Will your website ranking drop like a stone? – Beware Google’s “Panda” update

Some people ask me “why is it necessary to keep working on improving a website’s ranking?  Why can’t you do some work and then leave it for a year or two?”  There are several reasons why you can’t “set and forget”, but one of them is because Google keeps changing things!

Google’s “Panda” or “Farmer” update caused a significant ranking drop for many websites in the US recently. What can you do if it hits your website traffic badly?

The update is not just aimed at content farm sites

Google’s new Panda algorithm is aimed at low quality websites. Google defines a low quality website as one where:

  • There is not enough content to be useful
  • Content that doesn’t match the search terms for which the page ranks well
  • The content has been copied from other websites
  • The content is not useful

Google Panda ranking drop

With Google’s latest update, it helps if your content is useful to your website visitors.  I won’t go into how they might measure that here, but trust me, they have ways…

Even high quality pages can be affected

The low quality content on part of a website can then impact the rankings of the entire website:

Google says, “It’s important for webmasters to know that low quality content on part of a site can impact a site’s ranking as a whole.

For this reason, if you believe you’ve been impacted by this change you should evaluate all the content on your site and do your best to improve the overall quality of the pages on your domain.

Removing low quality pages or moving them to a different domain could help your rankings for the higher quality content.”

Read about some website owner’s experiences at the hands of Panda.

What can do to make sure that Google does not penalise your site?

There are several things that you can do to achieve this:

  • Improve the poor quality pages on your website. Ask yourself: is the page useful to my website visitors? If not, improve the content of the page to make it more useful.
  • Check the ads/content ratio on your web pages. If a web page mainly consists of ads then it is likely that Google considers it low quality.
  • Don’t try to cheat Google with dodgy search engine optimisation methods. Focus on optimisation methods that are beneficial to website visitors and Google.

Search engine optimisation is not about getting high rankings for every possible keyword. It is about getting high rankings for the right keywords and about meeting the expectations of the website visitors.

If your site has or does go on to see a significant drop in Google traffic, let me know and I will see where I can help.

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Karen King
I have been working in website promotion for the last 15 years and am now a Website Marketer at web2market. I am a qualified Google Adwords professional and can help advise on getting the most out of your digital campaigns. My experience includes both sponsored and unsponsored website marketing, Google Maps and link building.