Affiliate Summit April Meetup: Panda Updates – Why It Developed and How You Can Avoid it April 30, 2012

The recent changes made by Google’s Panda update over the past year have changed the way many people strategize their SEO campaigns. What people have failed to realize, as pointed out by April’s Baltimore Affiliate Summit speaker Rob Adler, is that many of the changes that must be made to keep Panda away from your site (and destroying rankings!) are on-page related.

The more recent Penguin updates, are another matter – for now we’ll stick to Panda, which was the topic of Baltimore’s April Affiliate Meetup.

The April meetup marked the one-year anniversary of Affiliate Summit Meetups in Baltimore, which included faces who have been to all 12 meetings as well as marketers from Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and Canada! These meetups take place on the last Tuesday of every month at the Buy.at offices in Locust Point, Baltimore. They are open to anyone with an interest in affiliate marketing and online marketing in general. The topics change every month and we’re always looking for passionate individuals to join our conversations or volunteer to present.

Rob Adler, President of The Link Builders, discussed with the group the history of the Google Panda updates, how it has evolved, its purpose, and how individuals can prevent their websites from being caught in algorithm crossfires on Google.

Highlights from the presentation included:

1: Panda updates have been modified more than 10 times since it was released publicly in February 2011.

2: Panda (originally named the “Farmer Update”) was thought to be created for the purpose of taking article directory websites such as WikiHow, eHow, etc. off the front pages of SERPs. Google was attempting to make front page results more user-friendly with less in-content ads and a clearer representation of an answer to the search query.

3: Article “farm” sites like eHow did not lose the anticipated SERP positioning, whereas websites such as Ezine Articles lost the majority of of their front page rankings.

As Rob pointed out, Ezine Articles and other sites that were affected by the Panda Update lacked valuable contextual content “above the fold”. The websites that had huge banner ads, multiple ads and little to no content above the fold were penalized by Panda and deemed as lander or “bounce” pages.

These types of pages usually do not answer the users question and simply push the user to another page via an advertisement which may or may not benefit the user.

To prevent your website from falling victim to continued rounds of Panda on-page scrutiny, Rob proposed the following solutions:

– Take down advertisements scrolling across multiple areas of your homepage that are above the fold.

– Change sizes of ad blocks so they are not the typical sizes of banner space dimensions.

– Place valuable contextual content above the fold as well as below that’s relevant to the topic promoted.

– Remove any huge banners/scrollers/widgets, etc. that take up the majority of above the fold real estate.

Thank you to everyone who attended this month’s Meetup, and a big thank you to Rob Adler for his informative rundown of the Panda updates as of April 24th, 2012.

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Nick Cuttonaro

Nicholas Cuttonaro is an Internet Marketing professional specializing in search engine optimization, lead generation, and online reputation management.

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