Here are few articles from ShoutMeLoud archive to help you learn further:
- How to recover from Google Panda Effect
- How to write content after Google Panda that everyone will love
Do let me know what other factors do you think leads to Panda penalty for a website? If you find this article useful, do consider sharing it on LinkedIn and Facebook.