How to write for Google’s Panda update

Wrestling with the Panda?

If the challenge of working with Google’s Panda update is weighing heavily on your SEO copywriting mind, you’re not alone. Today’s video post addresses the ever more frequent reader question: How do I write online copy for Google’s Panda update?”

The Panda update has received a lot of attention in industry news and online forums for some time now, as many site owners have found pages that had positioned relatively well before the update have dropped – often dramatically – post-Panda.  And they’re scrambling to figure out what to do about it.

So for today’s video how-to, Heather has put together some tips for working with Google’s Panda update:

1.  Don’t Try to Trick the Panda

There are all kinds of articles and posts online about “special techniques” to get around the Panda update, or to somehow “fool” Google whereby it considers your site to have far more quality content than it actually does.

  • Don’t Do It!

The gist of Google’s Panda update is that Google wants to reward those sites that have good content with higher rankings in its search engine results. The Big G does not want icky, anemic content that fails to educate readers or otherwise convey value.

  • Instead, Take the Opportunity to Revisit Thin Web Pages & Rewrite Content

Rather than trying to “trick” the Panda or find a way around Google’s algorithm, focus instead on doing what everyone was supposed to be doing in the first place:  follow best practices and create truly valuable content that resonates with your readers and offers them a worthwhile user experience.

2.  Focus on Quality – Not Quantity

One of the issues pre-Panda was that site owners were trying to crank out as much copy as they possibly could.  So rather than focusing on the quality of content, many site owners were of the mindset:  “We need to create 20 articles around one keyword…the articles don’t need to be good, we just need them written fast and uploaded even faster.”

  • So if you feel like you’ve been writing at a break-neck pace and your content reflects that (i.e., it hasn’t been all that good), then this gives you the opportunity to step back and evaluate your writing to figure out how you can make it better.

Rather than concerning yourself with kicking out X number of articles per day/week/month, focus on content quality.  By quality, consider these parameters:

  • Content that likely will be shared
  • Content that is genuinely useful and informative

If you create content around what your readers want rather than what you think Google wants, then that will improve your copy immediately.

3.  Feed the Panda Healthy – Not Junk – Content

What Panda did was to weed out sites that churned out what Google considers “thin content.”  We’ve all seen these pages, where they positioned well in search results but when you clicked through to the site, you were greeted with horrible writing and a bunch of ads – and you could readily tell that the content was written strictly for search engines.

  • As with quality content vs. quantity “pulp,” you want to focus on what would make a good reader experience: substantive content that would be “passed” by Panda and considered good “Google juice,” rather than poor copy that the Panda will munch away and kick out of the index.
  • So again, this presents a great opportunity to winnow out any junk content that you might have on your site, and start rewriting these pages gradually so that they’re centered on your readers, targeted towards your reader persona, and offer what your readers want.

Creating high-quality, “nutritious” content that your readers will love will also do well in feeding the Google Panda what it loves. It’s a win-win solution for everyone — including that bear.

Thanks for checking in! Do you have a question for Heather? Shoot her an email at and check back next week, where you very well may see it video-answered. See you then!


















11 replies
  1. Emma
    Emma says:

    This article actually helped me learn a great deal more about the Panda beast than I was already familiar with. As the landscape for business changes, it’s so important to come up with some basic structure that keeps us in the know and able to play the game to our best ability.

    Kudos to outlining these points so well.

  2. Melanie Rembrandt
    Melanie Rembrandt says:

    Nice article Heather!

    So many business owners tend to forget about the needs of their customers and have “We do this sites” that are “stuffed” with keywords. However, customers want solutions.

    By focusing on quality content, you provide value to customers and the search engines!

    Melanie Rembrandt,

  3. Hill Country Land
    Hill Country Land says:

    These tips are the bread & butter of SEO and quality sites… this is what we should be aiming for anyway, it seems that the Panda shake up just made more people focus on it. Thanks, Ros.

  4. Nick Stamoulis
    Nick Stamoulis says:

    People that have been practicing white hat content marketing techniques shouldn’t fear the Panda updates, they should embrace them. The updates benefit those that have been focusing on quality over quantity. For those that have been focusing on quantity, it’s a wake up call about what’s important for your target audience. After all, the search engines will never buy a product from you- so you shouldn’t cater primarily to them anyway.

    • Heather
      Heather says:

      Exactly. My clients weren’t at all hurt by Panda – if anything, they benefited. I’m guessing that your clients saw the same thing. As I’ve always said – the search engines don’t pay your bills. Your customers do. Focus your content around what your customers want to read and you’ll be just fine. :)

  5. Man With Van
    Man With Van says:

    I have 2 websites. Both sites were performing very well till last week. One of the site just vanished from page 1 of google search to the darkest palce in the universe and cannot be found. Now with this site, I never did any updates, made it in html and is still on PR2.

    My other website is still visible and still in good rankings. I made that on wordpress and kept on adding new content to different pages 2 times a week.


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