Panda 4.2: The SEO Factors You Should Be Monitoring

Alyssa Tyson


Image from NOGRAN s.r.o. used under CC license.

Back in the middle of July, Google announced that it would begin rolling out Panda 4.2, yet another update on the 2011 Panda update that focused on preventing low-quality sites from replacing quality pages at the top of a search. This tweak still focuses on rewarding sites with high-quality content, reminding marketers that quality over quantity remains a top-of-mind focus.

Since the rollout is happening over the next few months, it’s going to be difficult for marketing teams to determine if a drop in organic traffic or keyword rankings is correlated with the Panda 4.2 update. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be monitoring and improving your website on a regular basis.

Let’s talk about some of the key SEO factors you should be monitoring to ensure your website remains a valuable tool.

  1. Quality content – Searches have become conversational, rather than keyword-based. Google has changed search display to provide relevant answers to a searcher’s questions. Have you changed your content to be more conversational, rather than stuffing keywords and buzz words? 
  2. Organic link building – There was once a time where the quality of our link building was somewhat irrelevant. Today, Google knows if marketers ar
    e taking a spam approach and websites are punished with a lower ranking. Organic link building goes hand-in-hand with quality content – the better the content, the more organic site links you receive.
  3. Search engine optimization – Optimizing your title, meta descriptions and URLs for search are just as important as the content itself. Start with writinga killer title, including your content topic and a long-tail keyword that your target audience may search. Be sure that your meta descriptions offer a preview of what your content is about, in a way that Google can index. Keep your URLs the same as your title for consistently.
  4. Social presence & engagement – Being successful on social media is more than just having a large following, it’s important to have quality engagement with your page and your posts. Little to no engagement will seem like your brand is lacking quality content. Analyze the types of posts and content that peak the interests of your followers and develop a strategy to post more of what they want.
  5. Easy website design – Whether you have a scrolling website or a hierarchy of pages, your website design should be easy to navigate. Keeping visuals simple and easy to follow is just as important for your visitors as it is for search engines.
  6. Responsive – Along the lines of a clean website design, you want to ensure that no matter where your visitors are coming from, they can easily view and navigate your website. (If you haven’t already developed a mobile-friendly website, Google is already penalizing you after Mobilegeddon.)
  7. Page load times – You may need a developer to help you with this piece, but ensuring that you deliver your valuable content in a short amount of time is crucial to preventing a high bounce rate.

Now keep in mind that this isn’t the “be-all, end-all” of website optimization, but these seven tips will give you a starting point. Need a help getting started? Try HubSpot’s Website Grader tool and check back for more tips for optimizing your website in the coming weeks.

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