Farmer Update & Panda-monium

It has been a few weeks since Google’s Farmer/Panda algorithim updates. Many sites were devastated by the wild fluctuations of rankings that occurred. Other sites were not hit as hard. The update has made anyone concerned about their website rankings to sit up and take notice. Most of us are still trying to determine the best way to recover from the effects of the updates and what the best strategies are for moving forward to counteract it. Here are a few ideas for determining a strategy to get back your ratings.

You need to start by finding a way to quanitify just how much you were affected. Check your Analytics programs for clues. Look for patterns in drops and significant global drops. If you were hit particularly hard by the update, you will certainly have some work to do in cleaning up the quality of your content on your site.

If your rankings were not hit as hard, but you still experienced a significant drop in rankings, you are probably being repositioned by Google after recalculating the amount of valuable content footprint from your site in it’s index.

You may also be experiencing a rankings drop for both reasons. You may have sections of quality content but still have areas that are bringing you down. Identify these as quickly as possible.

Google has been very clear that they are attacking sites with low value content. Begin by removing or blocking the thin and auto-generated content sections of your website from Google so that they will not be indexed. Low quality on one section of a site can affect the overall quality score of the site.

I have reposted a collection of strategies being discussed in various forums and collected by SEO Roundtable ( ).

Here are some strategies from separating your thin/lower quality content from the rest of your site and other tactics being used to fix their websites.

  • Address the most significantly impacted pages first, get rid of them
  • Use Meta Robots noindex, follow tag on individual pages
  • Delete the pages permanently
  • Don’t delete, improve the content of the page immediately.
  • Reduce the number of internal links
  • Improve the content X ad density ratio. More unique content on ad heavy pages
  • Remove redundant pagination
  • Use the rel=”canonical” attribute on duplicate pages
  • Do nothing quite yet, watch and see what happens
  • Revisit those dark and forgotten parts of your website, eliminate any junk
  • Address boilerplate content. Reduce it, or consider making it unique for each page
  • Give Google feedback on the update and how it impacted your website
  • Submit a reinclusion request once you have cleaned up portions of your website

One valuable suggestion on the website was to begin by determining the biggest offenders first and deal with each one individually. This was, even if there is a "site-wide" component at work on your site, the main power of the update is being focused at individual URLs.

It is unclear exactly how this update will ultimately play out. For most of us, we need to watch blogs and forums closely so we can keep abreast of the ongoing strategies that are being devised to work within the new Google Farmer/Panda Algorithm.

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