It’s been a while now since Google has announced their latest search algorithm change known as Farmer/Panda which was introduced to get rid of or decrease the value of low quality content websites and link/content farms. There is number of specialist blog posts analysing the aftermath, including Search Engine Land’s ‘Who Lost In Google’s “Farmer” Algorithm Change?’, SEOMoz’s ‘Analysis of Winners vs. Losers’ or Business Insider’s ‘Google Continues To Tweak Its Algorithm, Creating High Volatility’. There is very useful information there on what to do if your website got penalised. If you website hasn’t been impacted by the Farmer/Panda update then you should probably understand a bit more about what the factors that can trigger Google’s penalty are.
Low Quality Or Duplicated Content
Ok, that one really is a no brainer, right? Poor quality or/and duplicated content is the reason for the Farmer/Panda update.
Intrusive Or Excessive Advertisements On The Page
Turns out that websites which got penalised have a lot of ‘in-your-face’ advertising. This also ties in with another observation which relates to the design of the page – more attractive and ‘cleaner’ sites have stayed where they were or improved in Google SERP.
Website Usage Data Statistics
According to SEOMoz research, it looks like Google may also be looking at and analysing user stats, e.g. click-through rates, time on site, bounce rate, exit rate, etc. After all, Google is quite good at providing analytical tools and crunching numbers so it’s all there for the taking.
Google has been using quality raters in search for some time now but all those AI and computer-learning algorithms may have just been assigned a new task – to evaluate which pages/websites/domains provide ‘likable’ content. Good blog post on ‘Google Quality Raters’ from Search Engine Land.
Another signal that falls into this category is social media sharing. Are your posts popular on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn? If you think they should be then help yourself a little bit and share your post using your own accounts and groups to start the conversation.
Content Analysis & Topic Modelling Algorithms
Wow, that sounds serious (and pretty clever too). Citing Rand from SEOMoz: “topic modeling algorithms, those that calculate/score readability, uniqueness/robustness analysis and perhaps even visual “attractiveness” of content presentation could be used (or other signals that conform well to these)” .
User Generated Content – UGC
Ok, this one is quite simple. Just look at comments on your blog or any other UGC block of content and ask yourself: Is it actually useful what I’m reading? Or is it full of junk and completely irrelevant content and links?
First results have also shown that news/content aggregating websites which haven’t been impacted by the Panda / Farmer update actually have a proper site structure and good internal linking schema in place (and not only thousands of external links).
Google News Inclusion
It’s not the easiest task to get your posts into Google News but if your content is really newsworthy then now is definitely the time when you should give it a go.