Thursday, March 31, 2011

What is Google Panda?

Google’s new “Panda,” has sent shock waves through the Internet. Many sites lost their positions in the SERPs (Search Engine Ranking Positions), while others were apparently unaffected. How is it possible for you to maintain or regain your standing?

Before you can figure out what you need to change, it’s probably worth looking at what got devalued. There seems to be an emerging consensus. If a site’s pages are thin on content, or contain content that has been copied from elsewhere, chances are they lost some Google love. So what is Google looking to reward?

Here is a list of defining characteristics for “useful” content. These include the ability to
  •  pass a human inspection.
  •  not being a copy of another document.
  •  ad-heavy.
  •  being well-linked externally.
  •  being created by a brand with a distribution channel that goes beyond the search engines.
  •  not having “a 100% bounce rate followed by a click on a different search result for that same search query.
Nevertheless, there are certain things you can do if the Panda took a swipe at your rankings. A telling quote from Google: “In addition, 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…Removing low quality pages or moving them to a different domain could help your rankings for the higher quality content.”

The message for real estate agents is to be aware of congruence. If your viewer got to your website by searching for “Sacramento homes for sale” and your content is all about yourself, not only will you be ranked low, but your content if it is seen will be frustrating to your viewers as it doesn’t meet their request about “Sacramento homes for sale”.

The third thing you can do to help boost your website, according to is get involved in social media. This way, you’re interacting with customers and potential customers outside of search. That’s a good idea regardless of whether your rankings fell with the Panda update. With Facebook alone accounting for one out of every ten page views in the US, social networking and social media is one part of the Internet that is here to stay.

In summary, Google is now actually reading your content and asking itself “Is this site congruent”? You can answer this for yourself by looking at your domain name, website title and content. Simply said, if your keyword phrases are in each area, you’ll be deemed to be congruent. If not, you’ll be deemed to be incongruent and will pay the price with lower rankings.


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