You have no doubt heard of Google’s “Panda Algorithm,” and you may have even heard that Panda looks for high-quality content, but what exactly is Panda looking for?
In order to answer this question, we first must understand what Panda measures. The content issues surrounding originality, quality and interactivity are more easily understood when we realize how Panda works.
Thick Content vs. Thin Content
Many websites have suffered because of simple lack of content. While there is no definitive rule on how long a page should be, most Page 1 ranking pages are between 1,500 and 2,000 words after HTML tags are removed. This may sound like a lot if you have only 200 words on your page, but you may be able to “cheat” a little by combining several smaller pages together into one larger page with tab navigation to make it easy to read.
Duplicate Content vs. Original Content
If your content is duplicated over pages or copied from another website, Google will not rank it. Therefore, it is important to have original content on your website. Press releases can also count as original content, and you can even include product descriptions and other information and still have original content all across your site. Remember that photos and other non-word content also count.
What Is Top-Heaviness?
Besides ads above the fold, anything else that is not content can also trigger a red flag to Panda. If users have to scroll down to get useful content, the page is considered “top heavy.”
If words are not the only thing that is considered content, can you have just pictures above the fold? The answer seems to be that if your “content” is clickable, Google will recognize it and you can avoid the top-heaviness issue. This means that you can use navigation buttons, clickable photos and tabs as “content” above the fold and avoid running afoul of Panda.
If your website is not already full of great images, add some! Photos are rich content in Panda’s eyes. You can further increase the push of these photos by optimizing them according to Google standards. This could mean reversing the images to make them “original” or adding details in the photos to make them unique.
Above all, you want to engage users. When Google measures your page, the most important thing that it will look for is user experience. One way to measure this is in the way that the website is used by those who visit. Be sure you get them there and keep them there!