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How to Audit Your Content to Keep Panda at Bay

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November 20,2013

By Jon Henshaw, Raven Internet Marketing Tools


I remember a time when more content meant more visibility on Google. The more fresh content you could write, the better. That was until Panda came along.

Panda is the name given to Google's continuous algorithm update that focuses on low quality content. Panda is significant, because it dramatically changes how content should be structured and written for sites. It's also responsible for the mysterious drop in visibility and traffic from Google that many sites have seen.

I'm going to show you how to Panda-proof to make sure your site (and its content) is fully optimized for Google.


Step 1: Identify low quality content

With Panda, it's no longer okay for your site to have a mixture of high and low quality content. Low-quality content can reduce the overall trust and authority for your site.

It's important to thoroughly review your site for articles that offer little value or are poorly written. While you can manually comb through all of your site content, one trick for quickly finding low quality content is to view landing page traffic in Google Analytics. Start by sorting your pages with the least amount of traffic and then visit and review those pages.

Once you identify low-quality pages, consider doing one or more of the following options.

  1. Delete the page. If it's not an important page and doesn't offer any value, it's best to delete it.
  2. Rewrite the content. If the page has the potential to provide value to your target visitors, consider rewriting it.
  3. Redirect it. If an equivalent but higher quality version exists, redirect traffic from the lower quality page to the better one.
  4. NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW it. Sometimes there are pages that you don't need to rank for, but they're necessary from some of your visitors. In that case you may want to consider adding <meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow" /> to the page.


Step 2: Identify irrelevant content

Low-quality content isn't the only thing to look for. Irrelevant content also matters.

Similar to having an automotive site link to a parenting site, having irrelevant content on your site isn't going to benefit you. Content for content's sake is a tactic that needs to be abandoned.

Otherwise, you risk diluting the message you're sending to Google for the target queries you want to rank for.

For irrelevant content that actually performs well, consider the same options I gave for low-quality content. If there's a way to rewrite or amend the content to be more relevant, do that instead of deleting it. Alternatively, consider redirecting it to another site that you have a relationship with.


Step 3: Fix the little things

In addition to addressing low-quality and irrelevant content, there are several other content-related actions you should consider, like:

  1. Removing or canonicalizing duplicate content.
  2. Reducing the amount of ads shown on a page, especially above the fold.
  3. Improving the speed of your site on desktops and mobile devices.
  4. Having a clear navigation and site structure.
  5. Adding structured data where applicable.
  6. With these changes plus sound online marketing tactics, most sites should see increased visibility on Google.


Jon Henshaw is the co-founder of Raven Tools, the all-in-one Internet marketing software for small businesses and agencies. Follow Jon @RavenJon


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