Pandas may be cute, but don’t forget they have claws. Many brands have experienced a drop in search rankings for webpages with little or duplicate written content now that Google’s Panda 4.1 search updates have taken full effect. This recent update focuses heavily on written content and can be difficult to identify why you’ve been devalued in search results. Once penalized by Google, it can be challenging to overcome and develop strong rankings again. We have provided some tips to increase the exposure of your less visible pages and reclaim your search rankings.
Identify Whether or Not You Have Been Attacked By Panda
Panda updates cause webpage rankings to drop primarily because of duplicate, light, or inferior content. It is not always easy to recognize if your brand has been hit or how your content is rated, but analyzing data can help determine your current standings. Here’s what to look for when monitoring the effects of Panda against your brand.
- Watch for sudden drops in organic traffic from Google over the past 6 months
- Exclude all other sources such as paid, direct, and referral to isolate issues in organic search traffic
- Expect regular drops in traffic for weekend and seasonal traffic
- Locate organic traffic by clicking the following path as seen below
(Acquisition -> Channels -> Organic Search -> Primary Dimension -> Source -> Google)
- Look for duplicate pages in the HTML improvements tab
- Some duplicate content is fine, but large numbers will often indicate a problem
Google Indexed Pages
- See how many pages Google indexes for your site
- Type “Site:YOURWEBSITEURL.com” into the search window and count the results as seen below
- A high number of pages can imply duplicate or lower quality content (depending on your industry)
Remove Duplicate And Light Content
Two major factors the Google Panda 4.1 update looks for are duplicate and light content. Pages on your site with minimal written content should be removed, combined with other pages, or expanded to include new, quality content. Google defines duplicate content as on-site duplicate, near duplicate, and cross-domain duplicate. This means content can be identified as duplicate when found on your site or on other sites around the web.
For retailers, a frequent problem is product pages with similar descriptions. Google recommends consolidating, removing, or redirecting pages to eliminate redundant copy writing. Additionally, brands can update their robots.txt files to remove pages from search engine crawls. This update urges brands to produce smaller sites with fewer pages of quality, condensed, and unique content.
Ensure Content Is Quality
Another less defined characteristic Google looks for is quality content. This can be difficult to identify, as it’s a bit more touch and feel. The best way to identify content that Google may not view as “quality” is to examine the lowest performing pages on Google Analytics. Remove any content that may not add value to readers or tries to overuse keywords to rank higher in search results.
Produce New Content
When developing a content plan in this new Panda 4.1 world, keep your pages filled with unique and specialized written content. Develop strong goals for your web content and offer direction for your content producers. Focus on offering more value in one place by offering education alongside your sales copy. Offer users an opportunity to interact through reviews, various content mediums, and integrated sharing features. Monitor user engagement to ensure content is valuable and engaging.
Auditing the effects of Google’s Panda 4.1 update takes a significant amount of resources to ensure all issues hindering search results have been resolved; however, it is a necessary task to increase the visibility of your digital assets. Keep in mind that results will not be immediate and focus on developing unique and quality content to remain dominant in search.
ZOG Digital can help your brand overcome dwindling search rankings with comprehensive content audits and effective content marketing plans. Contact us to discuss your content marketing goals.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: How To Increase Search Rankings After Google’s Panda 4.1 Update
More Digital & Social articles from Business 2 Community: