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Top three things to look for when checking for Panda Issues

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 by Emily Mace

Google PandaGoogle’s Panda algorithm update has affected a lot of websites and many webmasters have been left needing to try and repair their rankings.

Part of this involves performing a review of the site. It can be quite tricky to review your own website subjectively and to try and work out what might be causing issues with the Panda algorithm update so I’ve outlined three of the most common things we’ve found when helping people who come to us with Panda issues:

1.  Thin Content

Thin content is where the content on the page doesn’t cover the subject you are discussing well and lacks any form of depth. Both your users and Google will be looking for pages on a website which help to inform them. This is supported by having good quality, in depth content for the site.

So, if you are checking your site for Panda issues and you find pages with content of little value you could find that these don’t perform as well as you’d like.  Even if you have listing pages with lots of links to products on them but no content this can be an issue, so make sure you consider content for these pages as well.

One way I try to look at this content when I’m reviewing it is whether or not there is enough information for a potential customer to make a decision about buying your products or services.

Another type of thin content is where pages have been created for the sake of a keyword. Although having content which talks about your core topics and business areas is important, creating pages just to make something which you can get a keyword ranking for can also be thin content.

2. Duplicate Content

Duplicate content on the site can cause issues with authority. If a website has a lot of duplicated content on it – such as product descriptions from manufacturers – then you could find yourself facing some Panda issues. Although Google has said that duplicate content in itself isn’t always bad, there are issues with the Panda algorithm update – so duplicate content can lead to Google believing you aren’t offering anything new or useful for the visitor.

Some of the most common ways we have found duplicate content issues on sites are outlined below:

  • Using manufacturer product descriptions
  • Repeating a block of information on multiple pages
  • URL structures which create multiple versions of a page
  • Blogs or news items which appear in more than one page, for example on two versions of your website or in two sections of the site
3. Advertising on page

Another thing which can lead to Panda issues on a site is the use of on page advertising. This can take the form of AdSense advertising but also banners for other sites in your company or special offers.

Try to make sure that the content on your site is close to the top of the page and not pushed down by banners or adverts as this can cause issues with rankings.

Don’t forget the Technical Review

It’s also worth doing a technical review of the site to make sure that there aren’t any issues which could be causing Google to see things on the site which aren’t or shouldn’t actually be there.  Technical issues can certainly contribute to any Panda impact your website is facing, so here is a list of some of the things which could affect your rankings:

  • Robots.txt files not blocking the correct pages on the site – such as tag pages or duplicate contact forms
  • URLs creating duplicate versions of pages such as blog listing pages available with and without a page 1 link at the beginning
  • Incorrectly used Canonical Tags
  • Duplicate or missing title tags and meta descriptions
  • Broken links and internal linking issues
  • External links to your site – make sure there are no broken links
  • Social sharing buttons – make sure you have strong social sharing calls to actions and are using social media regularly to help engage with customers. Don’t forget Google+ when doing this.
  • Content strategy – add regular, relevant content to your site to boost authority with search engines and visitors

 

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About the author

Emily Mace

Emily Mace

Emily joined Vertical Leap in 2008 and is now the Senior SEO Campaign Delivery Manager. Emily previously worked in training, IT Support, Website development as well as SEO and worked for local Government departments and Tourism South East. Emily gained Google Analytics Individual Qualification in 2011, and regularly blogs on the technical aspects of SEO, sharing her expertise with our readers. Follow on Google+