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Have We Been Wrong about Panda All Along?

Posted by Avasoft Team | Posted in Content Writing | Posted on 19-11-2015

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SEO was built on short spammy articles stuffed with keywords back in the day. Now everyone knows that short articles of poor quality and articles with duplicate content will crush a website. But will they actually? While every SEO guru out there acts sure that they know quality writing matters, nothing is certain in the land of search engine optimization and the Panda update isn’t just about short articles or duplicate content. There’s a lot more that you have to understand.

Duplicate Content: It’s on Everyone’s Mind

The Moz Q&A has more than 1800 pages talking about duplicate content, so it’s pretty clear that it’s an issue webmasters all over the world are worried about. At a recent Google hangout John Mueller admitted that most websites have duplicate content in one form or another, and he stated that duplicate content doesn’t really have a negative impact on the rankings of the site. Rather, Google simply selects the page with the best content, even if it’s one of seven duplicates.

While duplicate content is an issue, it’s not nearly the massive problem that some website owners make it out to be. I’m not going to tell you how to take care of your duplicate content problems, because there is a pretty comprehensive Google guide on the matter here.

It’s important to try and make all of your content unique, but you shouldn’t stress about having more than one of the same description around your website, or about advertising a product in multiple locations. You’re going to end up with some duplicate content no matter how hard you try, but you should be alright as long as you aren’t blatantly copying the work of other people and passing it off as your own.

Thin Content Shouldn’t Be Removed According to Google

Many gurus suggest that you should take down thin content from your site, or simply add additional words and ideas to those articles to make them longer and more valuable. According to Gary Illyes from Google, you really shouldn’t take thin content down from your site, but instead focus on adding more quality content. In other words, having the thin content isn’t really going to hurt you, it’s just not going to help you that much either. You need the quality content to do well in search, but you can save yourself the time and trouble of removing thin content, because it does offer some value as well.

The more important question to ask yourself when looking at pages on your site is will searchers be happy with the content you’ve presented them with? If you look at a page and you feel like it completely covers the topic that you’re discussing, there isn’t a reason to consider taking the page down or changing it. If you have a lot of pages that barely cover a topic, or don’t cover a large portion of the topic you should consider removing them or improving on them. Taking the time to improve your pages will do the most for your rankings, but taking out very poor pages could help you avoid some Google Panda penalties. If you end up with a very high bounce rate from certain pages, they are the ones that will likely hurt your rankings the most.

Panda is About Quality Pure and Simple

For years Google has been trying to figure out ways to improve search results, and it seems like Panda was finally the change that made all the difference. I think that Panda is about rooting out those top sites around the Internet and feeding more traffic to them.

Many of the sites that were hit by Panda didn’t just suffer from duplicate content or thin content. They lacked what customers were looking for. Some have overly complicated navigation, others have poor shopping carts and some sites simply don’t offer as much helpful information as their competitors.

To figure out how to improve your website for Panda, you should really be figuring out how to make your website more appealing to people. Have experts and non-experts audit your site. Have them look around at yours and several competitors without telling whos site is whos if they don’t already know. Then have them pick their favorite and least favorite and list of reasons why.

It’s this type of problem solving and critical thinking that will sites hit by Panda recover. It’s likely that just adding content or fixing duplication issues isn’t enough to get a website out of a Panda rut. It’s just not that simple. Figuring out how to have all the marks of a leading business is really the only way to get yourself out, and that’s not easy.

An industry leading website:

  • gets a higher click through rate than competitors
  • has a lower bounce rate overall
  • is shared more often on social media
  • engages with users more
  • answers questions more completely

It’s these types of milestones that you want to shoot for if you’re trying to recover your website. Even if you aren’t trying to recover you should get information about your competitors and try to figure out ways to make your website better than theirs. Even if all the work doesn’t improve your rankings in the short term it will leave you with a higher quality website that brings added benefits to you over the long haul.

While there is still no definite criteria for the Panda update, and Google is still rolling out new updates to the algorithm all the time, it looks like some serious website overhauls are what it’s going to take to bring those rankings back up. Stop focusing on minor details like thin content or duplicate content and focus on the big picture. Is your website the best in your niche, or do you have some work to do?

Avasoft Solutions offers web design, search engine optimization, social media optimization, and pay per click advertising. Contact us today!

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