The Panda update is an approach by Google to provide the best quality content sites that show strong user experiences. In 2011 alone, there were over 500 tweaks to Google’s algorithm for determining the best quality sites.
Google Ranking Parasites and Pollutants
In the past, web site owners could purchase links in bulk to make it look as if they had thousands of websites linking to them. Website scrapers, or copyright infringers, would steal content from other sites and post it as their own. In many cases, stolen content would out rank the original author’s site.
Heard of article spinning? It used to be a preferred choice of many site owners to purchase articles with target keywords and use them to fill up content space on a site. Software exists to take the same article and spin it into variations, allowing the article to be used on multiple sites without being flagged as duplicate content.
Google Got Smarter
Google asked people to make side-by-side comparisons of websites to determine which were low or high quality. This information was then applied to how Google should determine the level of quality for websites. Google now looks more closely at the value of a website and social engagement. Google + gives humans, rather than machines, the opportunity to decide what is worth reading. Some of the areas that contribute to your ranking on Google include:
- Content Quality
- Site Metrics (time on site, bounce rate, load time, etc.)
- Quality and Quantity of Backlinks
- Link Profile
To help decrease copied content ranking above the site of the real author, Google displays the author information in search results when a website is assigned to a Google Plus profile. The Google Plus button uses the rel=”Author” tag to verify the author.
The quickest way to attach your name to your website search results is to place Google Plus button on your site.
Writing Valuable, High Quality Content
As bloggers in the product review and giveaway niche, we have a responsibility to provide unique content that adds value to the online community. Google has responded to the problem of fake reviews and will analyze the content of your review to determine if it is low quality. This is typically more of a problem on larger sites such as Amazon where people are paid to provide negative or positive reviews.
Any information that is used from another site should be rewritten, edited, and include personal input. Include a reference to thank the original source of the content. To check if someone has copied your site, you can use the website Copyscape.com.
Use affiliate links and banners in moderation. Too many ads can cause people to press the back button, signaling to Google that your site was not worth reading. Avoid high pitch-to-content ratios, where efforts to push affiliate products outweigh solid content.