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How To Avoid Google Panda Penalties

Updated on August 13, 2014

A Google algorithm update called PANDA happened on January 28, 2011 and its resulting effect meant sites with duplicate content found it even harder to rank highly in search results, according to many SEO and Search Engine Analytics experts. The change, according to Matt Cutts, who heads Google’s webspam team said the change “primarily affects sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content”. So basically any website that has a copy of someone else's content not just infringing copyright - but is a dead man walking. Now fast forward to 2014 and ask ourselves, are we - and are our features, our articles and online writing faring any better for this change to "improve things"? How has it affected our hubs? Are we better off with Panda, or worse?


Cutts added: “This was a pretty targeted launch: slightly over 2% of queries change in some way, but less than half a percent of search results change enough that someone might really notice. The net effect is that searchers are more likely to see the sites that wrote the original content rather than a site that scraped or copied the original site’s content.”

The purpose of Panda is to reduce and help eliminate content that is duplicated on another page or blog or site elsewhere on the web. The problem with duplicated content is that it allows the possibility of the original creator being penalized for that duplicate content. Duplicate content results in incorrect and wrong search engine results being displayed to people who search for things on the web. And it can adversely affect the earnings a writer may earn from the original content. So basically, something had to be done about duplicate content.

This change made a big affect on many industries. It arrived like a big Prima Donna and imposed itself on everyone. It affected those especially in the areas of Holiday, Travel, Airlines, Hotels and services... it affected any kind of white label sites that scrape information from other sites and reproduce or copy it. "EBookers" is one such example. Any kind or comparison site that lists prices or information in any way or duplicates content from elsewhere will be penalized. There are sites out there copying and plagiarizing the original content of others, and infringing their copyright in the process.

This Panda update is designed to go after those who make copies of content, whether their own or the content of others, and prevent them fro showing up in search engine results.

However there are other people who are affected. Besides affecting Bloggers and website owners - it seriously affected HubPages writers and people who submit or write articles on any web platforms. This content duplication is just not allowed any more. Google, Bing and Yahoo! now penalize and downgrade any such activity. Many would say this is a welcome change and the Search Engines need to give better value for the free service they offer, and not get results skewed by people who cheat the system.

The algorithm update came initially after 2010's so-called Caffeine and May Day changes which were designed to increase the speed with which Google is able to index pages.


How To Avoid Google Panda Penalties

A few basic simple rules can keep you out of trouble. Here are some useful tips to help you stay original in a duplicate world:

  • Research your subject first
  • Know the "voice" of your article
  • Learn how to make your content stand out with inclusions that others would not think of adding
  • Use headlines that get attention
  • Earn your readers trust by proving your understanding of the subject
  • Don't ham it up - stay concise and on topic
  • Educate your readers, educating and empowerment is key to great content
  • Give your readers useful information that is future-proof
  • Deliver value by being honestly helpful
  • Original content will reward you by increasing your "authority" in many areas
  • Don't rehash what others already said, people will notice it
  • Offer yourself as a personal "Brand" or maven for useful information
  • Discover trends before they become trends
  • Read a lot of books

With Google Caffeine, the Google algorithm was taking stock of how fast pages upload, while the subsequent "May Day" algorithm penalised sites that had poor SEO. Somewhat unfair, you may think, since not everyone is an expert on Search Engine Optimization. But this resulted in a reduction in the importance of anchor links and dominion authority of sites for Google ranking.

Instead, "on site" SEO increased in importance as did user signals - or how other people refer to a site on social media (ala twitter, Facebook, Linked-in, etc) - while links diminished in importance yet overall remained a dominant aspect. It is thought this trend will continue.

Due to this downgrading of domain authority by Google, sites with many pages containing similar content to other sites linked from the home page will no longer rank so highly. Individuals and companies are encouraged to integrate user-generated reviews into things like "product pages" and maybe go further and include links on the pages to make them more amenable to Google spiders. So - for example, in Hub pages we may see in future more "product pieces" or reviews as a by-product of this change.

Web authors and Hub Page writers who like to put similar or themed articles on sites like Squidoo or eHow or ArticleBase or similar sites need to heed this change as it will affect them.

Likewise, in a world of Internet syndication where articles, information and news are increasingly rebroadcast and repeated or replicated for whatever reason - this too will cause a shift in the global paradigm of information sharing across the net without apparent penalty. Because of Google News' Algorithm change, and which blocks the publishers of duplicate content / non-relevant content, one upside is that local media outlets can now compete more fairly for those all important audiences and readers thanks to syndicates like Yahoo! News and even Google News. It will affect how some companies get "top Stories" in certain areas where certain subjects are "trending" (as seen in Twitter for instance).

This is a serious point as - if you think about it, if Google were able to create a formula to decide or pick true original content based on when it first appeared on the web, the system could be widened to enable copyright infringement from happening in so many cases on the net. But as news-gathering bodies have repeatedly shown, and argued, they refuse to be penalized for not being the first to report some news or some story. So it results in some almost duplicate content happening to which search engines ignore.

Writers who write for News and Current Affairs sites and web businesses will have to adjust their habits, as these new rules run the risk of inhibiting their ability to reach a broad audience. Hub page authors - many of whom are freelance writers will need to be wary of this. New rules to "First Publishing Rights" have been put in to play now.

And so it follows that re-tweeting some news-gathering items, just won't increase your underlying effectiveness in Google rankings.

They may still get you more readers, followers and traffic, since readers don't measure the news you redirect their way the same as Google. Just be aware of this. For cash strapped media and news sales people who are struggling to keep readers on-line ...this will be a challenge for them. Some sites bizarrely may benefit from this. Many Wiki sites that are large collections of informational material may evade these problems. It remains to be seen how this will unfold. Either way, the content landscape has now changed. This is one of the Google Panda effects on content for the entire web.

I have written this hub is to make people aware of the recent change to the Google News Algorithm. It will have an impact on even how Hub Pages will be considered in the "relevancy stakes". The rule of thumb is that original content will rule over most other content.

Remember that the constant Google algorithm changes have devastated traffic to thousands of blogs and hubs in the past few years. Some of those writers did things that got them penalized, and duplication was one of those bad things - while other content creators did nothing to deserve what happened to their web traffic. Many people got screwed by these changes.

Just as writers find trends and surf those waves, trends also come and go like the Rubik's cube and fall out of fashion as the next trend happens along. Writers have to adapt, diversify and move with the times, not stay still.

If as content writers, we continue to write relevant and unique content for our hubs and for our readers - we can get past these obstacles. Hub Pages can still maintain its relevancy and not lose traction with its loyal core of fans and users.

I have added a link for those who wish to know how to avoid international duplication across borders. Please comment below and let me know what you think about this hub and the Google changes. Thanks. And feel free to rate my hub too.

Copyright (c) 2011- to 2014 Cassy Mantis / Cheeky Girl. All rights reserved.

Thank you for reading. Leave a comment below for me. Cheers!



Submit a Comment

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 5 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    Hey alocsin: thanks for checking out my hub on how Google penalized duplicate content. Glad you found it useful! Cheers! :)

  • alocsin profile image

    alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

    A lot of useful information here that I knew nothing about. Thanks for writing this. Voting this Up and Useful.

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    Hy sushil, I am not sure there is a definitive original keyword. I presume you are looking for the best keywords. Check out - and use the new tool they have for finding keywords or keyphrases, it is really excellent. Some people copy their competitors keywords if they are drawing lots of traffic, the keyword tool will tell you what keywords get most searches. I would be unsure how to suggest here, as I don't know about the site in question.

    Basically your original keywords will be there right inside your own original (written) content. I write the thing out, and then see what words might work, or find words like them that mean the same but are high-searched keywords.

    There are other ways too, you could plan the article or content around your chosen words, and write it that way, just check the tool to see the words do get high numbers of searches. Hope this helps somehow.

  • profile image

    sushil 6 years ago

    how can i get original keyword

    should i use others keyword or competitors keywords is that good for my site or not

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    Hey Neil, I try to do moi cheeky best! I hope things are good with you. Thumbs up are much appreciated too! And big hugs right back at ya! LOL! :)

  • Neil Sperling profile image

    Neil Sperling 6 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

    cassy - you always bring professionalism to your hubs. Thumbs up and as usual a HUGE HUG.

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    Hy Danmit, thanks for the comments! Cheers!

  • danmit profile image

    danmit 6 years ago from Moscow, Russia

    Great hub and useful article

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    Comment from "givingfairy":

    "I love this hub. It offers great insights. Thanks for the update on Google happenings."

    Reply: thankyou for the comment, sorry for replying this way as I don't want links in my comments. Nothing personal. I am happy of course to offer any insights, you are right to be looking for answers to questions as there are many people asking, and not all are getting honest answers. I will be publishing another follow up hub to my recent "Google" hubs very soon. It will delve more into Google's recent changes. Cheers!

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    Hy Prasetio, gosh, did someone "nick" your hub? That is scandalous! Well Google present a problem to the person who has been copied without their knowing. The best thing to do is to bring the duplicate content to their attention, and ask for advice. By and large they will understand, I guess. Google do penalise duplicate content now, but you have demonstrated there are exceptions to the rule. Some websites have also tried to deliberately rip off hub writers content also. We know their names, and they have been mentioned in the forums...

    Yes, the more creative we are - the better, but creativity on the very public internet is not without those problems, Prasetio. Thanks for the excellent points. Cheers!

  • prasetio30 profile image

    prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

    My seventh hub was copied with other site without edited at all. I don't know why they did this. But I hope the more creative to make a content. Thanks for writing this. Cheers...


  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    Hey Fehl / 25! Thank you for the Hub Love! :) Yes, I agree. Being aware of the latest things is a useful thing. It does require keeping up with trends, but what the hey. Some folks read magazines on hobbies, some folks check out other stuff they love....

    Me, I like trends and changes in web content and related stuff, cos it affects us all in the end. And I want to avoid the crush! LOL! I am trynna make sure I don't recopy my own content to my blogs or whatever. It's a bit more hassle, but it is a necessary evil too I think!

    Google, we love them or we hate them, but they always change things, and keep us on our toes! Heh! And Apple just introduced subscription services on my damn iPhone! Should have bought an Android! LOL! Have a great day, Fehl! Cheers! XO

  • twentyfive profile image

    twentyfive 6 years ago

    Awesome hub moi friend! Everything changes and everything updates. What's best to do is be read your new latest hub ;) be original, expect the unexpected and be observant..What can I say more hmm I repeat, this is awesome! I just hope Hubpages will remain awesome no matter what ;) Cheers!

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    Cheers, Luis! You are doing the right thing! Praise you! :)

  • LuisEGonzalez profile image

    Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

    Thanks I started checking into my other postings at other sites.

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    Hello Luis, wow - maybe doing something about the duplicate stuff would be the order of the day right now, as they will penalise. I have read bloggers who have complained about pages being rated down. There are really good Hubs writers like yourself who write great articles, and yes, we are all trying to "make a buck"...but Google are trying to reduce the amount of repeat identical results appearing on search pages. Bummer. Thanks for reading me here, and spread the word please. Thanks!

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    Hy manna, yes copying is getting to be a big pain for many web content creators, and Google are acting on it. It looks like the Google machine change the way duplicate content is ranked and demote items that get copied and pasted. Or just ripped from one site to another. As for Wikipedia, it is copied a lot. I have seen content on certain hubs that is copied and pasted. Hoo boy! Yes, having the dates of material posted would be an excellent idea! Thanks for the ideas here! Cheers!

    Hy Darlene! Glad you are liking my hubs! You always do, honey! :) You are a great loyal fan! Thanks you lots! Mwah! Hey, the RSS idea for a hub sounds like a challenge! I will check this out! H'mm! Interesting! Cheers! Nice suggestion for this Cheeky Girl! Heh! Have a great day, Daski! Love and peace always! Hope you had a nice Valentines! XOXOX :)

    Hello Eiddwen! Thanks for checking out my hub on duplicate content. Gee, quite a few people asking about RSS feeds lately! I may do a hub and cover this! Eiddwen, feel free to check out my hubs on Google Adense and Clickbank and Amazon too, if you like. They have videos and are easy to follow! Newbies love them! You will enjoy them too! Thanks for the comments! You take care too, my friend. Have fun on your hubs! :)

  • LuisEGonzalez profile image

    Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

    From this I realize that I have to change the way I do things, I write original content at Hubpages, but post it again on another site. Thanks for the advice.

  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales


    This is a great hub and useful for me as i am still a newbee when it gets down to the details such as RSS feeds etc.

    Thank you for sharing this easy to understand hub.

    take care


  • profile image

    rieom 6 years ago

    This article was informative and gave me the whole picture. It will take time to see how this goes.

  • Darlene Sabella profile image

    Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

    Hello dear girlfriend, I alway enjoy reading your hubs, you write with such authority and also give the best advise. Maybe you can write about RSS feeds, I don't understand how they work or all the ways it can be used. Love you to & peace darski xoxox rate up

  • Manna in the wild profile image

    Manna in the wild 6 years ago from Australia

    All my articles are original. So I guess it should help me, especially to sink the nong who copied a big chunk of one of my hubs and claimed it as his own.

    Since Google will be detecting plagiarism, it would be nice if they also provided a tool to see who copied your stuff!

    I also note that Wikipedia words are duplicated all over the place but it's not clear to me who copied.

    One thing I think is missing and will become more relevant as a result of this change is an easy way to determine the date of an article. It would be nice to have an automatic way of displaying the date of uploading.

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    Hy Art! Yes, the buggering around with the algorithms is annoying and knocks back the whole thing. But I think it will improve too, Art. Lets hope things get better for us all! Cheers! Thanks for this! XOX :)

  • profile image

    TattoGuy 6 years ago

    I wish the buggers would just leave things alone, their October change buggered me up plus their drop of revenue in the cpm rate for January and February.

    Still what can you do, keep writing and hope the cpm gets better in March, which I think it will. Great hub xoxo

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    Good morning from here, Suziecat, glad you found this Google hub on duplicate content informative. Yes, I agree, original content will benefit on the long term, and there will be less duplicate results in searches in the future. Thanks for the rate up. Cheers!

  • bbnix profile image

    bbnix 6 years ago from Southern California

    Very interesting. I liked what you said about Wikileaks and their having little to worry about. I think of myself as an originator of content, but I'm also now mindful of how many times I post my content which obviously will now have an effect.

    I'm writing and drawing an original animated story and planned to post it here on Hubpages for feedback. Should I be careful as I also planned on posting it on one of my webpages and possibly Youtube as well? If so, I'm still inclined to post it here first as I've been pleasantly surprised at the positive responses to my poetry and art.

    Anyway, a wonderful article. I'll get you a thumbs up for this one for sure. Nice job!



  • suziecat7 profile image

    suziecat7 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

    Interesting and informative Hub. I think original content SHOULD rule. We'll see what happens. Rated up! Thanks.

  • Cheeky Girl profile image

    Cassandra Mantis 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

    Hello Singular Investor: thanks for the comment. It just shows how much Google can influence things and have an effect on internet news and article providers. You could always mention those other things if you liked. Would get a laugh! Cheers! :)

  • Singular Investor profile image

    Singular Investor 6 years ago from Oxford

    Yeah this will be interesting to see how it turns out. For the average joe it will be a good idea to stick in some original thoughts and ideas into anything he/she has copied from elsewhere, possibly random rambling about the state of the nation and the price of tomatoes etc... whether Sarah Palin is an alien and whether Mr Obama really does like basketball or is he just faking it ? That sort of stuff.