What Are Google Panda Algorithm Crawling Signals

Panda Recovery Factors

Thin content removal versus fixing

Panda 4.2 Recovery Guide
Last updated 1 Feb 2016


Panda High And Low Quality Factors

Google has been extremely vague in simply telling us outright what exactly is low quality and high quality. Google hangout videos, including Twitter posts are vague and avoid the actual questions and if answered, they are shallow in nature (its not surprising that most Google employees hang out on Twitter, the limited character posts suits them down to the ground, vague, shallow answers)

Twitter must be one of the most brain dead social networks when it comes to asking for Website help.

Nonetheless, Panda as we all know targets low as well as high quality factors. Low quality signals will result in a page been filtered from search, and if low quality pages become excessive it will result in your entire site been filtered from search.

High quality signals on the other hand give your page/site a boost in rankings.

These two factors (high and low quality) work hand in hand. Lets say your page has a quality article and crappy UGC posts, Panda will analyse both high and low quality signals, crediting your page for the amazing article, but at the same time, discrediting the User Generated Comments (UGC is included in the page design)

John Mueller has confirmed that Panda checks both, crediting then discrediting.

When our quality algorithms go to your website [Panda] and they see that there’s some good content here on this page, but there’s some really bad or kind of low quality content on the bottom part of the page, then we kind of have to make a judgement call on these pages themselves and say, well, some good, some bad. Is this overwhelmingly bad? Is this overwhelmingly good? Where do we draw the line?

In an instance like this you simply remove the low quality content, which should then give your page the boost it deserves.

Panda 4.2 High Quality Signals

First and foremost Panda does not crawl and access noindex pages, nor does Panda count Adwords or non-Google traffic. Panda processes web pages based on content quality giving them a quality score.

That said and done. Besides advertising, thin affiliate content, UGC spam, thin content and other signals already mentioned in our Panda Recovery Guide, they also take into account the below mentioned.

* Panda looks for good metrics showing user engagement and satisfaction with regards to your content.

John Mueller has however denied bounce rate as been a Panda signal. BUT, has stated user satisfaction is important (as well all know) and is directly tracked by there quality algorithms. Seems extremely contradictory to me. Reason been, if your bounce rate is crap, then so is user engagement and satisfaction!!?

* Panda's metrics go as far as positive and negative reviews based on independent Google verified sources, like Google reviews. They will also check positive reputation on high authority forums and blogs, which could include news sites, Wikipedia, magazine articles and rating sites such as Trip Adviser.

* They check for authority outbound links in your content which gives then an idea of your sources, and they check for topical experts that positively reference your site/pages/articles.

* Panda will also check contact information on each page, as well as terms of use, about us, copyright, whois domain information, etc, while looking for legitimate business signs and/or customer service information.

* It is advised to use date information on pages. Panda checks for abandoned pages/sites, and sites that are not maintained as well as old or outdated mistaken facts.

* And as mentioned, quality UGC can give your site a Panda boost

The list of low quality signals below, if reversed become high quality!!? Haha, is that called circular reasoning? I am now acting like Google, by trying to confuse the situation.

Panda 4.2 Low Quality Signals

Panda low quality signals are all about user experience, engagement, satisfaction and bad content design. You possibly find some, or most of the low quality signals below are already part of the core algorithm. By fixing them can do your site no harm.

* Google has confirmed that low quality, spammy, duplicate, auto-generated user generated comments are Panda signals. Keep your forums clean from spam, auto-generated and user generated comments which can be used as negative SEO exploits.

* A definite Panda factor is off topic or multi-topic links or content on-site - you cant have a site on creation talking about porn.

* Panda will crash MFA sites, which are websites made purely for advertising.

* Panda will crash content farms, which are created for search engines rather than users.

* Panda will attack thin pages indexed on the same topic - block them or consolidate them via 301 redirect.

* Avoid junk text, single sentence pages, spun text, bad construction, spelling, grammar, and excessive page errors. And avoid simple and obvious text (dogs eat meat, dogs eat a lot of meat, dogs like meat)

* Clone sites are strong Panda factor, which at the most of times result from canonical issues.

* Keyword stuffed internal links is both a problem with the number of keywords, and the ratio of links to text on the page - Google has admitted both are signals for low quality pages in there eyes.

* Aggressive search phrase keyword use on-site, including URL sting, page content and HTML code like Title or ALT attributes - URL's with Generic words in them.

* Duplicated or aggregated tag or category content - note, the issue is not duplicate content per se, the issue is thin content that users might notice, and keyword stuffing of the tag or catogory pages and off-site dup content.

* Broken on-site links and navigation structures are a BAD user experience and will be picked up by Panda, which would include outbound links.

That said and done, Google are less concerned about 404 links that point to your site, due to the risk of negative SEO (Panda targets bad content design) excessive on-site broken links are bad content design, as well as bad user experience and will result in less engagement.

* Images and videos don't load - bad content design and bad user experience.

* ANY affiliate links or monetized links or sneaky redirects to affiliate sites that are not nofollow or cloaking (Penguin related, but could possibly be a Panda signal)

* Panda will possibly attack doorway pages that they deem low-quality - the Doorway Algorithm does however exist.

* Slow speed is a demoting factor (very little, but it is) that is already added to the core algorithm and is said not to be part of Panda, but I personally disagree.

* Beware of sidebar content that is useless or distracting or is not relevant to the page content.

* Do not block crawlers from CSS or JS, they are important for content design. Use Google developers tools to check page speed, mobile compatibility and blocked resources.

* Do not use excessive, unmarked deceptive, interstitial in between the text Ads and Pop-ups.

* Ensure your main content is immediately visible when the user accesses your page, not below the fold or below excessive ads.

* Keep an eye out for non-useful 404 links or excessive 500 level, or for that matter any PHP MySQL errors. Those are all bad for user experience.

Page Quality Ratings

Google has admitted to using Human Quality Raters, but denied there feedback as been part of Panda (which I don't believe, not for a single second)

I personally believe that ALL the below quality signals used by the human quality raters apply to the Panda Algo.

These so called Human Quality Raters, rate websites, then sent feedback to Google for future reference. They have 5 various quality ratings they use for pages.

  • Highest Quality Pages
  • High Quality Pages
  • Medium Quality Pages
  • Low Quality Pages
  • Lowest Quality Pages

Each of the above mentioned have there own unique signals, which I assume the same applies to Panda.

Highest Quality Signals

The highest quality signals are simple, but not that easy to meet. The pages need to satisfy the users and they need to have a large amount of very high quality content (not necessarily a large amount of text) the content needs to be helpful in all aspects and the page layout needs to be good (when I say good I don't mean 'happy flashy')

Authors need to have a very high level of expertise in the subject and a very good reputation from experts in the topic as well as a very good reputation on popular high quality websites.

• Highest quality pages have an obvious purpose and they achieve that purpose very well.

• The Main Content of Highest quality pages is created by people with a high level of expertise in the topic.

• Highest quality pages have a very satisfying amount of Main Content.

• The page layout on Highest quality pages makes the Main Content immediately visible ("front and center").

• The space on Highest quality pages is used well.

• The Supplementary Content on Highest quality pages is helpful and contributes to a very satisfying user experience.

• Highest quality pages usually have near professional quality content, even though ordinary individuals may create the content.

• Highest quality pages frequently appear on high quality websites with very positive reputations for their purpose or topic, such as:

* Award winning newspaper sites for news
* Authoritative sites for medical information
* Well-known “go-to” recipe sites for recipes
* Highly regarded and trusted shopping sites

To me that sounds like Panda, over and over, as well the same banal tunes Google employees sing!!

High Quality Signals

High quality pages on the other hand need to be satisfying to users AND have a large amount of high quality content, good use of space, and are trustworthy and authoritative.

• High quality pages have an obvious purpose and they achieve that purpose well.

• High quality content is created by people with appropriate expertise.

• High quality pages have high or highest quality Main Content.

• High quality pages have a satisfying amount of Main Content.

• The page layout of High quality pages makes the Main Content clearly visible.

• The space on High quality pages is used reasonably well.

• The Supplementary Content on High quality pages is helpful.

• High quality pages appear on all sorts of websites, large and small, but the website of the page you are evaluating should "pass" all website checks, including the reputation check. High quality pages may be found on websites with a positive reputation or no reputation. They may even be found on mixed reputation websites, if they have enough positive evidence to support an overall High quality rating. High quality pages will not be found on websites with a negative reputation.

In other words, what they saying is - you can rate high quality without having reputation. Then i assume the same applies to negative reviews - by having no reviews at all counts the same as having good reviews. That's the way I interpret it.

So in other words new sites with zero reputation and zero reviews can rank High Quality if they meet the rest of the above standards.

A thought for the day!!?

Medium Quality Quality Signals

Google say there is nothing wrong with medium pages, stating most of the web consists of medium quality pages that can be improved by adding more content that is helpful and specific supplementary content, better layout, a better reputation, etc.

Always remembering having many negative reviews is reason enough for a medium rating, even to pages on a popular website. Google use there judgement (just as Panda) when taking into consideration the mix of positive and negative reviews. They look at the reasons behind the negative reviews, and the overall reputation and popularity of the website where the review was posted.

• Medium quality pages have a purpose and they achieve that purpose.

• Medium quality pages may have medium quality content, or even high quality content.

• The amount of Main Content on Medium quality pages is OK, though it may not be extensive.

• The page layout on Medium quality pages makes the Main Content visible.

• The space on Medium quality pages is used reasonably well.

• The Supplementary Content on Medium quality pages is helpful or OK.

• Medium quality pages appear on all sorts of websites (and, in fact, many pages on the web are Medium quality). The website of the page you are evaluating should still "pass" all website checks.

• Medium pages may appear on websites with positive, mixed reputation, or no reputation.

Crappy reviews can screw over your rankings if posted on popular websites that carry authority, like TripAdviser or your mugshot, name, contact info and website posted on reputable article sites and CNN for child pornography while you run a Christian website!!?

Low Quality Quality Signals

Google do however display low quality pages, but only if there are no other higher quality pages to show under that specific query. And on the other hand, some low quality pages may seem ok, but lacks enough information to feel credible or trustworthy.

For instance the site having bad reviews and the author having a low level of expertise in the subject with a bad reputation.

Further more a site will be deemed low to lowest if quality of the main content is low, if a page fails one of the website checks or any other checks that are a concern. In an instance like that, they do not hesitate to use low or lowest ratings.

• Low quality pages usually have a purpose, though the purpose may be somewhat unclear or the page may not achieve that purpose well.

• Low quality pages may have low quality Main Content. The Main Content may be higher quality but copied from another source (perhaps with minimal alteration).

• The amount of Main Content on Low quality pages may be lacking.

• The page layout on Low quality pages may be poor.

• The space on Low quality pages may not be used well.

• The Supplementary Content on Low quality pages may be unhelpful or distracting or lacking.

• Low quality pages may have an obvious problem with functionality or may have errors in displaying content. For example, the Main Content of the page may fail to load. (Please note that if many pages on the website have problems, you should consider the website unmaintained and use the Lowest rating).

• Low quality pages exist on all sorts of websites. In fact, many high quality websites have a few low quality pages. For example, most websites have a few pages with non-loading content or very little Main Content.

• Negative reputation alone can be the reason for a Low rating, but to assign this rating there must be evidence of an overwhelmingly negative reputation found on multiple sources.

• There are many “flavors” of Low quality pages. If a page does not live up to the standards established in this guideline for any reason, please use the Low (or Lowest) rating.

Lowest Quality Signals

This signal (Lowest quality) crisps your @ss and plummets your graphs to virtually ZERO. Even if all page level ratings are OK Google will still rank it lowest quality if it fails one or more website checks.

Lowest quality pages are basically pages that obviously or significantly don't meet there quality guidelines. Hence, they contribute very little to the internet and are unsatisfactory to users.

• Lowest quality pages may not have a purpose, or the page may have an unclear/deceptive or malicious purpose.

• Lowest quality pages may have a purpose but fail to achieve that purpose.

• Lowest quality pages may have low or lowest quality Main Content. The Main Content may be medium or higher quality but completely copied from another source.

• The amount of Main Content on Lowest quality pages may be lacking. There may not be any Main Content.

• The page layout on lowest quality pages may be poor.

• The Supplementary Content on lowest quality pages may be unhelpful or distracting or nonexistent.

• The page may appear on a website which significantly “fails” the website level checks; for example, a website with absolutely no information about who created the website or how to contact the owner of the site.

• Extremely negative reputation can be a justification for the Lowest rating in cases of deceptive or malicious behavior.

In a nutshell - its all about quality, content design, and reputation.

That's about it for now (I will be back to update)