The Web Centre opens their blog’s doors to experts on Digital Marketing to offer their insights on different topics and enrich our site. This week we have a special post for all of those really interested in SEO.

We hope you enjoy with this special article written by Chris Hickman – Founder & CEO @ Adficient, with 14 years in SEM and CRO experience. For already 10 years he helps businesses effected by Google penalties @

In February 2011 Google released the Panda Update which was aimed to stop sites with poor, or low quality content. Google created the algorithm to weed out sites with poor content from the top search results. Since 2011 Google has released a number of Panda updates and many sites saw ranking increases because of their SEO practices. However, not every site saw increases.

Content Penalties

Over the years SEO marketers have been told to avoid duplicate content at all costs. However, Matt Cutts of Google told us that duplicate content won’t affect your rankings, unless it’s spammy. Best practice is to produce your own, high-quality, helpful content that adds value. However, if you do decide to have duplicate content on your site, there are some ways to avoid being penalised.

If you do have duplicate content on your site there are a few ways to handle the issue. In many cases websites will have multiple items that are very similar, but different in a few ways. This can appear as duplicate content to search engines, and if there are many of these pages the search engines can see these as spammy. To fix this issue a site can either fix the page content to be unique and original. This is the best scenario, however, depending on the site can take quite a bit of time. The other option is to add a no-index tag to the page, this will block the search engine bots from crawling the page. The issue with this is the page won’t rank in search results since it’s being blocked.

Now if a site has duplicate content from another source such as a news site or guest post, this can be construed as duplicate content as well. However, there are ways to get the content on your site, and not be penalised by the search engines. The most common solution for this is to add a canonical tag to the page. This tag will tell search engines where the original article resides, if a site is using your content ask them to use a canonical tag to point to your original article. Likewise, if you use another site’s content, use this tag to show search engines who created the original. Sites will not be penalised for using these tags. How to use a canonical tag.

Other Panda Metrics

Avoid pensalisation from Google Panda

The Panda update was not just focused on duplicate content, there are other metrics the algorithm considers. The following list shows additional points of interests marketers should focus on to avoid a penalty. Google Panda isn’t just limited to content creation.

Bounce Rate

Scenario: A user searches a query and your page shows up in the search results. The user clicks on your page and is brought to your page. If the page loads too slow, the content is what they are looking for, or they don’t see what they want, they will click back. What this tells search engines is that the query they searched is not related to the page they clicked. Otherwise they would have stayed longer and browsed more pages. Since the query is not related the page will be moved down in the search results.

Now this is not necessarily a penalty, more of an inconvenience. Review your bounce rate within Google Analytics and run some testing to see why people are leaving your site. Lower the bounce rate, the better, and it’s important to show search engines you are working on this metric.

More information metrics in following posts…

Have your’s site ever been penalised by Google? We would like to know your story.