What does Panda measure?
This piece of content is all about what Panda measures, with particular emphasis on content.
1. GOOD ANSWER?
3. VISUALLY COMPELLING?
4. TOP HEAVY?
Introduction to Panda
Panda is just one part of Google arsenal of algorithms which decide on the rank of individual websites for any given keyword phrase. How this algorithm differs from the others is that its express purpose is to quantify the quality of said website. As quality is so vital to the success of Google it is unsurprising that this particular algorithms opinion is
vital for good ranking!
Prior to Panda/Farmer ref 12 (February 23, 2011) Google’s reputation was being undermined by spam! To date there are 935,999,0100 websites on the net – this number is increasing every second.
This begs the question what does Panda deem high quality within content? Our most comprehensive answer to this question is in itself a list of questions posed by Amit Singhal a Google Employee, who wrote down in his blog post ‘More guidance on building high-quality sites’.
I have simplified Amits’ list of 23 questions into five. These are:
1. Is it a GOOD ANSWER to the query?
- Does it answer the query? In order to do this it is generally agreed that the word count shouldn’t drop below the 600 words as hinted at by Matt Cutts There is compelling evidence that there is correlation between longer copy and higher rankings SerpIQ.
- Who’s the Author? A good writer is followed and shared by other professionals within the same field. Google knows the main guru’s in any given field. The closer the writers relationship is to these people the higher their deemed value by Panda.
2. Has it got STRUCTURE?
Aim of the content
In an excellent post by Rand Fishkin he divides content into three distinct content types.
- Consideration phase content – Main Content that supports a visitor make a decision. Content should support your OVP (Online Value Proposition). This together with your visuals and interactive elements need to demonstrate this OVP as well as instill trust in the visitor. (Does the content have, related, supplementary content to support it? This Supplementary should be provided to assist the Main content in answering the query?)
- Discovery phase content – Content is created to build awareness of your brand. This is designed to stand alone as advocate content for the brand. In addition, interesting well researched ‘discovery content’ will assist the main content in its objectives.
- Viral content – This is content that is so interesting in its own right that people just have to share it! It’s purpose its to still broaden your brand footprint to potentially attract social influencers.
Look of the Content
Josh Bachynski In his brilliant post ‘Panda 4.1 Google Leaked Dos and Don’ts’ , gives lots of insights into Panda. His recommendations pertinent to this piece of writing are:
- Does your content have useful ‘supplemental content’? There should be a clear distinction (emphasized by the design) between main content and supplemental content.
- Does your content look professional? Josh recommends that you should: Include Company Address and/ or Contact Details on every page. A Mission Statement in your About Us page. Link OUT always link out to primary sources. This again demonstrates to Panda that you have done your research and are professional enough to recognise the experts who have informed this research. No over using of a KeyWord Phrase – both within the body text and within Internal Links.
- Does it keep on Message? Just adding unrelated content for the sake of it will now count as a low quality indicator. Only Quality Content will do!
3. Is it VISUALLY COMPELLING?
- Has thought been given to how the content is presented? Panda knows that well formatted and structured pages are more palatable to readers then long blocks of text. Research shows that readers online typically only read 20% of the textual content Barry W. Cull (First Monday, Peer reviewed journal on the internet)
- Quality sites invest time and money in designing pages with visual elements that support the text.
4. Are your pages TOP HEAVY?
- Do you answer your visitors question promptly? Michael Cottam in his highly instructive post ‘Real-World Optimization’ advises that Panda measures how you design your page. The algorithm assesses what elements are above the fold. Meaningful information within this area will be seen as a quality indicator. As a non Panda you can assess what this area comprises of by looking at your pages through the Google ‘Browser-Size Analysis Tool’
5. Are you ORIGINAL?
- Panda measures the originality of you images. If you have invested in original art work you will gain quality brownie points from the algorithm. Don’t assume that because you’ve brought the copy write and changed the filename you are now displaying a unique visual. Michael Cottam explains in his article that Google can detect duplicates of images irrespective of filename.
- When Panda first came out of the jungle it had duplicate content firmly on its radar. I have found many sites (particular ecommerce sites) which have product pages with the same title and such similar content within these pages that the Moz crawler ‘Roger Mozbot’ sees them as duplicate. (Whatever the cause of duplicates, their impact is not ambiguous. Panda deems all duplicates as poor quality measurement.)