The Google Panda Update has been introduced to combat the growing number of content farms that were gaining top listings with low-quality or stolen content. It will also be targeting sites with "thin content", that is sites that are thin on original content and most of the site content is remarketed text, branding, advertisements and links. Since these sites are not at all helpful to Google users, they are trying to promote the best search experience possible by ensuring only the best content is shown in the results.
Websites with a high ratio of adverts "above the fold" (the point at which the user has to scroll) are going to be another target for Panda. If a surfer arrives on a web page and has to scroll down to the content, there is a high probability that the site may be demoted by the new algorithm.
Another key target for the Panda Update is paid links - that's where a webmaster pays other sites to link to them. This has long been thought of as a "black hat" SEO tactic which rewards the rich, not the original content producers.
Google will also be looking at the quality of websites and the number of 404 errors, blank pages, redirects and internally duplicated content. These should all be dealt with by your own existing site maintenance policy, but now it will be more important than ever to pick up on these items.
Tips for surviving the update:
- If your site has copied articles or text from other sites, make sure to replace it with original content.
- Reduce the number of advertisements and affiliate links above the fold (or all on the entire page).
- Avoid paid for link programs.
- Perform a website audit to discover bad links, blank pages, empty or invalid redirects and internal duplicate content.
- Don't take shortcuts by plagiarizing others work, take the time to write original, unique content yourself.
The new update will be coming into effect in the next week or so, so it would be a good idea to go through this checklist and make sure that your site is not going to fall foul of these issues.