I've previously written about Google Penguin and Google Panda and how to remember the difference between them. Both of them are types of filters that Google applies to search results to improve the quality of the results we all receive.
The filters were specifically designed to remove websites that were trying to use sneaky tactics to improve ranking. Those tactics commonly included poorly written website pages and the wrong type of link building.
Google wants us all to publish new information to our website on a regular basis, but doing that takes skill, paid labor, and a bit of time. That "new information" is usually in the form of new blog posts or articles of some type. Many website owners, including retail jewelers, have outsourced this job to the least expensive company they could find.
Often times the website owner doesn't even double check the outsourced work. They trust that the work is original, and well-written, when in fact I've often found it to be plagiarized and very poorly rewritten.
Google Panda is somehow able to detect these poorly written pages and penalize you for it. Google now claims that the Panda filter is built into their new Hummingbird Algorithm that was announced in September 2013. But before that, Google was updating the Panda filter on a regular basis.
This page from Search Engine Land has a list of all the Panda Updates from February 24, 2011 through March 15, 2013. Take a close look at those dates and cross reference them to your Google Analytics. You're looking for any matching dates when the visitor traffic to your website dropped.
Hopefully you won't find any dips in your visitor traffic that correspond to one of those Panda dates; you'll need to take action if you do.
I have to be a little realistic here... Through the recent recession, many jewelers tried really hard to keep their website highly ranked in Google. Limitations on money meant that jewelers had to hire SEO agencies that promised big blogging results for a small fee. These are the jewelers that thought they were doing what they needed in order to survive through the recession.
The truth is that those low paid blogging efforts probably worked well. But since the Panda updates started back in February 2011, it's those low paid efforts that tend to be penalized the most.
Are you one of those companies that paid for the low quality writing service I've mentioned? Most who have, have also been experiencing a slow decline in the visitor traffic to their website.
There are many retail jewelers who don't have Google Analytics set up, or perhaps you didn't have it set up as far back as February 2011. For those of you in this situation you really just need to be honest with yourself...
Did you ever outsource your website writing to an inexpensive company? If so, you probably have a Panda penalty.
Recovering from a Panda penalty is relatively easy: just rewrite all the pages on your website.
Don't just rewrite the pages. You need to read through them all and ask yourself if every page of your website is valuable for you.
Do the pages thoroughly explain your services in the same way you would explain them to someone in person?
Do your blog posts tell a story that's interesting and will help support the sale of jewelry? Or are they just gibberish?
One thing to remember from now on is that we won't be able to look at a list of dates any more to see when the last Panda update took place. Instead, you just need to maintain a higher level of quality control on what's published to your website.
As I said, recovering from a Panda penalty is simply a matter of improving the content on your website. It's much easier than recovering from a Penguin penalty, which I will explain in the next Daily Golden Nugget.