photo of young panda climbing a tree

As we do with any major change in search engine technology, we at LexBlog recently revisited our SEO best practice information for blog publishers on behalf of our clients following Google’s recent (5/20/2014) algorithm update (“Panda 4.0”). For background, Panda is the Google-given name for a series of algorithm changes first implemented in February 2011 that pushes better-quality content up higher in search rankings. Since then, Google has worked hard to better determine how to automatically measure the quality of content (separating high- and low-quality content), updating Panda to include additional content signals and even dedicating a human team of quality raters led by Matt Cutts to personally review content. In reviewing analysis of the change in the weeks following the rollout of Panda 4.0, we were delighted to discover that the update is good news for authentic and passionate blog publishers. (And, I was personally delighted this update gave me an excuse to search for adorable panda photos on Flickr Creative Commons.) Google’s update is another step forward in putting “best content first” for search engine users, and subject matter experts have the greatest opportunity to share quality information because they truly know their stuff. One of the most helpful things I’ve read in the aftermath of the Panda 4.0 update is a great summary of what Google defines as “high quality” content and what signals Google uses posted by Denis Pinsky of Forbes (contributed by Marcus Tober). Tober writes:

Some of the main characteristics that Google feels are important to the quality of a web page are; trust, value, written for searchers (rather than second guessing what might rank well), comprehensively covering a topic and originality. These are elements most of searchers would probably use to define a quality page.

And, Tober provides a great list of Google’s own definition of “high quality”:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?

Other analysis of the Panda 4.0 change also provide similar conclusions about Google bringing “high-quality” content up in rankings, and moving “low-quality” content down in rankings. For additional reading from other experts, see:

LexBlog client? What questions do you have about SEO and/or the latest Panda update? Post your question in Support Center to discuss with other members of the LexBlog network. Image cropped. Original photo courtesy of Flickr user klawed.