Google Panda Update 2012
Google Panda was conceived to target then lower the rank of low quality content. Black hat practices of scraping content and blatantly stealing content meant that these scrapers and copyright infringers were getting better rankings than publishers creating fresh content. Google Panda update 2012 moves on to concentrate on the user experience.
An engineer called Navneet Panda created the Google Panda Algorithm. This was used to look for similarities between sites that people found to be high quality and low quality. Before this algorithm, Google relied on human testers to rate tens of thousands of sites and scaled them on design, trustworthiness, quality, speed and whether they would return to the site again.
Google Panda Update 2012 will affect sites with too many ads above the layout fold. After the Google Panda Update many content publishers noted a sharp drop in traffic. These sites fell into the category of heavy top ads.
What is the layout fold?
All sites have two sections – upper and lower fold. The Google Panda update concentrates on the upper fold of your site. Look below for a diagram to demonstrate what to do and what not to do with your layout.
The difference between the two layouts is clear. The example on the left is full of ads above the fold and the example on the right only has ads in the sidebar with content filling up the area above the fold. Here, the algorithm is showing the importance of the user experience. When the user lands on the site expecting to find the content they asked for in Google search, they shouldn’t have to be scrolling down to find their content when faced by lots of ads. I think it’s only fair though to say that the Google Panda update does not affect floating ads or pop up ads.
What should you do if you’re affected?
If you have already been affected and penalised by Google, and you have already removed or lowered the ads then do not expect to see an immediate lifting of your penalty. You will have to wait until the Google bots recrawl your content which could take a week, a month or even longer.
Even then, your penalty will only be lifted slowly as Google finds more sites with top heavy ads.
Google Panda update 2012 highlights the importance of the user experience and that we should not be obsessed with SEO and throwing any old content out there. Affiliate marketers really need to be aware of this algorithm change as Google will see the top heavy ads and apply an immediate penalty which could be in place for months to deeply affect traffic and momentum.
I regularly see content which is unbalanced. I have spoken to people who have had their content scraped and spun which is theft in my eyes. It’s wrong and you can get in a lot of trouble for getting into copyright infringement. How would you feel if you’d spend a long time developing an idea, writing it, making the video, sorting the images and making sure the keyword density is right – only for someone to look at it, shove it through a spinner and whack their name above it? That’s right, I thought as much.
So, I’m a big fan of Google’s attitude to the user experience and to rank real, original, fresh content above scraped and low quality content. It’s nice to see the possibility of a level playing field at long last.