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What factors make a site vulnerable to Panda?

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Google has once again brought us on toes by releasing it’s Panda Algorithm. There have been considerable waves from Google Panda with 12% of search results being affected by this new algorithm. Somehow, local business websites have escaped from this storm by Panda but they were not the intended target of this update.

We would like to summarize factors that Google’s Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal gave in an interview with Wired.

  • Conduct qualitative research (that’s speaking with individuals and not a big questionnaire) to find out which of a sample of sites they considered to be low quality and why.
  • Use the results to define low quality sites with the factors that Google can measure. This gives Google a mathematical definition of low quality.
  • If we start here, we can think of a number of factors that Google might be able to measure to define low quality, including:
  • A high % of duplicate content. This might apply to a page, a site or both. If it’s a site measure then that might contribute to each page’s evaluation.
  • A low amount of original content on a page or site.
  • A high % (or number) of pages with a low amount of original content.
  • A high amount of inappropriate (they don’t match the search queries a page does well for) adverts, especially high on the page.
  • Page content (and page title tag) not matching the search queries a page does well for.
  • Unnatural language on a page including heavy-handed on-page SEO (‘over-optimization’ to use a common oxymoron). Eg unnatural overuse of a word on a page.
  • High bounce rate on page or site.
  • Low visit times on page or site.
  • Low % of users returning to a site.
  • Low click-through % from Google’s results pages (for page or site).
  • High % of boilerplate content (the same on every page).
  • Low or no quality inbound links to a page or site (by count or %).
  • Low or no mentions or links to a page or site in social media and from other sites

If any of these factors is relevant to Panda, it is unlikely that they will be so on their own.

Multiple factors will likely be required to get ‘Panda points’ (and points do not mean prizes in this game). Panda points will be added up. Cross a threshold (the Panda Line) and all the pages on your site seem to be affected. This includes quality original pages being ranked well below useless scraper sites that have stolen your content.

Google have said that “low quality content on part of a site can impact a site’s ranking as a whole.” It’s important to define the difference between an algorithm change and a penalty. A penalty must be served if it has a time limit and lifted if it is to be removed. An algorithm change exists and its results will continue until it is changed, your site changes (or your site gets white listed). Panda is an algorithm change but no ordinary one. It’s an algorithm change that works like a penalty because if your site crosses the Panda Line then the whole site is affected, quality pages too.

Panda is penalty by algorithm.

Thanks for staying tuned in to our series of articles on Google Panda and it’s affects. Feel free to reach us for consulting on your Online Stores. You know whom to call “ioVista“.

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