Panda 4.2 and Syndicated Content vs. Custom Content


With the recent release of Panda 4.2 (a series of updates to Google’s ranking algorithm that started with Panda 1.0 in 2011), there has been a lot of talk about how this update can affect search performance. Panda, in particular, targets sites with low quality content and applies a filter making it more difficult for those sites to appear in search results.

Google’s primary goal with Panda is to push content farms and sites that scrape their content from other sites further down in the search results. Essentially, if the content doesn’t provide any value or if it’s stolen from somewhere else, Google doesn’t want it appearing in their search results.

Despite these good intentions, quality websites can still get caught in Panda’s filter and see a reduction in search performance, so it’s important for all website owners understand how their site can potentially be affected.

Syndicated Blog Content

If not properly setup, syndicated content can easily be mistaken for scraped content which in turn can cause SEO issues for the site hosting the content.

At Pronto, many of our Managed Services and Health & Fitness clients use our syndicated blog content. We’ve been very aware of syndicated content as a potential duplicate content issue for quite a while now and even though we’ve never seen any evidence of adverse affects from our blog, we decided to stay on the safe side and take some extra precautions.

Since Panda originally launched in 2011, we’ve included a “noindex” tag to the Meta Robots attribute on blog articles across all Pronto sites.

noindex robots meta tag

This tag tells search engine bots not to include that page in their indexation of the site. When placed across all the syndicated articles on your site, it essentially means that your syndicated blog content is a zero-sum game from an SEO perspective – those articles won’t appear in search results, but they also won’t put you at risk for any duplicate content issues brought on by Panda. Instead the value of syndicated content comes in the form of keeping your website fresh and up to date while providing a consistent stream of content for your monthly email newsletters.

In short, we’ve already taken steps to ensure that your site won’t be negatively affected by syndicated blog content. If you’re interested, you can read more about the research we’ve done on this here.

Unique Blog Content

You can, of course, supplement your own blog content on top of our syndicated content. Any unique content posted to your blog, whether it’s written by you or through our Custom Blogging service, will not include a “noindex” tag. This means that your unique content will be crawled and indexed by search engines and will have an opportunity to appear in search results.

Custom blog content is one of the best investments you can make in the long term strength and health of your web presence. Content is the fuel that runs your internet marketing engine, so the more you have, the further your marketing will take you.


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