Google Panda Update
Panda was introduced in February of 2011; it was a search filter intended to prevent poor-quality sites from finding their way into the top search results. Google updates it here and there, which can catch sites that have managed to slip under the cracks.
Google tends to remain tight-lipped when working on search algorithms, but they did release various statements regarding updating Panda algorithms. In regards to Panda, however, Google was incredibly transparent.
Panda’s key aspects are as follows:
Removing Good Content
One big issue was SEOs that suggested removing content from websites initially affected by Panda. By doing this, though, web admins shot themselves in the foot. There wasn’t a magic formula for SEOs to follow to recover from the impact, at least not regarding the content, length, quantity, or age of the site. Each page’s value needed to be determined.
The good news is that if Google is directing traffic to a particular page, then that page is of a high enough quality to be ranked. If you lose a page from a few years ago, you will miss out on future traffic because it was old or had the wrong word count.
Anyone who thought removing content was the right decision could have verified the levels of traffic that page was receiving before cutting.
The first thing web admins did when Panda landed was freak out regarding duplicate content. This had no bearing on Panda, though it may be effective technically.
Duplicate content may affect your SEO, though. It was the last thing to focus on, though, after getting a hit from Panda.
There was an idea that content needed to be a specific length to be Panda-proofed. However, you could have had a stunningly written 500 words and a thousand words of horrific quality, so the content quality is more important than the word count. There is no magical word count.
This is an interesting one because it isn’t about the advertising but the amount. Affiliate links are okay, but if it’s a page packed with affiliate links without including any quality content, it’s a problem. So, Panda wasn’t targeting affiliate content or ads but sites that weren’t producing quality content.
User-Generated Content & Commenting
User-generated content was getting a bad rap. However, the reason for this is the poor content. As a result, many experts were advising the removal of user-generated content. This was needless, as it had no impact on Panda. Providing the content is of high quality; it doesn’t matter.
Comments were another component of websites catching a bad name and user-generated content. Not all comments are bad. You should have a spam filter to prevent poor-quality content from slipping beneath the cracks.
Panda was one of the rare times that Google had laid it all out in front of users. Remember that regardless of the algorithm changes, you shouldn’t be too affected, provided you regularly fill your website with high-quality content.