panda updatesOn September 25, 2014, Google launched the latest Panda Update. For those who may not know, the Panda Updates are a long series of Google algorithm changes meant to stop websites with poor quality content from ranking in Google Search. The most recent of these updates is known as Panda 4.1, and is expected to target websites with Thin Content.

Panda 4.1 Threatens Thin Content

Thin Content is considered content with little or no added value to Google Users. Google considers Thin Content to be a violation of Google Webmaster Guidelines. This is why it is extremely important to regularly publish unique, quality content to your website. Regularly publishing quality content shows Google that your website is useful to its users, and as a result your content will rank higher in Google Search. In other words, posting new content to your site sends signals to Google that your site is important and relevant.

If you’ve noticed a drop in your rankings over the last several weeks, it may be a result of the Panda 4.1 update. We’ve listed below the top 4 practices that may have triggered a drop in your web presence.

Automatically generated content: If your web company is posting content on your website (or linking content to your website) that reads like it was written by a foreigner, it was probably auto-generated by a content spinning software. Some SEOs use content spinners to try and make content seem unique, but the result is content that makes little to no English sense.  Your content should read natural and feel local.

Cookie-cutter website package: If  you purchased a website “just for Plumbers” or “just for Appliance Technicians” AND the content on that site was not developed exclusively for you, then you should beware. We’ve found multiple web companies doing this for home service businesses. You can easily check if your web company has done this by running a Google search using a sentence or two of your content (put the sentence(s) inside of quotation marks like this: “Did your web company use duplicate content?”). If Google returns multiple sites with your content, you should have your content rewritten. This is also a great way to see if someone is plagiarizing your content.

Copied content: Be sure that your content hasn’t been copied from your competitor. Your words should be unique and represent your company. Use the strategy suggested above to verify your content isn’t copied from another source.

Over stuffed keywords: Adding your keyword to every single sentence use to be a popular strategy for ranking websites. The idea was that the more frequently the keyword appeared within the content, the more relevant that webpage would appear to Google for that keyword. This is no longer the case. Web pages with overstuffed keywords are annoying and unnatural to read, which creates a negative user experience (aka Thin Content). Post Panda, this strategy is going to hurt your ranking. So trim back any excess or unnatural sounding keywords from content, and clean up your meta data.

As for us at ServicersWeb, we love the new Panda update. From the mouth of Google’s Pierre Far…

“Based on user (and webmaster!) feedback, we’ve been able to discover a few more signals to help Panda identify low-quality content more precisely. This results in a greater diversity of high-quality small- and medium-sized sites ranking higher, which is nice…”