There has been a great stir and lots of concerns raised by webmasters since the release of Google Panda in early 2011. Just in case this sounds a little new to you, let me give you some basics about what this thing that has generated so much interest is. By the way, the name Panda comes from the name of one of Google’s engineers, Navneet Panda, who has done quite some awesome work for the company and is the brainchild behind Google Panda.
What is Google Panda?
This is a set of new rules that was first implemented on Google’s search algorithms in Feb 2011. These changes aimed at ensuring that the high ranks in Google’s Search Result Pages are only occupied by websites that are of high quality, in respect to what users would like to see. According to Google’s official blog, all they seek is to give Googlers the most relevant results for their queries, fast and effectively. Of course, that is to a great advantage of the search engine’s users but it means webmasters and SEO have to do something they are not used to.
What Google Panda means to webmasters and SEOs
SEO experts have for a long time been doing more or less the same thing; quality keyword research, building credible content around these keywords and link building. Now, a lot more has to be done, and when I say a lot, I mean just that. I should mention that a change in the Google Algorithms is not something that just began. It has been there, but no changes have ever had an impact on 11.8% of the searches as Google panda has.
Now SEO experts will have to think and so broadly, about the general experience that their websites give. The new algorithms outline technical, quality, design and content guidelines, which if followed by webmasters, will give users some of the best websites, in terms of quality, at the top of their search result pages. These algorithms mean that building a quality website is not just about presenting good content but creating a brand that users will love and most importantly share.
With Google Panda, virtually everything about your website now seems to affect your search engine ranking. Take for example a website that has quality links. Any SEO expert will argue that such a site will get a higher ranking. While that still counts, you should not be surprised to see another site that does not have as good links being ranked higher; what users, and to be specific Google quality raters, think about the website now seems to count more than anything else.
So it is all centred on user experience?
To be specific, yes. That is why the design of the website has now come in to play a major role. That means if you have excellent content but arranged in some unfriendly blocks of text, you are likely to rank very low. And what did Google initially consider as good content – some original information without grammar or spelling mistakes, and right in context, right? Cool, you may want to maintain that but if you cannot give the content that visitors will want to come back for, and share, you may as well forget the first page of Google… and may be the second and third.