Google announced via Twitter that Panda Updates have ceased for 2011 and will resume after the New Year. Perhaps this is an early Holiday gift to webmasters that need to cultivate content and links on their existing webpages. The last update came in November and all have been considered “minor” updates, each time affecting less than 1 percent of all searches. It’s important to understand, however, that with over 12 billion searches each month that is still 100,000 effects.
Google first released Panda in February and has released six updates since. These have all been considered minor updates, although the search engine also noted that there are updates to their search algorithms “almost daily”. Now, with the writing on the wall, webmasters have a 1 month warningthat the next update should be effective sometime in January, 2012.
These are my top 3 areas to pay attention to:
Keyword Density: Google has a strict policy when it comes to keyword density ratios thanks to websites that lack quality content and simply publish a bunch of words trying to inflate their rankings. Make sure the keyword density ratio is between 5–8 percent or Google may catch the page in their next update. Read over the content and make changes (if necessary) to lower the density ratio if it falls above 8 percent.
Relevancy of Keywords: In addition to density, pay close attention to the relevancy of the keywords and keyword phrases. Reputable sites including PW Newswire and Forbes have been affected because they rank for keywords that are often abused by unscrupulous websites. Some simple ways of determining this is to keep an eye on the domain authority score and try searching for those specific keywords, carefully observing the type of sites that also rank for them. This will shed light on to the authority of the chosen keywords and keyword phrases.
Fix broken links: Sites known as “link farms” have abused the right to post relevant links on their webpages in abuse of the search algorithm. If there is content on the page and are broken links (pointing to URLs that no longer exist), seek to fix or remove them. While not intending on falsely satisfying the search algorithm, Google may think that is what is happening.
Operating a website and performing regular maintenance are necessary to ensure the page ranks well on Google. This is a clear advantage of hiring an SEO company. With Google’s “1-month warning”, webmasters have some time to perform some maintenance to ensure they are providing authoritative content that returns value to the end-user.