Pandering to a Panda

Pandering to a Panda You may not have realized it, but college campuses have some of the best superhero meetup groups on the planet. It was at one of these groups at Georgetown University that I met my very dear friend, Olivia Lewis, a.k.a. Menagerie of the Dynamo 5. Now that we’ve graduated and gone our separate ways, I don’t get to see her as often, so you can imagine my excitement when she said she would be paying me a visit last month.

We set the date for May 21, which was coincidentally the same day that Google rolled out its newest algorithm update. The doorbell rang and I ran to welcome her in--

And was greeted by a rather large, discontented panda bear sitting on my doorstep.

Now, what you may not know about Livvie is that she received her father’s ability to shapeshift in 2009. Keeping that in mind, I assumed that this was one of her infamous pranks, and I decided to play along. Using what I knew about Google Panda, I went about trying to make the panda happy.

First of all, I socialized with her, even though my panda linguistics aren’t very good. Just like the real creature, Google Panda is a very social animal. It pays particular attention to social networks and interactions between page owners and their followers. The more likes, +1s, and retweets you have, the happier Panda will be.

Next, I figured she must be hungry after her long trip from Washington, D.C., so I fed her some high-quality content--or in this case, bamboo. Just as rotten, chemically-altered bamboo will make a panda sick, shallow, weak, error-filled content is no good for your website. And no one wants to clean up the mess that follows a sick panda. Trust me.

Another thing to remember when feeding a panda: no spam. It might be known as a “miracle in a can,” but it’s not a miracle for a Panda (Google or otherwise). Give a panda spam and you’ll find that it no longer values your friendship.

Finally, a panda is a very clean and structured animal, preferring well-organized environments and a schedule of tasks and activities. Google’s Panda, too, appreciates websites that are clean, user friendly, and engaging, with structured articles and deep content. By giving the panda the environment she desired, I knew I had passed Menagerie’s test.

“You’re a regular panda tamer,” Menagerie said as she transformed back into her human form. Really, when I think about it, the title does fit. Luckily, Google Panda can’t make a mess on your carpet or chew up your sofa, but it can still be hard to clean up after. To keep Google Panda happy, just treat it much the same as you would a real panda: actively socialize, only generate the best content (or food), avoid spam, and keep your environment clean and structured.