Google Panda is the name for the latest Google algorithm change. Also known and the ‘farmer’ algorithm, Google made massive changes to its search results in an attempt to weed out content farms. The intention is to punish many sites that offer massive amounts of low quality or duplicate content.

The sites that were hit the hardest by this include E-Zine articles, Suite 101, Squidoo, and many others. Although these sites may offer good content there are also lots of spammers who create low quality content and have been ranking surprisingly high in search engines.

Basically there are lots of these sites that try to cheat the algorithm and work the system. Google does it like it very much when you do that. However, many honest sites have been hurt by this as well.

So how can you avoid being hurt by Google’s panda?

  • Unique content. Avoid the temptation to copy content from other sites or retrieve content for your site from these content farms. Several merchant sites have been injured by Panda because they use the same product descriptions as several other sites.
  • Relevant content. Its best to stay in your niche. If you are a blog about mountain climbing equipment, don’t start posting articles about baby diapers because you are being paid to do it. Start a baby diaper blog for that.
  • Quality content. When looking at your website ask yourself, “as a user, would I find this information helpful?” Until now search engines might have been fooled by lack of expertise on a topic as long as you threw the keywords in there creatively. That doesn’t work as well now. Make your content as useful as you can. Enrich it with pictures and videos.

Google’s goal is to make their search results pull the kind of sites that actual people want to see. Look into some affordable website design that doesn’t optimize for search engines only. Design your site for people and you should avoid drops in your rankings from big Google algorithm changes like Panda.