The typical panda bear eats about 9 to 14 kg (20 to 30 pounds) of bamboo shoots a day. That’s a lot of bamboo. Therefore a panda will like to find places to sit down where there’s lots of bamboo to eat, rather then gather a little bit here and there. Google’s Panda is very similar it likes pages with lots of rich content. So what I’ve been noticing is sites that have home pages with 500+ words of content are generally ranking near the top of the serps. The problem is for most sites is that they were designed by a graphics first and content second developer. Usually home pages are either content bare splash pages or very shallow welcome pages. The real meaty (or bambooy) content is found deeper into the site. To make things worse it isn’t just a matter of stuffing a bunch of content below the fold of site’s homepage. Google seems to have gotten much better at detecting the layout of a page. This means it knows whether or not content is being put near the top or bottom of the page. If at the top it will have a lot more relevance then if it appears at the bottom.
So how do we make the Google Panda happy?
First if you have a splash page kill it. Splash pages are a waste, for the search engines, because they lack content and they force the user to make an extra click to get to the information they were looking for. Every click has a standard bounce rate, so a smaller and smaller percentage of users will actually get to the final page. Next make your home page rich in content 500+ words and really define what you do. Don’t babble about welcoming them to your site..they don’t care…all they want is to know how you can help them. So describe your products and services in detail. Be careful though to make sure your main keywords need to appear evenly throughout the content. You still need to keep the main theme of the page or your page will look less relevant to the target keyword.
Hopefully if you follow this method you site will recover from the Panda update and at the same time make your users happier. If you are experiencing problems with the Google Panda please don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll review your site.