Earlier this year in February 2011, Google brought out the Panda update, that affected nearly 12% of Google search results. Since then, Google has been introducing further algorithmic updates, and in November the count reached to Panda 2.5.2. Google recently put into action the Caffeine update too, but it is the Panda that has become the webmasters’ worst nightmare. If the Panda slaps a site, traffic has been known to fall as much as 70-80%. To help site owners deal with the Panda, Google has time and again stated on improving the quality of content on the site, across all pages.

As Google’s Distinguished Engineer (and Head of Anti spam team), Matt Cutts has been quoted, “This update is designed to reduce rankings for low quality sites-sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high quality sites-sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”

Now you know Google says- “quality content”, but what is it exactly, and that too translated for SEO and Search Marketing industries? Well, the general interpretation of quality content includes factors like article length, internal linking and inbound links to your content and the site’s design. These are the content management tips to save your site from the Panda slap-

1.) Quality Content Ensures Authority and Higher Ranking

The entire purpose of the Panda is to deliver useful, correct and informative and highly relevant content to the searchers. So your content must fit into that category. Brush up on your spellings, grammar and vocabulary when you verify the content on your sites. Make the smart choice by identifying poor content with analytics software. Once you get to know the number of times a page was visited, or bounced from, you can work on the content of the page to ensure the users stay on your page, as they find what they came looking for. You must show the headings, titles etc prominently so that they attract instant user attention are read by people. Improve your pages’ quality to establish your self as an authority on the topic of the page, and to also get a higher PageRank.

2.) Get Rid Of Thin And Irrelevant Content

Thin content is a write up that is poorly researched, factually outdated and does not add to topic or the knowledge that the searcher already possess. So have more quality content, than quantity, as in do not have pages with poor and irrelevant content as the Panda will penalize your site for it. To better your rank, you must add fresh pages with relevant content (relevant to your site and your keywords) that is well researched and highly informative. You must also make modifications to the existing content too.

Write 300 words informative articles that give people current, updated and in-depth information. You can either remove the thin content pages or redirect them to a relevant page with ‘noindex’ tag (this will not affect your PageRank).

3.) Duplicate Content Is Completely Taboo

Get rid of duplicate content on your site pronto. You must carefully review your website, and check for pages with duplicate or similar content. There must be at least 20% to 30% difference in text of every page, and follow this rule wherever you found instances of duplicate content. Take the smart and fast way of removing duplicate content by spotting it using tools like Google Webmaster Tools. Avoid syndicated content too.

4.) Refrain From Keyword Stuffing

You must ensure that every page on your site has the right keyword density. For every page, maintain optimal keyword density of 3-8% in your content. Be very careful when your work on the keywords for every page, and narrow down to 2 to 4 keywords for a page. But since users may search for a thing in many ways, using different phrases, you must support your primary keywords with secondary keywords. Do not try to engage in keyword stuffing, hidden text, or other tactics to pull the search engines in. if initially they might work for you, the same will be detected in a jiffy by the bots and your site will be penalized with no delay.

5.) Indulge In Smart Link Building

Link building is the essence of SEO, and you must understand the trick to link pages of your site to other sites as well as inter-linking the pages of your site. Try to get authority sites to link to your content as this will be seen in very good light by the search engines. Always link to similar sites with a good reputation in your niche and interlink your pages to pages of related content within the site. This will be good not only for the user, but also for the bots. Allow for people to spread your link naturally. Add social media sharing buttons to your articles, so that they have a chance of being shared on a social platform and going viral.

As a parting tip, keep in mind the Content:Ads ratio (the number and size of the ads that appear above the fold on a page). Ensure that there are not too many ads on your site. Do not place all ads next to one another, but space them out nicely on the page. Remember that Google does not like Adheavy or Ad-cluttered pages, and many sites with pages, where ads hid the content below the fold were slapped by the Panda.

You can save your site from the Panda. Follow the guidelines given above and keep your fingers crossed!

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