Google Panda Update Guide

Google Panda

Targets | Recovery Strategies | Case Studies | Update History

Panda, also known as the “Farmer” Update was originally released in February 2011 intended punish sites with low quality content or poor user experience. If you were affected by Panda, there is probably something wrong with your on-site SEO, not your backlinks.

Other Update Guides
Google Algorithm History | Panda | Penguin | Hummingbird | Webmaster Tools Warnings


Panda Targets


Thin Sites or Thin Content

It’s still very possible to rank pages with little content, but this did affect small affiliate sites in some SERPs. It also affects sites that have lots of pages that contain very little original content.

Content Farms

Some major publishers were punished in the Panda updates. With Panda 4, Press Release sites saw lower visibility.

On-Site Over-Optimization or Keyword Stuffing

It used to be the case that you wanted your keyword in the title tag, description, h1, and content. Not anymore. Try using synonyms instead.

Sites with Duplicate Content

This is a big problem for e-commerce where titles and descriptions come from the manufacturer. You can solve this by adding custom content to each of your pages.

Sites with Near Identical Content Across Pages

Another problem with e-commerce sites where a manufacturer comes out with a new product but the description is similar.

Sites with High Bounce rates



Recovery Strategies


Add Original Content

Add more original content to the pages. If you have a large site, start with the top 50-100 pages.

Reduce Duplicate Pages / Dupe Content Issues

Sometimes CMS systems create pages with duplicate content that shouldn’t be indexed, like tag pages.

Fix URL Based Dupe Content Issues

Fix www vs non-www, affiliate tracking, http vs https, pagination canonical issues etc by using meta robots noindex, cononical tags, rel=prev & rel=next etc.

No-Index Thin Content

Add no index tags to pages with thin content.

Rewrite Titles & Descriptions

Avoid over-optimization and keyword stuffing.



Panda Case Studies

The Holy Grail of Panda Recovery – A 1-Year Case Study (Search Engine Journal)
Great case study. Involves multiple tactics including page layout clean up, removal of irrelevant links, reduction of ads, rewriting of title, descriptions, urls and content on top 100 pages and more.

Panda 4.0 Recovery Case Study (Wired SEO)
Another great case study. Recovery involves reducing amount of indexed pages, noindexing thin pages, cleaning up 301 redirects, canonical urls, and 404s.

How I Recovered From Panda (BHW)
Case study including a website audit, removal of dupe content, no content, and thin content pages, reduction of keyword stuffing, meta tag rewrites, and more.

Panda 4.0 Analysis (HMT Web)