Google Announces Panda Updates Will Resume “Next Year”

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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.

Todd Bailey

Todd Bailey

Founder /Editor at pushStar Digital
Todd Bailey is the Founder/Editor of pushStar Digital. He works as Director of Search for Gen3 Marketing as well.
Todd Bailey
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  • hardknocks

    A keyword density of 5-8% that cant be right. If was reading a piece of content that mention a keyword phrase at even 5% i would be irritated. I think content that uses LSI tactics will be a much better read. And be worth more to the reader.

    • Melissa Fach
      • hardknocks

        Thank you for the article link. But are you aware that the article you linked to didn’t mention anything about keyword density. Well i didn’t read it but i skimmed through it and found nothing relevant to my comment. Thank you for trying though.

    • ArnieK

      I totally agree with you . If someone submitted an article to us with KW density in the 5%-8% range they would never write for us again,. Heck we don’t even talk KW density any more. Todd, where did you get the KW density info?

      • Chris

        The only real way anyone can make a statement like that is if there was some research done. Only Google knows what the real values are and if anyone can get them to talk, I’d like to buy you a beer. 5% KW density or more may even be necessary, especially when competing for branded terms and geo-targeted keywords.

        I do agree that the focus should be on relevance though, but I don’t ever consider something about SEO to be “right” or “wrong” and new ideas are always worth a shot. It’s all about what works for your particular campaign.

    • Glenn Ferrell

      I agree. I wouldn’t go over 3%. The important thing is writing for readers first and then keyword placement.

  • Bill G

    Those 3 things will really help a lot of people, nice write up!

  • Syed

    What do you think of page speed and user metrics ~ how much, if they will weigh in Panda at all next year. Personally, I think they already did weigh in this year and they will be considered even more seriously come 2012

  • Yashwant Naik

    Well I think Google is back to old trend where Content is King and fixing URLs and URL rewriting……

    • Will

      Well, RECENT content is king at least. Sites that have had lots of traffic to popular “evergreen” pages were greatly impacted by the October Panda update. There is even a video of Matt Cutts stating that dates on pages are one of the most important things Google is now looking at. Good, thorough, content is now being buried in search results in favor of more superficial, but more recent content.

  • karan

    Well, These three areas will play major role as they played before but as an internet marketer we have to focus more on these areas for better organic results

  • SEO Consult

    Keyword density is a base to work from and nothing else. Definitely wouldn’t advise sticking to a base of 5-8%.

    Let’s say once site has 300 words of content, an 8% density would be 24 occurrences! Or a document that has 5000 words with an 8% density, would be 400 occurrences!

    Every site and every keyword is different. There’s no magic target to hit.

    One aspect of the panda update was to do with the quality of the content. If you have a piece of content with a ridiculously high exact match occurrence of the keyword it’s going to have an adverse affect; it’s going to bring the quality of the content down – pretty ironic since you’re talking about Panda.

    Relevancy over method.

  • Nick Stamoulis

    It’s great that Google is being more transparent and providing information about these updates. It provides website owners with time to clean up their site so that they aren’t affected, or so that their rankings actually improve with the update. The key is always to provide quality (not spammy) content and a good user experience.

  • Joe

    ArnieK – I haven’t really seen an issue with having keyword density between 5% and 8% even a little higher when you are talking about a single keyword. A word like insurance or cars in an article or copy could definitely fall within this range and it wouldn’t be an issue.

  • Easy WP SEO

    I wouldn’t go over 5% keyword density myself, but as SEO Consult said, every site is different, and every piece of content as well. I have posts that read and rank well with around 5% density, and others that do well with a keyword density as low as 1%.

    In short, I just write naturally and don’t have a firm target density range. I just make sure whatever I end up with isn’t overly high.

  • Ardala Evans

    I think 5-8% keyword density is high. Yes, writing naturally so that the content flows is the way to go. Had plenty of stuffing at Thanksgiving! 🙂

  • Live Chat

    I hope the favorable updates and losses will be recovered by webmasters. Keyword density, relevant keywords and broken links are not a new in SEO practice.

  • sudha

    Since I am into content creation, this piece of knowledge about keyword density is going to help me a lot. Keyword stuffing is bad; it spoils the richness and context of things in a we page. Too much keywords act as a distraction and the viewer moves on to the next page. I believe that keyword stuffing hinders lead generation.

  • Charlie

    Wow that doesn’t seem like the best advice to spend time on!

    Surely just go ahead and stockpile some great content for 2012 over the break?!

  • Software Developer

    It’s a shame that Google relies so much keyword density and backlinks to a site, this seems like a very 1990’s of doing things and I would have thought that they would have moved on to judging quality content based on the context in which it’s written.

    It has always seemed odd that a poor quality established site with lots of irrelevant backlinks can ranks higher than a new site with great content. What ever happened to giving users the best quality search results?

  • TIM

    I agree – CONTENT is the KING right? Nobody knows what Googles secret sauce really is. That being said. I’ve seen single word density at numbers between 5% and higher with no problems or concerns. Good article to read.