Google Panda Farmer Update 

So Google’s most recent algorithm update now has a name - it’s fondly known as Panda or Farmer Update. Anyway, this update was naturally a much discussed topic at the recent SMX West 2011 event, and Vanessa Fox of SearchEngineLand posted a summary of what was discussed…

a) Substantial low quality on a site can cause the rankings for the entire site to decline (even for the high quality pages).

b) Evaluate your web site for poor quality pages (not useful, poorly written, non-unique, or thin) and remove them.

c) Overall user experience is likely to be important: design and usability, ad-to-content ratio, brand perception.

d) Look at both content and page templates (do the templates overwhelm the pages with ads? Provide a poor user interface?).

e) After ensuring all content on the site is high quality, focus on engagement and awareness (through social media and other channels).

f) Diversify into other channels and even within search, look beyond web search at Google News and “one box” style results such as blogs, images, and videos.

g) We can potentially learn from content farms, particularly in how they pinpoint what audiences are interested in and what problems they are trying to solve as well as how they harness crowdsourcing.

Honestly, it’s really quite easy to spot a Content Farm/low-quality site if you’re an Internet Marketer. The common observations, which can be easily tracked by Google and used as a measure of quality, that you’ll find on these type of sites are:

- duplicate/spun content, poorly-written content and shallow content.
- little or no backlinks to the content themselves.
- little or no social mentions, i.e. on Twitter, Facebook, social bookmark sites, etc.
- impossibly high number of articles posted everyday.
- lots and lots of ads, especially Adsense.

I personally feel the above are the 5 most important factors to look out for, to avoid being penalized by the mighty Google.

In a related update, eHow.com (which somehow managed to escape unscathed), has overhauled their website to include features that improves the quality of their content - clearly not taking any chances. Webpronews wrote an interesting article about the changes and it’s worth a read.