Google Panda has struck again, and the after effects are still taking place. According to a webzine called The State Column, their site reported a 98% drop in traffic in March. While they suspected a “glitch”, they later found it this was merely the after effects of a major algorithm update—and their site is not alone. Many other sites are reporting traffic and ranking drop offs, which are presumably occurring because of low quality.

What seems to be the cause? While the original explanation of Google is that they are trying to offer results with greater prestige, (i.e. better writing, less ads and more trusted sites) some webmasters are speculating that altered permalinks, duplicated content and altering canonical tags could be problematic.

What the overwhelming message appears to be is that Google is serious about ridding its version of the net from low quality sites – even if those low quality sites do have original content. Therefore, it is important for webmasters not only to produce high quality material, but also to maintain a clean site, a non-cluttered site, and a site with proper search optimization in HTML, CSS and any other language.

One of the big problems with Panda is that Google is not exactly proactive when it comes to resolving customer disputes. Google doesn’t have a lot to lose and thus doesn’t owe much explanation to angry webmasters who notice their falling rankings and traffic. Therefore, the only defense is to be thorough the first time around. Rather than make changes to tags, page titles or content from day to day after publishing, for the best results, proof the document in advance and then let it age naturally. Check the navigation of your site and make sure that it is user-friendly.

When you plan an SEO campaign for your small business, make sure that you take the stringent new Panda standards into account!

If you believe you’ve been unfairly targeted by the Panda updates, you can request a review from Google by going to the Google Reconsideration Form.

We will discuss the effects of Penguin in a later post.