Panda 4.0. What your website design & development company doesn’t know can hurt you.

Google’s infamous Panda algorithm has been the bane of website design & development companies (and SEO companies). They practice what we at Kirk like to call “SEO lite.” Using this method, they throw some keywords on the website, then hire low cost, third country (or even state side) freelance writers to put out second rate off page content (usually in the form of press releases) in the hopes that the backlinks from those releases will be looked favorably upon by Panda and Google.

SEO lite as currently practiced by website design & development companies used to work quite well back in 2008. Not any more. Panda upped Google’s ability to discern bad off-page content (i.e. junk written by bad writers). The result has been manual actions (moving websites down in the rankings) and in many cases, delisting websites all together.

Which begs the question: What is your website design & development company doing for you? Or, perhaps, more accurately, what is your website design & development company doing to you? This question has grown in importance now that Google has released Panda 4.0, which means that the algorithm has become even more discerning as to quality of off page content. Below are 20 questions Panda 4.0 uses to determine the search ranking of a given page:

  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topi
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

If you’re paying a website design & development company for cut rate SEO, or your paying $5 per post for off page content, you can see how you might run afoul of Panda 4.0.