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Panda 2.5: The 3 Step Recovery Program

Late last week, Google confirmed a major update to the infamous Panda algorithm. Quickly discovered by Danny Sullivan, it appeared that Searchmetrics had done a great job outlining who was hurt and who wasn’t.  Let’s take a look at that first.

Who did well

Corporate media clearly seemed to benefit from this update, especially News Corporation properties Fox News and The Wall Street Journal.   More significantly, perhaps, we can see a clear trend in improved performance by sites that contain a lot of video and audio (tv.com, ign.com, youtube.com), which even includes the previously mentioned mainstream media.  Take a look.

helped by panda

Who didn’t do well

Easily user-driven content such as cheap press release marketing and independent media did not appear to do well.  Plain article marketing was clearly a loser with this one.  harmed by google panda

The Road to Recovery

Here are 3 things that we believe that you should take a hard look at if you were harmed by Google Panda 2.5.

1.) Content Bounce Rate

Remember, the Panda algorithm is still focused on analyzing the difference between high quality content vs. low quality. Greywolf recommends doing regular site quality audits, looking at your bounce rate, and I think he has the right idea. Increasingly, SEO’s cite bounce rate as a likely Google Ranking Factor.  As easy this is for Google to measure, and as prominent as this number is in Google Analytics, we believe it would be foolish to ignore.

2.) Rich media

The site lists above clearly favor sites that have video and audio in line with their plain text. Consider using more video, and potentially audio, with your content. That might mean embedding a video from YouTube, or some music from GrooveShark. Accept that it’s no longer the 90′s – hacked up text sites made in Frontpage 95 are not going to cut it anymore; it’s time to embrace rich media.

3.) Complain a lot

Hey, it seemed to work for Daniweb this time around. While in all seriousness, it may not work for you as well as it did for Dani, the Google Webmaster Forums are always a great place to look for advice when you’ve run out of ideas for your content.  And, since this update is focused on content quality, that is exactly where you should be looking.

How was your site impacted? Leave a comment below and let us know how you’re recovering.  We’d love to hear it.

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