Google made an update to their algorithm late February 2011 that has greatly affected many sites and caused a decrease in traffic. The update was called the “Panda” update (aka the “Farmer” update). Google normally does major updates to their algorithm once every 1-2 years. The Panda update is a major update. This is all in an effort for Google to produce the best search results and foil black hat SEO techniques. In general Google always has the searcher in mind and they change their algorithm so as to ensure black hat SEO techniques are not effecting the relevance and high quality of the results on their search engine.
So how do you know if the Panda update effected your website? Quickly check your website analytics from January 2011 until today. Check if you see a sudden decrease in traffic from the end of February until now. Also check on Google Webmaster Tools what words you are currently ranking for and compare that to the keywords you were ranking for before.
Who did the Panda update effect? Generally if you are a website that has high quality content and it is not duplicated elsewhere, Panda would not affect you. Google’s algorithm is notorious for focusing on off page factors like in-links, but this update actually focused on on-page factors.
How do you ensure your website is not negatively affected? Make sure you are not using any black hat techniques on-page like keyword repetition too many times (keywords should be repeated below 5% of total words on page to be safe). Make sure keywords are not repeated next to each other and the copy of the page and meta tags are not ‘spammy’. Also check if there are sites out there that are copying your content like article sites, other industry blogs etc. If they are, ensure your duplicated content is removed post haste. Content should be 100% unique on each of your websites and within the website.
If you play by these rules you will find that this latest Google update actually helps your website rank higher and drops your competitors websites off the first page results as a penalty for using spammy SEO techniques. I have discovered the majority of our websites going up since the algorithm update are due to:
1. Having a respected and historically ‘clean’ domain,
2. Having relevant on-page content,
3. The website is built in a standard and clean way (no extra flash or java to slow it down)
4. No black hat SEO techniques were employed on-page or off-page
(source: www.searchengineoptimizations.co) DUKNDNQTZVTU