In February 2011 Google launched Panda, an algorithm update that was designed to streamline search results within the US. The aim of this update is to filter low quality and irrelevant sites from search listings and deliver the user trustworthy and comprehensive results.

However, as a consequence of Panda some legitimate sites have seen a fall in their rankings. On the 12th April, Panda was subsequently rolled out to all English language queries, bringing its effects to the UK.

Low quality content is considered to be anything that is superficial, copy and pasted, unoriginal or unhelpful to users. Content such as this tends to come from sites known as ‘content farms’, for example ‘How To Wiki’s’ or article directories.

The Guardian and SEOmoz have recently reported that since Panda’s introduction sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Linkedin and Mashable have all seen a rise in their ranking across a variety of search terms. However, sites such as Computer Weekly, Hubpages and very surprisingly, Play have seen their rankings drop and their site fall from the first two pages across some search terms, and as many of us know past page two can mean out of sight, out of mind.

The Guardian stated that sites that have fared well from Panda are sites that people spend a long time reading the pages of. Google has always stressed the importance of high quality, original content when attempting to rise up in the rankings, and with the introduction of Panda this is even more important. Creating fresh content is one of the simplest and most effective techniques any site has at its disposal. Blogs, press releases and well optimised pages can all contribute to keeping visitors reading your pages for longer.

Here at Zeta we closely monitored the effect the Panda update had in the US search results, and then in turn the effect it had in the UK. We understand how important a high Google ranking can be to any business, therefore we know how difficult it can be if those rankings fall. If you are concerned about how Panda could affect your ranking why not contact us and see how we can offer your site a SEO health check.

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