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How To Tell If You’ve Been Hit By Panda Or Penguin

Google’s introduction of its Panda and Penguin search engine algorithms in February 2011 and 2012 has had a significant impact on many sites. The primary aim of both updates is to cut down on the amount of artificial search engine inflation associated with sites that use poor quality or duplicated content, as well as irrelevant or spam directed links. Panda and Penguin both have slightly different aims, but have the shared aim of cutting down on ‘black hat’ search engine optimization that gives an unfair representation of a site’s performance in search rankings, rather than its actual usefulness for browsers.

Google Panda is particularly concerned with irrelevant or duplicated on page content, as well as sites that have empty product places, very short articles, and multiple keywords used to increase traffic. Penguin, by comparison, focuses on the amount of inbound page links that depend on spam-like anchor text, and from particular sites that are used to farm out excessive links, either through directories, or through very low quality pages. By automatically filtering sites that are believed to have used these techniques to inflate their search engine rankings, Panda and Penguin can penalize sites that have invested in poor quality SEO in the past. The effects can be dramatic on a website’s ranking, meaning that it’s important to be able to tell whether you’ve been hit by Panda or Penguin, and what you can do to recover your search rankings and follow better, ‘white hat’ SEO practices.

How to Tell Which Algorithm is Affecting Your Site

When checking to see whether you’ve been affected by algorithms, it’s worth knowing what kind of SEO you’ve used in the past, from paying for keywords in content, to using link directories. You can identify which algorithm was more likely to have affected your site through Google Analytics – the newest version of Panda was released on September 27th, following major updates on April 19th and 27th, and the most recent Penguin update was made on October 5th, following its introduction and key updating on April 24th and May 25th 2012. If you see a sudden downturn in your hits on or around these dates, then you’ve likely been affected by one of the algorithms.

The impact of either will depend, however, on whether you’ve been employing a lot of backlinks from low quality sources, many of which are de-indexed by Penguin to reflect changes in what it deems to be spam links. You’ll receive a message from Google to notify you of any penalization, which you can appeal against for reconsideration after making changes to your site. You can particularly check whether or not inbound links to your site have been penalized through sites like opensiteexplorer.org, and which have been flagged as link networks by Google.

How to Improve Your Rankings

To get back up the search rankings, and to restore your site’s reputation with Google, you’ll need to focus on employing more organic, ‘white hat’ SEO strategies. This means removing irrelevant inbound links from sites that primarily use anchor text or keywords without relevant contextual information, and producing more original content. Panda particularly penalizes duplicated content, as well as impartial or irrelevant content, meaning that it’s worth investing in high quality links using unduplicated material. For Penguin, Google have released a Disavow Links tool, which allows you to remove any inbound links that might be flagged as spam and de-indexed by Google.

Ultimately, the best thing you can do to keep ahead of Google’s algorithm changes is accept that older style SEO tactics like using link directories, spun content, or packing on-site content with keywords is not going to be as practical in future. Instead, you need to discuss with an SEO agency what strategies can best serve your business, and how the majority of your link building and keyword-optimized content is organic and not filtered by Google.

Author Bio:- Rob James is an online marketer who highly recommends web  development agency Boxmodeldigital.  Rob can be found blogging about a variety of technology related subjects, including computer hardware, mobile apps, web development, and SEO techniques.

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