Google's Panda update has been a huge issue for a lot of websites. As I've touched on in a previous blog post, many sites have suffered due to the quality of the content that they feature on their sites. Whether the content is simply poorly written and not as in-depth as it should be, or just duplicated from other websites, since 2011, Panda has raised the bar for blog and other website content by actively penalizing websites that have low quality content. If you have seen your organic traffic dip in the aftermath of Google's new algorithm changes, it is time to take a more serious look at your website's content.
Figuring out what changes to make to your existing content on your own can be a difficult proposition - but with the free tools below you will be better equipped to take advantage of Panda's new requirements to increase your organic traffic.
Free Tool #1: ScreamingFrog
ScreamingFrog has the extremely useful ability to tell you how many words exist on a page in the "Word Count" column of their tool. After downloading ScreamingFrog, do a quick scan of your website.
Then go to the internal tab and select "HTML" under the filter tab. This should give you all of the major article pages on your website. The simply scroll over to the "Word Count" column and few how many words exist per page on your website. Usually if you have around 500 words per page on your website you are in good shape, anything lower should be inspected further.
It should be noted that it takes all words on a page, even unoriginal ones or ones that exist outside of the article body. So make sure you consider those two things when looking at the data.
Free Tool #2: Copyscape
One of the best, free, ways to find out if you have original content is to use Copyscape. Copyscape looks at the words on a webpage and quickly scans the internet to see if any duplicate content exists. Simply go to the website and paste in the URL you want to scan in the search bar. It will then list any websites that have similar, or the exact same, content as you. If you see that your website has published content after another site, take the time to repurpose the content so that it is unique to your website.
Free Tool #3: Google's "InText" Search
A very accurate (and once again, free) way to tell if you have original content issues on your webpage is to use Google's intext search. Simply copy a few sentences that exist in the middle of your article, go to Google's search bar and type in Intext:"
Then simply paste in your text, enter a closing quotation mark at the end of your content, and search!
You will then see a list of websites that have the same text strings as you. If your website isn't showing up in the main results, you may have to search through the "omitted results". If your website is showing up in the omitted results listings that is definitely a sign that you have content issues.
Free Tool #4: Panguin Tool
If you have Google Analytics, a great tool to check to see how your website is being affected after Google's announced algorithm updates is the "Panguin" tool.
The panguin tool integrates your Google Analytics information, and does not store any of the information, in order to allow you to see how organic traffic is affected after known Google updates.
Free Tool #5: SEO Visibility by SearchMetrics
This is a great tool to use if you don't have Google Analytics and there has been a known, major, panda algorithm update in the last few months. SearchMetrics provided a tool for people to see the number of major keywords a website has, and how that changes over time.
To view your website's performance, simply type in your domain in the search bar and look at how the presence of your website has increased or decreased after the Panda update was released.
Free Tool #6: Google Analytics
The most basic way to understand if your website has content issues to look at trends in your website's Google Analytics account. Now that Google has started rolling out softer Panda updates every 3-4 weeks, you can take note of the timetable of each update in order to tell how your website is being affected by Panda refreshes. Simply filter your audience so that you are looking at "Organic Traffic" only and look at your website over the last 5-10 months. Then switch the traffic view to "Monthly". If you are noticing the traffic falling every month consistently then that is a very strong sign that your website has content issues.
Cleaning up your content so that it is in-depth, original, and actually providing value to your website's visitors is extremely important in order to decrease bounce rates and increase customer loyalty. If your content wasn't quite up to standards before Panda 4.0, you really don't have a choice in its aftermath if you want your organic rankings to increase to new levels. The good news is that this is something any good website should be doing anyway.
For the responsible website owner who is willing to make the time investment to provide genuinely helpful content to their audience, Panda can actually serve as more of an excuse to take on-site content to new heights instead of just a massive organic traffic headache. Use the free tools I've laid out and take the time to create engaging, helpful content for your users and your organic traffic will almost certainly increase well beyond what your website was experiencing pre-Panda.
Have Panda-related content issues on your website? Let me know in the comments section below or by tweeting @BFMweb.