How I Avoided The Panda Farmer

by James Hewson · 26 comments

This is a guest post by James Hewson, a freelance writer living in UK and working for a SEO company: RMGSEO. Find out in this post, how james easily managed to avoid the panda farmer for himself and his clients without any loss of traffic, that many other websites are noticing after the Google’s panda farmer update.

I am sure many of you reading this will have heard about the recent algorithmic changes Google has made to its US and now all English-speaking indexes. For those who do not, they were aptly named the ‘Farmer and Panda’ updates – I like to refer to them combined as the ‘Panda Farmer’!

The first update only a few weeks ago (Farmer) was a major change in the ranking algorithm used by Google and impacted around 12% of websites, some large and some small. Following the fallout of this update (a number of high-profile websites were dropped right out of the first few pages) some tweaks were made and a further smaller update was implemented to mop up the mess (Panda).

In simple terms the update attempted to clean up Google’s search results by only showing sites which were worthy to be holding the top spots. Some of the factors included the use of duplicated and scraped content, RSS aggregator sites and general content farms.

To a certain extent I can see how this has improved results for users but in my case the update has not changed many positions that I monitor for my clients.

How Did I Avoid The Panda Farmer?

I avoided the updates for a couple of fundamental reasons;

  1. All content I create for my clients is detailed, in-depth and no less than 500 words. I always ensure that web pages are robust and can stand up to changes now and into the future (future proofing if you like) through publishing only quality unique content.
  2. Backlinking campaigns that I oversee for my clients are only directed towards sites with a specific ‘domain authority’ penned by the highly acclaimed seozmoz.org organisation. It provides an effective indicator that any links you are thinking of dropping to a website are only left on websites which have some degree of clout. You can check out the tool here – it is called ‘Open Site Explorer’.

The problems that many websites faced were the devaluing of their links already gained prior to being captured by the Panda Farmer. As a result of the update, many hundreds of thousands (if not billions) of links were devalued because they resided upon websites which the ranking algorithm now deems to be weak.

Coupled with this, on page content which was deemed to contain little content of value was also devalued. With these two factors combined any sites which participated in linking tactics without much due care and diligence applied to the sites they left links on, saw dramatic downward movements in the serps.

There are two important factors here to consider for your website into the future;

1. Quality Unique Content

I view content (and so should you) akin to a writing a great song; if its catchy and memorable it will stand up to the test of time and you will receive royalties (visitors) for many years to come – quality content will never go out of date.

2. Back Linking Campaigns

It is far better to take your time and obtain only quality authoritative links to your website. Using the open site explorer to mine links is quite straight forward and will ensure that you are only sharing your website with respected domains. This will ensure you have a linking profile which is only made up of respected profiles which will sustain your website positions far better.

When you step back and take a look at the changes nothing here is groundbreaking. If you toe the line and maintain the quality in all areas of SEO your website will stand proud today and into the future.

Let me know your thoughts on this simply by using the comment form below. Tell me if you have taken any different approach after the panda farmer update for your website content and backlinking tactics. Plus, I am also interested to know what has been the impact of this Google’s panda farmer update on your blogs/website traffic etc. So again, use the awesome comment form of SmartBloggerz below to let me know ALL THAT!

About James Hewson

James Hewson is a freelance writer from the UK and specialises in the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) niche. He works for a number of high profile companies and is currently involved with RMG SEO Services in Sussex. Follow my Twitter Page for news and more interesting articles and SEO tips.

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Shaan @Geeky Stuffs May 3, 2011 at 12:26 pm

As said above, unique content will never be outdated…. If you got nice stuff then you do not need to worry about the algorithm changes

Terje Sannarnes May 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm

I think that in order to avoid Panda update website owners have to do two main things – always provide 100% original content and decrease the space of advertising. If you have a lot of advertising at online resource you can do the following: either decrease the volume of advertising or add more text to a website.

Arun Wilson May 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Nice post… I think Google Panda is not affecting all sites…..

Shyam @ScorpionGod May 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Ahh haaaa great. For me I’m always write my articles too. But may not be perfect every time. And I’m always try to get backlinks from commenting on blogs like this blog. So is that right and good for me?

Cheolsu June 6, 2011 at 11:22 pm

I believe this is a great move by Google to make fresh and unique content to show up first in the search results. Getting only quality backlinks is the key.

Jim June 12, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Great article. Regarding writing a quality article that is “in-depth and no less than 500 words,” that’s easier said than done. For example I’ve written an article about diabetic socks; while it is an important product that requires an in-depth description, even with that there is just so much that can written about such a simple topic before you run the risk of your readers starting to get glassy-eyed.

James Hewson June 13, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Hi Jim – I know where you are coming from. The trick is in these cases to use other mediums to bring more value to users. A good example is video which can help extend the benefit of a smaller word count as can images. If you do what you can to help the searcher whatever your subject material, you will be well served by Google. Ideally the more text the better but in these cases if what you have written is of great quality with the addition of images and video, you will have a valuable piece of online real estate which users will appreciate as will the search engines.

Danielle June 14, 2011 at 2:13 am

I have read a lot of people complaining about these changes to Google’s algorithm but the way I see it is the only reason you should be worried is if you know your site is crappy, scammer stuff that no one actually wants to have in their search engine results pages. So if there were less garbage and shady marketing practices out there the changes would come less frequently but as is, it is not something that straight-up hard working marketers should have to worry about. But thanks for the breakdown of what exactly all the fuss was about 🙂

Jim June 14, 2011 at 4:58 am

@James – Thanks for your suggestions, I’ll implement them on one of my sites and see how it goes.

Concepcion Harrington December 14, 2011 at 2:27 am

Nice post… I think Google Panda is not affecting all sites….. I have read a lot of people complaining about these changes to Google’s algorithm but the way I see it is the only reason you should be worried is if you know your site is crappy, scammer stuff that no one actually wants to have in their search engine results pages. Hi Jim – I know where you are coming from.

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