Happy Panda hunting everyone!
Just when you started to recover from the Penguin Update, Google has announced a new Panda Update, which has been dubbed Panda 3.9.2.
Before we go into the details, just some quick perspective on this latest update. Panda 3.9.2 is estimated to affect only 0.7% of all search queries. If/when a new Panda Update’s impact exceeds 1% of queries, it will officially “jump” to 4.0. However, this doesn’t mean Panda 3.9.2 is insignificant. No single update is make or break for your SEO campaign. Everything is fluid and interconnected; if you’ve taken a slight hit or bump in rankings/traffic this morning, this is likely a harbinger of things to come. So you should definitely pay attention to any change in rankings over the last few days.
For instance, we recently repaired some issues of duplicate content on NationalPositions.com, and as a result we jumped from #4 to #2 for SEO company in the US overnight, and saw our search engine traffic increase by more than 50 visitors in day-over-day traffic. This is an example of how a small issue being fixed can result in a tangible, positive result.
Quick Review of Panda
Google officially announced the Panda refresh is rolling out. What does this mean? A search engine algorithm “refresh” is the latest iteration of the Panda Update to introduce new tweaks. Google is not necessarily making wholesale changes to Panda, but merely introducing new features that fulfill the original intent of Panda.
So, this is a good time to review Panda and what it’s all about. Google’s Panda Update is an attempt by the search giant to better evaluate the user experience of a website, and to reflect the user experience in the rankings. There are a lot of factors that fall under the umbrella of “UX”, but the most important Panda factors are original and quality content, clean web design, a lack of clutter from ads and a helpful navigation and website structure. These are all features of a strong website that make it easier for Google to rank websites that are the most useful and valuable for each particular query.
To get an idea of whether or not your site is being helped or hurt by Panda, use Google Analytics to see how your site is performing. Are you getting a healthy amount of returning visits to your site? Are visitors averaging at least 1 minute in time spent on your site? What is your conversion rate? What is your bounce rate? Are you achieving established goals, such as web form signups and shopping chart purchases? Answers to these questions will let you know if your site is performing well, and this should provide you with a strong indication of what you need to improve.
Creating Content in a Post-Panda SEO World
Ever since Panda 1.0 launched in early 2011, much of the focus has been on creating fresh, unique and quality content. And this is appropriate. Of all the “UX” factors, Post-Panda rankings are most directly impacted by your site’s content. Pre-Panda, your site could get by without much new or quality content; all you needed was keyword-rich content on many new articles. But Panda changed all that. It’s now more important to ensure that 1) your content is original, not duplicated from other pages online (even if that other content is yours!); 2) your content is fresh; that you are regularly adding new content to your site and across the web, such as with blogging or press releases; and 3) your content provides useful information that establishes your brand as an authority.
One of the best ways to create content that achieves all these things is to use content themes and silos on your site. To do this, you must define your best topics and write content around them, build out your website navigation to accurately reflect these themes, perform helpful interlinking and use your blog add new content to these themes. CLICK HERE to read our blog post on how to create content silos on your website.
Panda Update History
Here is a history of all Panda Updates and refreshes in in the 19 months.
Panda Update 1.0, Feb. 24, 2011 (11.8% of queries impacted)
Panda Update 2.0, April 11, 2011 (2% of queries impacted)
Panda Update 2.1, May 10, 2011
Panda Update 2.2, June 16, 2011
Panda Update 2.3, July 23, 2011
Panda Update 2.4, Aug. 12, 2011 (6-9% of queries impacted)
Panda Update 2.5, Sept. 28, 2011
Panda Update 3.0, Oct. 19, 2011 (2% of queries impacted)
Panda Update 3.1, Nov. 18, 2011: (less than 1% of queries impacted)
Panda Update 3.2, Jan. 18, 2012
Panda Update 3.3, Feb. 27, 2012
Panda Update 3.4, March 23, 2012 (1.6% of queries impacted)
Panda Update 3.5, April 19, 2012
Panda Update 3.6, April 27, 2012:
Panda Update 3.7, June 9, 2012: (1% of queries impacted)
Panda Update 3.8, June 25, 2012: (1% of queries impacted)
Panda Update 3.9, July 24, 2012: (1% of queries impacted)
Panda Update 3.91, Aug. 20, 2012: (1% of queries impacted))
Panda Update 3.92, Sept. 18, 2012: (0.7% of queries impacted)
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