What is a Panda Penalty?
A Panda Penalty is a form of algorithmic penalty that targets thin content and low-quality pages. Typically, these pages are being used to manipulate the algorithm and are not designed to help the user.
How can I check if I have a Panda Penalty?
The best way to check for any algorithmic penalty is through Google Analytics. Sudden drops in traffic that result in almost zero users each day are a good sign of punishment.
However, unlike manual penalties, there is no way to confirm this in Google Search Console.
How can I remove a Panda Penalty?
To remove a panda penalty, you will need to improve the content quality. This process begins by evaluating your content and then making some notable improvements.
The following tips will help you to improve the site-wide evaluation of each page. However, there is no guarantee they will remove the penalty in all cases.
1. Check for thin content pages.
Removing the pages that are thin in content can help you to improve rankings. Use a tool such as Screaming Frog to help you find pages with low word count.
If you’re using a platform such as WordPress, another check to do is finding /tag/ pages that are indexed. Often Google indexes these pages, but the pages include lots of duplicate content and thin content.
Finally, if you’re using WordPress, you may need to check that attachment pages are not indexed. These pages are often low-quality and can disrupt rankings for core pages.
2. Check for internal duplicate content.
Use a tool such as Siteliner to find duplicate content on your website. It’s worth running the crawl across your whole website. It may cost you money depending on how large your site is.
However, if you’re looking to check manually, you can search your content within Google to find any duplication. I’ve included an example below:
3. Check for external duplicate content.
The same as above, if there are duplicates externally, they may be contributing toward a poor evaluation. To be sure, copy a piece of text and search in Google.
By enclosing the search in quotes, you will be able to view any exact matches inside the index.
4. Clean up the index.
Low-quality pages in the index contribute to content devaluation more often than not. To improve this, remove pages using the URL removal tool in Google Search Console.
4. Remove all hidden content.
Sometimes you will find that content on your page is hidden. Hidden content will likely flag your website for a Panda penalty.
To check if your content is hidden, try disabling the CSS on your page. If you find any content that was not visible before, this might be hidden.
A typical footprint for hidden content is “display: none” in the CSS. However, this is sometimes part of drop-down menus, so it’s hard to say whether this would be an issue in all cases.