Google Panda 4.1 was not that long ago and now you may have heard, Panda 4.2 was released within the last week. You can read 100 different articles about the Panda refresh, but if you aren't in the industry they'll bore you before you can actually finish.
My goal is to explain how the refresh will update your business' website in the simplest way possible.
What is Google Panda?
Google Panda 4.2 is a refresh to the algorithm, or how Google is ranking websites in search results. Panda's focus is quality. Showing lower quality or "thin" websites less, while higher quality sites will be ranked higher.
Will Panda Impact Your Website Traffic?
It certainly can impact your website traffic dramatically either positively or negatively...or it might not impact you at all. Overall this refresh will affect 2-3% of all search queries and is rolled out over an extended period of time, not instantly.
If your website traffic is impacted, you may already see that reflected in your Google Analytics, but keep an eye out for the next few weeks to be sure.
What Do You Do If Your Website Traffic Declined Due to Panda?
As previously mentioned, Panda focuses on quality. Think user experience here.
- Is your website content too short, inaccurate or difficult to read? Fix it.
- Have you stuffed too many keywords in your content in hopes of ranking? Fix it.
- Do you have multiple websites with the same content even if it wasn't done on purpose? See if you can get to your site with a www and without a www...even this can be an issue.
- Have you written your content for readers or search engines? Fix it.
- Does your site throw back errors such missing page (404) or other types of errors? Fix them.
- Is your site full of ads? Reduce them.
- Does your website load slowly? Take steps to improve.
Remember, think user experience. Google is getting smarter and can tell (somewhat) if a user will have a good experience or not. You should know what type of user experience your website provides.
If you saw a positive impact in your website traffic, great! Just see the list above and double check those items don't apply to you. Just because you weren't impacted this time it doesn't mean you won't be impacted next time.
You Fixed Things...When Will You Bounce Back?
Unfortunately you can't just tell Google you fixed them and expect to regain visibility and traffic. You'll have to wait for the next Panda refresh which could be next week, next month, next year...nobody knows.
Is Google Panda Worth the Hype?
Yes. You'll obviously care more if you website traffic drops significantly. If you don't have a clue about your website metrics, take notice. You may be impacted by the refresh and not even know it.