It was one of the biggest days in Google history and it affected 12% of all sites that Google indexes within its search engine. The Panda Update, unleashed in February 2011, was meant to remove sites that are considered to be of poor quality for Google users. This includes sites that don’t offer relevant content, in-depth research, or simply use content that was already published on other sites. Unfortunately, the hit, now touted as the “Panda slap” hit sites that offered everything that Google wanted users to see, and the recovery has been slow and painful. So why did this happen?
High Bounce Rates
If you’ve got a high bounce rate for your page, Google knows that your site doesn’t offer much value or is rather spammy to the average educated user. Make sure to analyze every end of your site to get bounce rates down a bit and keep users on your site for longer periods of time.
Low Return Rate
Google loves sites that people go to regularly. It lets them know that a name is reputable and people rely on it for information. If you’ve got people leaving your site and not coming back, you may be facing the slap from the Panda. It’s time to devise content that brings people back to your page.
Low Click Through Rates
How your site looks within Google search results ultimately affects whether or not a user is going to click through to your web page.
If you’ve got sloppy copy SERP’s (search engine result pages), you’ve got to make it a priority to refine this using meta data where possible. Unfortunately, the number of factors that play into the Panda Update are almost infinite.
Fortunately, there is a way out of the Panda Update.
By updating your content, making sure that you’ve got content that’s unique to your site and your site only (hint: it should pass Copyscape), and making sure that your content is actually useful rather than spammy, you can save your web page yet. Though the update was almost two years ago, the Panda Update results are refreshed on a monthly basis.
Here is a video from Matt Cutts discussing the affects of the panda update