Google Panda Update: How to Avoid Getting Panda Slapped

What is the Panda Update?

The Panda Update is Google's latest algorithm update and to put it in the most basic terms, it changes how google search bots rank sites. Google does similar updates several times per year, but the recent Panda Update is receiving much more attention because of it's effect on so many different sites.

Why did Google do it?

They were having a problem with scam sites, MLM schemes and low quality content farmers reaching the top ranks of google's search engines. This meant that their top searches were the lowest quality and it was turning away a lot of people from using google as their primary search engine.

This is why the Panda Update is also know as the Farmer Update, as one of it's main goals is to root out content farmers and scam artists who have reached top rank in google search.

Who should it effect?

According to google, the update should most effect content farmers who copy content and put it on their pages simply to get more adsense. It will also effect sites or pages that are full of unnecessary or irrelevant advertising. So if you've got your ad level set to high, you might want to turn it down.

Panda is also searching out low quality sites that are no better then scam sites, and is specifically looking to give original and insightful content a change to rank at the top of google search. This is great news for those that take part in freelance writing online (so long as the content is original, insightful and has low ads), though it's very bad news for businesses that have been using copied content on their blogs to rank higher.

It will also be a boon to online writers who have become used to posting their content in more then one place, as well as for content creators who are publishing shallow articles. Google will give much more generously to apparent experts and enthusiast, then it will to those who are just publishing content to rank up or earn more.

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How to avoid being Panda Slapped

Truthfully, the changes that the Panda Update are bringing, are not that hard to keep up with. It is really just requiring content creators to do what they should have been doing in the first place - writing original content that they really care about, are an expert in or at very least are able to back up. No more low quality content at the top of google searches (or so they hope to achieve).

So what can you do to avoid being Panda Slapped?

1. Don't Over-Optimize

So many companies, content creators and marketers have been focusing on trying to capture as much of googles attention as they can. While this may have previously been a good tactic, panda now makes it obsolete. So focus on a small handful of keywords that are relevant to your site and don't "over-optimize".

2. Don't Copy Content/No Duplicating

It used to be that a writer could produce an article at one site, and then re-publish it on another site to gain double the revenue. The Panda update is now ranking duplicated or copied content as lower in terms of quality. This will be a hard one for businesses that have been farming content from online writers and using it to fill up their blogs to garner attention with google search.

3. Be Original

Panda is giving original content higher markings then overly published topics or content that has clearly just been spun from other writers. This means that you'll need to be more original about your titles, content, pictures and writing.

4. Be Insightful

By being insightful, I mean that you should make sure you understand the subject you are writing about, enough to show that you know what you are talking about. So your best bet is to focus on subjects that you are an expert in, or subjects that you are highly enthusiastic about. Google wants to provide high quality content on the top of it's search pages, which means that it is going to give a pink slip to content that is shallow, irrelevant, poorly written or produced simply to be produced.

5. Use Social Networking

The panda update is unleashing google's capability to search social networks for popular content. This means that if you can get your social networking pals to browse your website, content or pages - then you'll rank higher in google searches. This is in an attempt to not only encourage self promotion and personalization, but it is also to help show content that is actually popular amongst real readers. The new algorithm assumes that if your stuff is being read by those on social networks, it must be worth more then the content not being spread around social networks. So get out there and show off what you can do!

6. Tone Down the Ads

If you've been focusing mostly on writing so that others will view your adsense, clickbank or other paid advertising, then you're going to see a drop in page views. Google's Panda update wants to root out those who are producing content simply to make money. It sucks for those that are writing passionless content simply to earn money, though it should result in better rankings for passionate writers and produce a better experience for the searcher.

7. Don't Use Link Sharing

Panda has made link sharing pretty pointless. Avoid it and you'll have less to worry about from that menacing panda bear.

8. Write Your Blog Yourself

It's no secret that many businesses have been creating blogs and buying content to put on their sites, or simply just copying content to put on their blogs. This was a cheap way to rank higher in google searchers. Though now they are going to see their rankings drop dramatically for doing such a thing. This will also affect any affiliate marketers, content creators or others who are basically doing the same thing. So if you've decided to start up a blog - whether to save your business or to get more views - make sure you are actually writing the blog yourself and not just content farming for search rankings. If nothing else, higher yourself a blogger who can make it their commitment to bring your blog original content. It's still better then content farming while panda is around.

9. Forget About Affiliate Marketing

Personally, I will be much happier to see affiliate content get the panda slap (and I'm an affiliate writer on other sites!). Way to many affiliate marketers get onto the web and start to produce pure crud in an attempt to get more sales. When I produce content, even for my affiliate sites, I try to only write a few articles that actually hold meaning and are relevant to my affiliate products - instead of producing content that was simply written to advertise my affiliate products. Through the panda update, those producing content that has a bunch of referral links, or even just one link to specifically taboo sites (such as clickbanks), will get the two handed pimp powder slap from google. MLM, scams, pyramid sites and similar sites will also be receiving this brutal take down, as they should.

10. Write Because You're Passionate About It

Panda wants to bring out the best in the world of online content. As said above, it will be focusing on those who are insightful and original. So your best bet at avoiding a panda slap, is to be original, information and relevant to the topic your writing about. Don't write just to write. Writing because you love to write and love what you are writing about.

11. Stay Updated

Google changes things all the time. No one knows how long the panda update will be in place, or how long until a newer version of panda will come along to change the game again. The best thing you can do to avoid being panda slapped, or slapped by anything else that google creates, is to keep up with the changes they are making.


What to do if you've been Panda Slapped....

In most cases, if you've been panda slapped already, you were probably doing something that you should've avoid in the first place. Though if you feel you've been wrongfully attacked by googles new panda update, then you can contact google and get some help. Just keep in mind that there are a lot of very upset content farmers, marketers, businesses and others who are upset and their new lowered rankings. They are filling up google contact lines like prank callers to the police on april fools day. It doesn't do anyone any good, but they are doing it anyways.

You can also follow the above tips (for avoiding being slapped), to get yourself back on track.

More information

The panda update is googles new big buzzword for the time being. If you are looking to understand the update more, or to find out some more information about the system, these are some informative articles that I enjoyed.

http://www.webpronews.com/google-panda-algorithm-update-2011-05

http://www.businessinsider.com/panda-slapped--googles-panda-update-changed-the-playing-field-2011-3

I hope these help =)

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Comments 6 comments

sangre profile image

sangre 5 years ago from Ireland

You've explained this so well. I'd heard of this but wasn't too sure what the drama was about..great hub...


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Great information....your knowledge and your willingness to share is greatly appreciated....voted up and useful


whoisbid profile image

whoisbid 5 years ago

There are a lot of businesses concerned about the Panda and social networks. This is because these same businesses have been supporting Google Ads. They are the ones who keep everyone paid and employed and are the reason for Google's successful income. If the business world is going to be taken over by social networking then Google can expect that these businesses are going to find ways to exploit social networks. People are going to find new loopholes. Seo is not dead but it will change.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 4 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

I swear, writing online is the emotional equivalent of playing the stock market. If you don't have the tolerance for risk vs. reward, you don't belong.

I've seen a lot of GREAT hubbers watch their traffic and earnings crumble because of Panda. I've seen Hub Pages staff valiantly try to protect their community.

In theory, I support what Google is trying to do. It sucks to have to search to about page 3 to find a "real" source of information when using Google. But that's the monster they created. Now they get to tame it.

Unfortunately, a lot of really good, qualified, PASSIONATE original content writers do get hurt in the process.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge. MM


hobbitinspiration profile image

hobbitinspiration 4 years ago from Monmouth, OR

This helps a lot. Thank You!


Alexeo profile image

Alexeo 3 years ago from Saint-Quentin

Thank you for this post, Panda Update are very Angry !

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