Panda 4.0 rolled out July 17, 2015 as an algorithm update to Google’s search engine. If your site was affected by this update, or even if it was not, as Google cracks down on thin and duplicate content, it is in the best interest for every webmaster to have a schedule of maintenance to keep website pages fresh, and indexed. It is very important now to closely track changes in Google Analytics and Google Search Console, as well as other tools that show broken links, duplicate content, and indexing problems.
SEO still means quality content and quality links, but technical issues of site indexing are now just as important, post Panda 4.2.
Step 1: Continue to create robust fresh content. It’s important to create all different types of content, from blog posts, pages, polls, surveys, graphics, photos, videos, presentations, and whitepapers. A rule of thumb that seems to work for relatively non-competitive search terms is at least two new pieces of content per month.
Step 2: Audit all other content monthly, using the following steps:
- Using Analytics, create a report showing all pages with greater than 80% bounce rate – review and make these pages better or get rid of them.
- Using the “average time on site”, “average bounce rate” and “average pages per visit”, report all pages that fall 50 percent below each of these, and clean them up or get rid of them.
- Use Screaming Frog, Moz, SEMRush, or Onpage.org to identify duplicate content problems, and other site errors and fix these with redirects, canonical tags, or meta no follow, no index tags.
- Review sitemaps, robots, and URL blocking in Google Search Console. There is no known way to speed up Google’s indexing process, but you can manually fetch and submit pages that you find in error after fixing them to speed up the process.
- Use siteliner.com to identify blocks of text on a site that may be considered internal duplicate content.
- Use copyscape.com to check for duplicate content on the main pages of the site, and on all relatively new content.
Step 3: Continue creating links and citations by making strategic partnerships online, sharing content on like-minded sites, and making sure your domain appears in all directories that show up for your keyword searches. The number of links you need to create monthly will depend on the competitiveness of your keyword searches.
Step 4: Audit all links to the domain and internal pages at least monthly, as another Penguin update is probably coming shortly.
- There are tools such as LinkDetox that you can pay for to perform this reporting, or you can simply use Google Search Console to see the links pointing to the site that are identified there.
- Use Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to submit a disavow file of links that you do not want the search engines to consider when indexing your site pages.
Step 5: Monitor the brand and reviews. Set up alerts and use social media monitoring tools to keep a close eye on what is published online about the brand. Respond promptly to any mentions, both positive or negative.
Step 6: Engage socially. Especially important are G+, Facebook, and Twitter, although your specific industry likely has an important social media site that shows up in search results, and your brand should be mentioned there.
Step 7: Periodic Keyword Review. Business is always evolving as will the phrases people use to find your products and services. Perform a keyword analysis at least every 6 months.
Step 8: Monitor Search Algorithm Changes and Participate in SEO Forums and Groups. The following is a list of our favorite blogs for SEO news:
With Panda 4.2 we watched eBay and other big sites get hit with penalties, so no matter how “white hat” you think your SEO efforts are, no site is immune to Google, and every webmaster should create a maintenance schedule to stay ahead of algorithm “improvements”.
Use this free to-do list to make sure you stay on track! It’s based on an hour a day per client (though of course you may need to adjusting depending on your client’s needs).