Google Panda Ranking Factors, Recovery and Other Implications

Google Panda is no longer a separate algorithm to decide content quality. It is now a part of Google’s core ranking algorithm. In case you haven’t gotten the news, here’s the link to the update.

It’s been a few days since Google announced it, and SEOs are confused already.

The confusion is nothing new; it’s been in the industry for long because of Google Panda ranking factors being undisclosed. The latest announcement takes it to a new level. Two things that we know for sure about Panda are it scales content in terms of quality, and it’s

Not real time

Back in July, when the news of the refresh broke out, some speculated it to be a real time update, chiefly because of its extremely slow nature. Webmasters failed to reach to a consensus over whether the update is real time.

But Google’s Gary Illyes has recently made clear that Panda is not real time.

What this means is neither Google will check anything, nor will the webmasters receive any update in real time. Beyond these two things, we don’t know much. Some webmasters are insisting us to expect

Silence from Google

Google has always been tight-lipped about its core ranking algorithm. Does that mean we won’t get to hear anything about Google Panda ranking factors in the future? If it’s indeed the case, then webmasters, especially the ones, whose sites have been hit by Panda have reasons to worry.

That’s because Google Panda recovery has hitherto been easy thanks to information provided by Google. For instance, Google’s representative Pierre Far spoke a volume when Panda 4.1 update was released in September, 2014. But in future, Google may not disclose anything, making Google Panda recovery hard.

Panda will be regular

It’s not an anticipation, it’s been confirmed by Google’s John Mueller. The following is what he said from a Google Hangout session:

It’s something where we we we try to look at the quality of the website and understand which ones are higher quality, which ones in general are lower quality and take that into account when ranking the site. This is essentially just a way of kind of making those updates a little [bit] faster, a little bit more regular.”

Even though he added that it’s his anticipation, and he’s not 100% sure, given how all the tips from him turned true in the past, we should believe him.

What differences will it make?

More penalties

After speeding up and becoming regular, Panda may hit more sites than it did in the past. Webmasters fear Google Panda ranking factors because they don’t fully understand those factors. Those, who got hit, did their best to recover, and those who didn’t get hit became afraid to play the game without the rules. They resorted to using and safe and industry approved techniques.

If Panda becomes regular, this fear may cement and become permanent. The subservient marketers may feel scared to venture out from the outdated SEO frame, and the daredevils may get penalized. And the regularity of the update might make a Google Panda recovery difficult because webmasters may not get enough time to recover from the hit.

Search query percentage

All the hitherto released Panda updates have affected some specific percentages of search queries in English language. Whenever Google officially admitted the release of a Panda version, it articulated what percentage of search queries would be affected by the update.

On a technical level, the information didn’t help webmasters much. But it helped them understand the expansion of a particular update. For example, many webmasters had a sigh of relief in July knowing Panda 4.2 will affect only 2-3% of search queries.

If this info remains undisclosed, they’d have a difficult time picking from the pool of search queries.

Quality guidelines

We know Panda deals with content quality. But Google doesn’t seem to be satisfied with Panda alone. In May 2015, Google released an update, and later confirmed it as the sequel of 2013 Phantom update, focused on quality. What this indicates is after making Panda classified, Google in future, may lay down quality instructions via Phantom.

Details on how Phantom assessees quality are not available. The industry is busy speculating. Among some of the popular opinions, one is “How-to” type posts are given better quality score than other posts.

My suggestion to content marketers is keep following the content marketing tips that you are following now until these start to hurt you. There’s no harm in writing “How-to” posts. In fact, it’s recommended because such posts are read by many, and trigger scores shares. Alongside, work on your site’s layout, and make it mobile-friendly. Gauging the Google Panda ranking factors could save you from possible hits, and make Google Panda recovery measures unnecessary.

What do you think of the article? Do you agree with our analysis? Do you want to differ with us? Why? Let us know what you think in the comment section below

About Supriyo Das

Supriyo Das is a thinker and a doer, he writes on several areas including online marketing, internet of things, cloud computing, etc. When not working, he plays shootout games. To connect to him, add him on Google+ and on LinkedIn

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