Russ Jones has been studying the Panda update since it first hit the scene, and the result of his ponderings is an excellent overview of “Panda 4.1: The Devil Is in the Aggregate” on the Moz Blog. He explains his evaluation process this way:
“…the original Panda questionnaire still remains a powerful predictive tool to wield in defense of what can be a painful organic traffic loss. By analyzing the winner/loser reports of Panda 4.1 using standard Panda surveys, we can determine whether Google’s choices are still in line with their original vision.”
It’s worth taking the time to get a full mug of whatever you prefer and reading carefully while you sip and think. (Do it later & stay with me now. I’ll link again at the end of this post.) While you are sipping and reading, think about how Panda has affected your site. Have you been penalized by Google? Have you fixed the issues and seen a resulting boost in SERP?
Look At The Big Picture
One of the points Russ Jones makes is that Panda clearly looks at the aggregate of factors on a site. There’s a clear difference between winners and losers and the overall scores are what matters. This means that if you’ve been hit, it will take a holistic approach instead of focusing on a single issue before you recover.
Another point worth noting is that Panda does not reward, it penalizes. If you moved up, it was because your competitors were hit and you were not. Being a winner with Panda is like holding your position rather than moving up the ranks. The difference is more than semantic because we want to do more than dodge penalties, right?
To see your site like Panda sees it, refresh your memory with Google’s advice. But remember that Google is trying to keep its position as top dog in the search industry by being easy for people to use effectively. They know that people are not looking for junk and won’t keep using Google if they get junk. If your site is easy to use and you are meeting your customer’s needs, giving them lots of reasons to come back, you’re probably already doing what Panda looks for because you are providing high-quality content that is trustworthy and authoritative.
Okay, you can go fill your mug and read that article. But when you are done, come back and tell me what you think!