A Must Read: The Breakdown of Google’s Algorithm Panda

Okay, so we’ve looked at the Hummingbird update, now it’s time for Google’s algorithm to karate chop his way through the door and explain himself!

Who or what is Panda?

Panda looks at tackling online issues such as plagiarism, keyword stuffing, spamming, thin content and duplication. The Panda Algorithm was named after a Google engineer named Navneet Panda (by Moz.com) who played a major role in the algorithm breakthrough. Initially, Panda acted like a filter with the aim to down score websites that were using black hat techniques. In 2016, Panda was integrated into the core algorithm, mainly because Google no longer expected to implement further updates to Panda’s functioning.

Why was the Panda algorithm implemented?

Some people may believe all they need is a website and some questionable and not so honest creativity to draw in customers. Businesses trying to function online will often have an interest in
ranking as highly as possible on search engines like Google. But, it’s the way we do this that matters to Google. Some individuals may have used techniques like keyword stuffing or plagiarism to build an online presence. However, since Panda has been on the scene website users like this, will find it difficult to function as now, these poor practices will influence their ranking.

Practices we need to avoid include, content farming which is all about writing, duplicating or plagiarizing short articles that explore many subjects, so Google believes that a website has the answers to a user’s queries thus sending us to a site that doesn’t have quality or useful content. This in turn leads neatly into the crack down on a lack of trustworthiness.

Websites that don’t have terms and conditions or privacy policies will be down scored by Panda. Make sure that your advert to content ratio is sensible and balanced is advised by Google. Other practices that Panda doesn’t like are:

  • Mentions of deals or sales in titles but when you have accessed the website there is no mention of either.
  • Website that have been reported or blocked by users will be down scored by Panda.
  • Panda has a big issue with poor quality content that is littered with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
  • The algorithm will pick up on high bounce rates, visitors who don’t come back and low click through rates.
  • Panda really, really, really doesn’t like machine generated content software. This one is a big No.


What changes can be made to keep on the right side of Panda?

Whilst it is important for us to recognise the role Panda plays in quality controlling online content and practices there might be other reasons why you may have had a drop in organic traffic. It’s always good to take in the bigger picture and consider issues such as, the time or year, fluctuations in potential customers’ expenditure and an increase in like-minded business in your local area – your competition!

We have put together a few tips to keep on Panda’s good side and out of his little black book. Make sure you evaluate old content like articles, blogs and website information and quality control your future content ensuring it doesn’t have spelling mistakes. It’s worth it– you will be rewarded by Panda for producing high quality content.

Proactive Marketing Solutions suggest you try to get a HTTPS secure encryption to show Google that you are trustworthy. You can use tools like a plagiarism checker, such as Copyscape and spelling and Grammar software like Grammerly to support you in producing quality content.

What’s the point?

As we’ve suggested, Panda can impact on your ranking, which might make it harder for organic traffic to find you if you use poor practices and black hat techniques. Your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) plan should be built on approaches that are deemed, by Google, as being positive and honest, such as a getting a secure encrypted website and producing quality content.

Google reward websites that give users a great on-site experience, add value and sites that are easy to navigate. Surely these are principles that you would want to work with? After all, my guess if Google would probably win the ranking war.

For additional support with ranking and SEO contact us today for expert guidance and support.

Intuitive web design: Top tips

Proactive Marketing Solutions have put together a blog series about intuitive web design. This week we are looking into the notion of trust

In this series we will cover how you can get an intuitive website and highlight ways to encourage repeated website visits. With between 10 -20 seconds for a website to prove itself before a visitor decides to stay or go. It is vital you communicate that they are in the right place.

What is intuitive design

You might be wondering what intuitive design is and how these terms relate to your website. If we consider two concepts, one being seamlessness and the other user experience (UX) and look at how these translate into your website then we are getting closer. Knowing what works for your visitors, and, just as importantly, what doesn’t is a great starting point.

Your visitors will probably return to your site if it is user friendly and running at a good speed.  But if it is chaotic, badly designed, and doesn’t match what is advertised then they will most likely leave, never to return. Its time to be honest with yourself, which category does your website fit into?

Would you trust your site?

When we use the word ‘trust’ we don’t mean anything other than a typical dictionary definition, -‘firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something’. Although you aren’t entering a long-term relationship with your visitors it’s still important to acknowledge that online services, compared to on street shops, are disadvantaged when it comes to trust. So, in essence, you have your work cut out! – We really do need to look at ways we can get our visitors to trust us.

Why is your online shop disadvantaged?

We know that customers are far more likely to buy a product once it’s been picked up and investigated.  In a physical shopping environment, you’re able to read between the lines- questions things like- how products are being displayed, the way staff behave- are they interested in you and the stock? Is the shop sign hanging off and the floors dirty? Or are the staff attentive and the shop immaculate? All these subliminal messages inform us on quality, and whether a shop can be trusted. Remove all these cues and suddenly we have a situation where customers do not know who to trust. With big brands encouraging the public to buy into their services and products through massive campaigns, it can be tricky to get a piece of the action.

These issues aren’t going away so its best just to embrace them. Google have started to rank websites based on trustworthiness and ethics, which is significant when we consider 96% of smart phone users come through a google search. If you neglect Google’s rules, then your business SERPs may be considerably lowered therefore, It’s time to get on board!

Practical steps that can be taken to build up a sense of trust

  • Use customer reviews- historical and up to date – promote them on social media and a no-nonsense page on your website.
  • Is your website full of problems – because if it is, visitors might begin to believe your services and products are also riddled with issues – Build a space where visitors can happily click through your content without confusion or frustration and won’t leave after only seeing one page – known as a bounce rate.
  • Put out good social media posts – regularly – containing relevant content.
  • Avoid asking for unnecessary information – its suspicious – visitors will be sceptical about why you want their information.
  • Provide your visitors with a means to contact your business – such as messenger – Let your potential customers know how long they will need to wait for a response.
  • You should look closely at your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – For more specifically about SEO, look at our ‘If SEO blows your mind, read this’. Or click here for more help.

False pretenses

Ideally, you want to look at whether your SEO and keywords reflect what your website has to offer. Unethical practices that involve dangling a carrot to tempt visitors should be evaluated, for the sake of pleasing Google and aiming to work honestly. A good bit of news is, 90% of people haven’t made up their minds about a brand when using a search engine which means you can capture this audience without sneaky black hat techniques.

The round up

I suppose a big question to ask yourself, or more constructively others, Is, ‘how much thinking do you need to do when using my website’. Beyond seamlessness and good UX, it is fundamental to reward your visitors with what has been advertised. I suppose it’s about honestly, not luring visitors to your site and giving them a clunky and irrelevant space.

Ensure your social media platforms are being used to their full potential and are linked to your website. If you are a thriving business show the world how you are positively interacting with your visitors and customers. Avoid giving visitors the impression that you are a dodgy individual in a back street, because your website and social media accounts are redundant.

Here are a few more elements to consider which we will look at in more detail over the next few weeks:

  • Say no to unnecessary distractions
  • Get help with speeding up your website
  • Be clear about what your services/ product are
  • Show your potential clients that you care
  • Be careful about demanding and gathering information

For more help on any of the areas covered feel free to get in touch with Proactive Marketing Solutions.