Panda algorithm

Small business owners beware: panda’s regularly combing your content. In the most recent Google Webmaster Help Channel video, Search Engineer Matt Cutts explained that Panda (the algorithm that punishes sites for publishing lower-quality content) refreshes are no longer rolled out at monthly intervals when the technology has been significantly updated.

“It had gotten to the point where, with Panda, the changes were getting smaller – they were more incremental. We had pretty good signals … and gotten the low-hanging wins … [so we thought], let’s just go ahead and integrate it into indexing,” Cutts said.

This means that SMBs’ blog content is constantly being appraised by the algorithm and quality is being considered every time pages are crawled. If small businesses want to stay visible in search results, they must verify that all information shared on their sites is really contributing to a great visitor experience. In Cutts’ opinion, that means original text that people truly want to read.

Have you been hit?

ContentLEAD created a guide to help SMBs determine whether they’d been hit by previous Panda iterations (and create a plan for search ranking recovery). The following are tell-tale signs of a Panda algorithm penalty:

- A drop in referring keywords
- Fewer cached pages
- Lower site traffic.

In the video, Cutts says it may be more difficult for webmasters to determine whether they’ve been penalized because the algorithm is processing their pages regularly. A hit in search rankings should now indicate that SMBs’ need to address the quality of their writing.

How to recover

SMBs must take their content creation plans back to the drawing board in order to recover from a Panda penalty.

There isn’t a quick-and-dirty way to rebound from a Panda penalty. Small- and medium-sized businesses must actually take their content strategies back to the drawing board and eliminate any practices that generate low-quality or shallow articles. Instead, they are pressed to focus on creating marketing materials that offer customers fresh insights, valuable data and engaging copy that’s easy to read.

Cutts says that web marketing should return to its roots in traditional publication. SMBs must create content that’s on par with the quality of writing they find in books and magazines if they want to rank well in search results. If readers aren’t likely to share pieces with their families and friends, chances are Google won’t serve them to internet users.