Google Panda: SEO lessons for Quality Score

There are many lessons learned in SEO from Google’s Panda algorithm that help with creating web pages of higher quality according to Google’s criteria.  The same lessons can be applied to improving your  Quality Score in Adwords.  I will first touch on what some of these lessons are for SEO and then how they can be applied to improving your quality score in PPC.  Raising your quality score can of course have a direct impact on lowering your minimum bid requirement and improving ad placement.

 

Panda and SEO: Refresher

A couple of introductory remarks on Panda are helpful first.  The Panda algorithm gets updated on a regular basis and it is important to keep up with these whether they are significant changes or just data refreshes.  The timing is important because they help you gauge whether a change in your traffic or visibility is due to Panda or some other explanation such as a change in your competitive landscape.  It also helps you gauge whether you have waited long enough after Panda related fixes have been implemented to determine if they have worked to fix any problems you had. Some recent Panda updates have been

Some important criteria for quality in Panda are:
  • Low click-through % from Google’s results pages (for page or site).
  • High % of boilerplate content (the same on every page).
  • Low or no quality inbound links to a page or site (by count or %).
  • Low or no mentions or links to a page or site in social media and from other sites.
  • High relevance to search query
  • Is this a real company (transparent  contact info)
  • Google has said that “low quality content on part of a site can impact a site’s ranking as a whole.”
Determining if you’ve been slapped by Panda:
  • Check your Analytics against the dates corresponding to Panda releases:
  • Look at Traffic Sources and narrow the report to non-paid Google traffic in the U.S.
  • Look for any surprising drops in traffic that coincide with Panda release date(s).

Large Bear Cat

What is a Panda?
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Synapsida
Class:Mammalia
Order:Carnivora
Family:Ursidae
Genus:Ailuropoda
Species:A. melanoleuca
The Chinese character for it translates to: “Large Bear Cat”  – a cross between a bear and a cat?

What is Google Panda?

It is a cross between an algorithm and a penalty. It’s somewhat of a hybrid since Matt Cutts says it is 100% algorithmic, BUT it does not run everyday.  This affects how you diagnose, test, and plan or implement recovery from Panda.

Lessons for Landing Page Quality Scores

An important part of your quality score, is the landing page experience.  Here are some  things to keep in mind that may affect the quality score for your landing pages:

  • Even if your landing page is great, other low quality elements of your site may bring down the quality score for that page
  • Have unique content on your landing page (avoid boilerplate copy)
  • Social signals can help here just as they help in SEO
  • Make sure your bounce rate is not too high (site metrics)
  • Have transparency: include easily accessible contact info, privacy policy, etc.
  • Make sure the length of time on the page is not too short (user engagement)
  • Make sure the copy is relevant to the search query:
    • include supporting relevant terms
    • use terms from Google’s related searches feature
Google Panda: SEO lessons for Quality Score was last modified: August 27th, 2012 by Michael Marshall
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