New SEO Tips Post The Google Panda Update 2011

I’ve previously posted my favourite SEO Tips for on-page optimisation and also my Top 10 SEO Tips when starting a new website, but thought it was about time for a little refresh.

Rather than just updating the existing pages I have decided to create this New SEO Tips section which provides SEO Tips following the Google Panda update of 2011.

For clarification purposes these SEO Tips are based on my own opinion mainly as a result of SEO testing, experimenting and methodically reading instructions and information provided by the Google Webmaster team.

I tend to ignore most 2nd hand information as there is so much miss-information about that it can sometimes be hard to see the wood from the trees.

If I do come across new information that appears feasible, I tend to try to drill down to the original source and set up little experiments to test the theories.

Before talking about my new SEO Tips the first thing I will say is that all the tips on my main SEO Tips page still apply, these new tips can be described as being Post-Panda bolt on Tips.

Before talking about Google Panda Tips first we need to understand just what were the intentions of the Google Panda update and where better to get this information than from the horses mouth.

“Our goal is simple: to give people the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible. This requires constant tuning of our algorithms, as new content both good and bad comes online all the time.”

Sources: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/finding-more-high-quality-sites-in.html

http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2011/04/high-quality-sites-algorithm-goes.html

From these Google articles I thing it is fair to assume that the primary goal of the Google Panda update was to weed out thin content, poor content and duplicate content and reward websites that provide quality, trusted  and unique content.

Three months after the initial Google Panda update was rolled out Google posted another article saying;

“In recent months we’ve been especially focused on helping people find high-quality sites in Google’s search results. The *Panda* algorithm change has improved rankings for a large number of high-quality websites, so most of you reading have nothing to be concerned about. However, for the sites that may have been affected by Panda we wanted to provide additional guidance on how Google searches for high-quality sites.”

Source: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2011/05/more-guidance-on-building-high-quality.html

As you will see, the articles goes on to provide more guidance on building high quality sites, and these new SEO Tips are based on a combination of that article, my testing and my theories on Traffic Rating and Panda Balancing with my article Lose Weight and Beat The Google Panda Update.

So with an understanding of why Google rolled out the Panda update let’s have a look at my new SEO Tips (in no particular order).

Ensure Quality Content – This may be stating the obvious, but first of all ensure your pages contain trusted, quality, original, information and content which is in keeping with other content throughout your site.

Don’t be tempted to spread your content too thin – Pre-Panda a number of webmasters tended to use the amount of pages indexed in Google as a positive gauge, the more indexed pages the better. This could often lead to content that could quite easily appear on just 1 page being spread over 5 or more different pages. – Not advisable Post-Panda.

Know your content and where it is – On smaller sites not that much of a problem, but on larger sites, and specifically on sites with blogs attached it can be easy to lose content over the years and even forget that it is even there. This ties in with my theory about Panda Balancing where I strongly suspect that having too many pages about similar subjects not only weakens the pages involved but the whole site in general (almost the opposite effect of pre-Panda)

Update or Delete? – The jury is still out on this one, OK you realise the mistakes you have made over the years, know you have lots of thin content, lots of similar content on different pages, lots of below average content, so what do you do?

Do you systematically delete pages you think may be causing issues, do you leave old pages up but add more quality content to the site, or do you find the problem pages and update them?

Let’s take a closer look at these 3 options;

  1. Delete poor quality pages – The pros with this method is it is quick and simple, the problem is though, do you really know which are the problem pages? Could you end up deleting the wrong pages and could you cause problems with broken links and messed up navigation structures.
  2. Leave old pages replace with new – Again, very simple, just try to rectify past mistakes by filling the site with quality content. The problem with this though is that it hasn’t appeared to have worked, many people have spent months adding quality, trusted, engaging content to their sites but still remain Pandalized. Could the reason for this be connected with my theory about Panda Balancing? i.e. The new quality content is adversely effected because their is similar existing content on the site?
  3. Update and improve problem pages – What my mind tells me is the preferred option, but also most difficult and time consuming (we never said this would be easy). It would appear to make sense to cure the problem rather that just put a plaster on it, but the problems are first you need to find the problem pages, then you need to update and upgrade the content, then you need to ensure you haven’t got too similar content on too many other pages throughout the site. You have to be careful that if you have content thinly spread across 5 pages that you don’t bulk up the information on to the wrong page or are not tempted to bulk up the information on all 5 pages with the same content. This may mean having to create a lot more unique content so that you can justify it being spread over the 5 pages and with different enough content on each page to escape from duplicate content penalties. (if this is not possible you may have to go back to option 1 and delete pages, but being very careful that you are deleting the correct pages and adapting your navigation structure accordingly)

Be Sociable With Your Websites Pages - Just about everything Google has done in recent months appears to have been geared towards people having Google Accounts and being signed in to their Google accounts when browsing. They have previously stated that the data obtained from the Google +1 button may be used as a ranking signal and this ties in with my 2nd theory about Traffic Rating.

Can Google be using the amount of Natural Traffic* delivered via the Google results pages as a ranking factor? Is a new web page given an artificial boost for a couple of days (often referred to as Fresh Bot) so that Google can then decide to reward it based on the amount of Natural Traffic it generates?

*natural traffic =  unique IP’s, natural link pattern, from country the page is related to, from people signed in to google, etc.

If this is the case (as I suspect), a good SEO tip is to build web pages devised with the intention of attracting high clicks and then providing engaging content, so as to improve bounce rates.

i.e. Sociable Web Pages

I provide more information about traffic baiting techniques in a previous post – Is Traffic Baiting The New Link Baiting

Congratulations if you have read all the way down here (and not just jumped down)

My final new SEO Tip – Research and read methodically – Far to many people flick through articles and blog posts just picking up snippets, if taken out of context the information gained may be worthless (or even worse, damaging). You need to have the right mindset to be good at SEO don’t cut corners, don’t stop researching, don’t stop learning and most important don’t stop testing.

All comments appreciated.

PS. If you like this post, please share it around a bit, link to it, recommend it, like it, blog about it, post in forums about it, or whatever – It took a lot of time writing (and half a bottle of wine). – Many thanks, TJ

This entry was posted in SEO and Search Engine News.