Those who have been following news from Google are well aware of the impact (or panic, depending on who you ask) the Panda update has had on search results. But just how is Panda changing the way Google views your website?
Panda was often referred to as an update to Google’s ranking algorithm. However, Search Engine Land has since pointed out that it’s really more like another ranking factor similar to page rank, but with more importance.
Whenever Google runs a Panda update (which appears to be shaping into a monthly schedule) Panda looks at your website to determine if it contains quality content. Pages on your site that contain low-quality content — such as spammy text; unoriginal, plagiarized, or duplicate content; irrelevant text; too much unmanaged user submitted content; etc. — get penalized (or “pandalized” in some circles) and suffer on the SERPs.
If you notice a drop off in your analytics that coincides with a Panda update, there is a good chance you may have a content quality issue with your website. Reevaluate the text on affected pages and look for ways to increase quality and relevancy. Unfortunately, you may not see a recovery in your analytics until Panda checks your site again.
Please keep in mind that, if your site is providing relevant, useful content to searchers, then Panda is nothing for you to worry about. Simply stay on the right track, and watch your website grow.