Panda Algorithm Updates and WordPress SEO

For most of this year, and particularly the latter half, Google has been rolling out changes in its algorithm designed to improve its search results. These algorithm updates are collectively referred to as Panda and here we’ll explore its significance with WordPress SEO.

panda

The purpose of Panda has been to reduce the likelihood of poor quality sites appearing high up in the results. It’s to make Google a better search engine. Always keep this in mind when blogging with WordPress.

Unique content. What? No!

Yes, we all know we should be constantly updating our WordPress blogs with regular, quality, relevant and unique content. That’s been a no-brainer for, seemingly, decades!

But, post-panda, this unique content rule is being extended to the first tier links or “hubs” or “feeders” to our sites.

If you want to build links by submitting articles to web 2.0 sites it’s best to add unique content to the Squidoo Lenses, HubPages and WordPress.com blogs.

Increase content

Panda is designed to hit low quality, low content websites. So the days of adding a post with just a video and a line or two of explanation are long gone. Posts that link to your blog should have a word count of more than 450 where possible. On the money site 500+ words for the home page and 1000+ words for some pillar articles

Link diversity

Linking to your site should look natural. Let’s face it, a couple of thousands of links from forum profiles and nothing else in a few days looks distinctly dodgy. So, if you are building links make sure they are from blog posts, blog comments, forum signatures, forum threads, directories, nofollow and dofollow. Every linking method you can think of – do it!

Link at a consistent rate

Again, in order to look natural, set up your routine to build links regularly and naturally. Again, a thousand links one week and then none for the next month just doesn’t look right. Make sure the web 2.0 articles, comments and forum links come in regularly over a long period. By all means speed up the rate of linking but keep it consistent – no sudden peaks or troughs of link-building.

Vary your anchor text

Sometimes the same anchor text in links to the same page is OK – if it’s the title of that page, then it’s natural. But if there are loads of links that contain a three word keyphrase all pointing to the same page with a different title, it looks strange!

So mix your anchor text as much as you can: anchor text of “lose weight”, “lose weight now”, “how to lose weight”, “weight loss advice” would look more natural than just “lose weight” as anchor text.

You can mix it up a bit by using an unprofessional “Click Here! http://hellomynameise.com!” occasionally or chuck in a few mis-spellings!

Increase time on site and decrease bounce rate

Panda is all about user experience. Google employs teams of human site reviewers and data from these groups maybe fed into the algo. It seems that the feedback from these groups has been about speed, clarity and lack of ads.

So, think of ways in which you can improve the user experience on your sites. Make sure that the pages are well laid out and don’t have too many ads. Insert images and other graphics where necessary to space out articles. Use Google PageSpeed to find ways to make your sites load quicker.

Interlink your pages

Remember to keep linking to other posts and pages in your site.

What do you think?

What have you noticed about the Panda updates? What have you been doing differently as a result of them?

Did you enjoy the article? If so, please share!

Readers Comments

  1. Solid advice. I agree with you on almost every point. I especially liked “linking at a consistent rate”. I never thought of that before, but I’m sure Google has.

    One minor point, misspelling anything in a post panda world is probably a bad idea.

    • Absolutely, Greg, correct spelling and grammar is very important. I haven’t made a typo in this, have I? :)

      • Nope!
        I was referring to this: “occasionally or chuck in a few mis-spellings!”

        • Ah, yes, I got that from a friend, that your anchor text could be “lose wieght” for example, just to make it look realistic. It’s a nice idea but my instinct is that it’s OK but I can’t say I’ve tested it. :)

  2. From what I’ve seen, bursty linking IS a natural pattern for a blog. If several people have your feed on their blog sidebar then each new article will be linked a lot of times.

    The other scenario I’ve seen is when your page gets mentioned on a active site such as slashdot, boingboing or stumble upon. When that happens then you may see a big surge in hits.

    • Rob Cubbon says:

      Absolutely right, Andy, if you suddenly get a viral post then that’s entirely natural and a good thing. But I think Google know that a viral link burst has happened and when it’s been manufactured. Thanks for your comment. :)

  3. I think you’ve captured most of the points in your post. However there is two major ones that I think need to be mentioned and these are ownership and social proof. Google has in the last few months promoted the use of rel=author to allow us to effectively link our posts to our Google+ profiles. This helps to prove who authored what and reduce the amount of scraped content ranking well in the search engines. I wrote a step by step tutorial that tells you how to do rel=author on WordPress, which may help. Then there is the social proof of Google circles. Having implemented rel=author you must start building the number of circles you appear in, in Google+.

  4. As everyone knows that google again changed algorithm of its search engine. Many site are affected from this expected change of google. Thank you. Maybe web master must try other method to boost site rank.

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