Dates to look at:
- Original Panda: 19 April 2012
- Original Penguin: 24 April 2012
- Panda Refresh: 27 April 2012
If your site was fortunate to not be hit by the major Google algorithm updates, then your next move should be to make sure you take extra steps to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future. Below are some key things you can do to proof your site against Panda and Penguin.
- Ensure your site is designed for a good user experience and doesn’t inhibit engagement
- Key metrics to look at to determine engagement:
- Bounce rate (aim for around 30% to 40%)
- Average time on site (aim for 3 minutes to 4 minutes on site)
- Number of pages viewed per visit (aim for 4-plus pages)
- Conversion rates (aim for 2% to 5%)
- Make sure your site doesn’t load too slowly. You can get good insights into your sites current load speed as well as suggestions to increase it with Google’s page speed tool.
- Going back to elementary school days, spelling and grammar are important. Head of Google’s Web spam team, Matt Cutts has stated that more reputable sites tend to spell better than lower quality sites.
- Quality, quality, quality. Make sure your content is unique and worth reading.
- Remove any unrelated or links with very low quality.
- Build links to your site that are higher quality and come from relevant sites (an example of a relevant site would be one themed around travel or hospitality).
- Make sure you have varied anchor text for links coming to your site.
- Use internal linking sparingly. Don’t add a link to another page on your site unless it would be helpful to the user.
- Tool tip: Google Webmaster Tools now offers disavow links, which provides the ability to have Google count low-quality links when assessing your site. (Note: Be careful and make sure you know what you’re doing before utilizing this tool.)
As Google continues to fine tune the algorithm to ensure the most relevant sites are returned for a user’s query, it will be essential to create website content that is focused on the user and not search engines.
- Don’t automatically generate content. Make sure if you are creating new content, you make it as unique as possible. For example, rather than using the same basic content for new hotel packages and just changing a few words here and there, make sure you create descriptions that are as unique as the offering.
- Avoid any tricks that are intended to improve rankings, such as keyword stuffing a page or using hidden text or links.
- Don’t participate in any link schemes or use bulk link-building services. If you keep your site user focused and honest, you should have no problems with being penalized by any Pandas or Penguins in the future.
The opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of HotelNewsNow.com or its parent company, STR and its affiliated companies. Columnists published on this site are given the freedom to express views that may be controversial, but our goal is to provoke thought and constructive discussion within our reader community. Pl