There’s a lot to say about Panda, but before we can reasonably discuss the latest massive shakeup in the SEO world, we need to dispel some misconception about what it is. Despite what many people might be saying, Panda is not a new algorithm. Panda is a new attribute that was added to the existing algorithm.
What this means is that everything you used to do for SEO purposes is still correct — there’s just a new factor to take into account on top of all of that. Nothing regarding backlinking, domain authority, page age, or any of that is any different. What has changed is that there are now a new set of penalties in play for pages that aren’t user-friendly.
What Does A Good Webpage Look Like Under Panda?
To see what Panda likes a webpage to look like — versus what used to work in the pre-Panda days — just consider the evolution of EzineArticles.com since Panda came into play. Six months ago, EzineArticles had a massive nav bar on the left, Adwords at the top and between the info panel and the article and in the middle of the article itself. The “new” look has no advertisements whatsoever, and even the navigation element and links to other articles come after the article itself, with the exception of a very simple search bar, info panel, and social buttons (which Panda approves of) above the fold.
It’s hard to believe that one simple new set of penalties coming into play can cause a major content farm like EZA to shuffle it’s content around so dramatically. To take it a step further and remove ALL of it’s advertisements, EZA must have been profoundly nervous about what Panda could do to their dominance of the article directory niche.
What This Means to YOU
We’re going to assume that you knew all of that and that you’ve already done what you need to do in order to take the Panda Penalties into account. You’ve cleaned up your monetization, put your content front and center, eliminated unnecessary clicking, and so forth. If you’ve gotten your rankings back up, congratulations — you’re done. If not, don’t fret yet.
Panda Penalties aren’t continuously updated — they’re done more like PageRank updates used to be; every few-to-several weeks, Google performs a massive Panda Penalty check, and sites that have improved since the last check will shoot back up in the rankings. So if you’ve updated your site in the past few weeks and there’s been no change, just wait — it probably will at the next check.
If it’s been a few months and your page still isn’t doing well, you have to look deeper to find the reasons why Google might not like your site. Install Analytics if you haven’t already, and look at your basic stats — bounce rate, time-on-page, clickthrough from various sources (especially from Google’s SERPs). If they’re not looking good, finding a way to improve them is likely to be your best bet to get Panda to love you as well.
I write in one ‘niche’ area of search, people search. Want to learn how to search for people and find long-lost friends? Then my article might be just for you.