In late February, Google changed their algorithm, codenamed the “Panda” update, or “Farmer” Update. I wrote about it here and have been analyzing and studying my own results and that of my clients since then. This update affects 12% of sites in the index, and some people have reported a 50% drop or more in results. Is the sky falling? Is there anything you can do about it?
Who was hit hardest by Panda?
If you want to know some heavier details about the Panda update, you can find great detailed articles all over the net by experts like Matt Cutts and others that will explain in more detail what this update was all about. On Google’s blog they also give a factual, although somewhat vague idea of what the update consists of. In short junk sites, content farms and other sites designed to game the search engines were dropped down and “quality” sites were given more traffic. Sites featuring random generated or scraped content were deranked while established authority sites got better results.
Yes, there was some collateral damage and some innocents were punished in this update, but that’s to be expected with any update. The hardest hit were sites that are intentionally trying to game Google, and sites like “article sites” and scrapers. In case you were wondering, I saw virtually no change in my search engine traffic to JeremyMorgan.com. I am not getting any less traffic, and not getting anymore. It seems once again I’m stuck in the middle during a big algorithm change, which is fine with me.
Who is getting a boost?
It seems sites like YouTube, Facebook, Instructables.com and other large sites really increased their traffic. Here is a good list of sites that did better, and see if you can spot the opportunity here.
I could go on with this list, but I don’t need to in order to make this point. They are all sites you can create profiles on. By creating profiles on these panda friendly sites you can put a link back to your own URL and possibly capitalize on the search engine boost these sites are enjoying. Don’t spam these sites however, create a profile and become an active member of the community.
With that being said here are some good solid rules to help you succeed after the panda update, and possibly insulate you against the next update.
How to succeed after the panda update
Keep it Honest - No more black hat stuff
Stay out of “bad neighborhoods”. Don’t spam your links on spammy sites.
Keep your content original. Don’t base your whole site on scraped or copied content.
Don’t use random text or Markov generators or similar techniques to make fake content.
Don’t republish other material (even if you are doing it legally) and base your whole site on it.
Create profiles at respected sites and participate without spamming.
Get backlinks the good old fashioned way - create content people want to link to.
If you do these simple things you can gather better search traffic, and have a more respectable site. “Authority” sites are what Google likes, and authority sites rarely use spammy techniques to get ahead. I hope this helps.