Web Marketing: How to Measure Your Website with Panda - dummies

Web Marketing: How to Measure Your Website with Panda

By John Arnold, Michael Becker, Marty Dickinson, Ian Lurie, Elizabeth Marsten

A useful tool in web marketing is measuring your website with Panda. In early 2011, Google began an ongoing rollout of its biggest ranking algorithm change ever: Panda. Panda adds overall page and site “quality” as a ranking factor. Quality still matters, but Panda changes the way Google evaluates it:

  • Sites, not pages: Until now, Google has always looked at the Internet as a huge collection of pages, rather than a collection of websites. So, if you had 99 awful pages on your website, and one fantastic one, that fantastic one could rank well. The other 99 didn’t do any harm. Now, Google looks at complete sites. So, those 99 pages could drag down the rest of your site.

  • Language evaluation: There are strong indications that Google is now evaluating writing quality. The Panda algorithm looks for spelling, grammar, and possibly even reader-friendly layouts and takes all that into account.

  • Overall site quality: Panda also ups the importance of site speed, usability, and creating something folks use. If visitors “bounce” right back to Google the moment they see your homepage, that could hurt you in the rankings.

With all these changes, you can do three things to improve your rankings:

  • Avoid duplication. More than ever, avoid duplication. Avoid even rewritten content — Google will catch anything remotely resembling a duplicate. Make sure that every page of your site has unique value.

  • Avoid “thin” pages. Lots of sites have massive collections of user profile pages, “e-mail to a friend” forms, and other pages with 10–20 words and nothing else. These pages get flagged as low quality. Because low-quality pages can drag down the entire site’s ability to rank, remove thin pages from your site, or exclude them from search engine crawls using robots.txt and the meta robots tag.

  • Use Webmaster Tools. Google provides direct feedback regarding your site in Webmaster Tools. Install it. Use it. Live by it.