The Eight Most Important Actions to Avoid Being Penalized by Panda 4.1

Illustration of a stage with a giant panda1. Be sure your browsers complete the intended task on every page

This means that if it is a sign-up page it should say so clearly within three seconds of your page loading, and your users should finish with the page by signing up. If it is a page for downloading information, then it should say clearly the type of information that can be found above the fold and the information should get down-loaded by users.

Make good use of user metrics and analytics to verify that for the most part your pages are browsed and used as intended.

If you find that your browsers bounce quickly back to Google then clearly your page does not work and you need to make some modifications to see that it is completed as intended which will indicate to Google that users are happy with the content they found.

2. Aim to include several offsite references

The more people are talking about your site (in a positive way) the better it reflects the content you include. Ideally you want others to point to your site as a good source of excellent information. Best of all is if you can get recognized ‘experts’ to engage with you as this indicates to Google that you really have a site of quality.

One way to achieve this is to add references to other external websites and pages that complement the information included on your site. Often this will get you reciprocal mentions on other sites too.

Another is to make good use of social media and participate in conversations related to your field. You could search and answer browser questions related to your area of expertise. The more recommendations, ‘likes’, ‘shares’ and positive comments you can collect the more you will boost your online profile and add to your credibility.

Include links that are topical, relevant and positive, of course. Check out all the forums, blogs, online newspapers and magazines and start conversations with them to make them aware of your existence and what you do and so that there is more likelihood of them linking back to you.

Include reviews: these work best if they are from independently verified sources that are readable by Google. This includes Google+, Yelp, Zagat and of course industry-related institutions/organizations and the Better Business Bureau, Wikipedia or other recognized online forums.

You can also request your users to review your site and services as this can generate conversations that may eventually lead to your site and services being reviewed by an independently verifiable source.

Again, the idea is to show Google and the other search engines that your high quality site and services are good enough to spark positive comments among your user base and wider afield.

3. Be sure to include 100% correct business information on every page

This makes it easy for your browsers to make contact with you – and isn’t this the whole point after all? Make sure your local phone number (not just your mobile phone number), address and other contact information is prominently displayed on every single page, every time it opens. Add a pithy line or two of text alongside that explains your mission statement. Leave no doubts as to who you are, what you do and how to reach you. Add up-to-date copyright information in the same location so that it is clear that you are serious and reputable.

4. Cite every one of your sources

Don’t forget that Google started out as an academic resource and plagiarism in all shapes and forms will not be tolerated! Instead of copying information outright, add a link to the site that you find so quotable. This will prevent Google and the other search engines perceiving you as ‘dishonest’, will demonstrate that you are au fait with the top players in your particular field, and will show that you are prepared to recognize quality where you see it instead of simply hoping that some of their glory will reflect on you too!

5. Avoid repeating keywords

Absolutely do not keyword-stuff – this will definitely raise red flags. Instead use synonyms, keyword phrases and related vocabulary that build together to create meaningful text that adds to the greater picture and places your content in a clearly defined context.

Likewise be strategic in your use of internal links – be sure they are relevant and appropriately placed and do not litter the entire page.

6. Do not add content unless it is meaningful

The aim is for quality, not quantity, and repeatedly posting too much poor or irrelevant content will not keep your website fresh but will instead do your site a disservice in the eyes of the search engines.

Aim for your content to be taken up by others and shared across the net, not rather than ignored.

7. Know your grammar and spelling rules

Sloppy, badly written or grammatically incorrect content will turn away browsers and defeat your attempts to raise your profile. Proofread all content before uploading to your site and then double check once it is there to make sure your pages appear as you would like. Rework any pages that display error messages so that they load as intended.

Make a point of reviewing your site regularly to be sure that all continues to work as you would like.

8. Be sure that advertisements don’t interfere with browsing the site itself

One of the great irritants for users is when pop-up ads cover the text or those little boxed ads glide slowly across the screen over and over again.

Be sure that any ads do not limit your users’ ability to scroll, read, or click on the area they are interested in or this will definitely reflect badly on your site.

Ads are needed to generate revenue but be discreet in their placement and never allow them to interfere with the browser experience.

For more information about the dos and don’ts of Panda, check out Josh Bachynski’s where he has an even more extensive listing of what makes Panda 1.4 tick (or not!).

Please see our penalty removal service page if your site has been penalized or lost traffic.

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