If your affiliate sites have fallen in the search engine rankings, you’ve probably fallen victim to Google’s Panda update. Over the past few months, there has been quite a bit of concern in affiliate marketing circles about the impact of Google Panda on affiliate websites.

But this problem isn’t limited to affiliate sites. Across the web, sites with duplicate and thin content have been demoted in the search rankings. Some webmasters are finding sites that used to be on page one pushed down several spots, or for some sites, several pages. In place of these thin sites, sites that are rich with quality, original content are surfacing in results.

Some affiliate marketers are puzzled and they don’t know what to do to regain their ranking. In order to help you recapture the lost glory of your affiliate site’s ranking (and your commissions) we’ve assembled five important things you need to know about Google’s Panda update.

Read and understand these, and hopefully you’ll recapture your spot on page one.

1) Don’t use duplicate content

Duplicate content has several meanings, from a repurposed blog post to product description content scraped from an online retailer. Even though some experts suggest that a few duplicate pages here and there won’t hurt you, most people are in agreement that eliminating duplicate content is the best thing you can do for your search results. If there are more than a few pages of duplicate content on your site, you can fix this problem by deleting those pages and creating 301 redirects to original content on your website.

2) Don’t use too many ads

If your site is stocked with ads, you might want to pull back on them. Even though the Google AdSense FAQ advises using multiple spots of advertising, Google’s search team feels differently. Blogger Andrew Hansen shares an email that implies that an even ratio of unique content to ads is best. For example, is 25 percent of your content is ads, you should have at least 25 percent original content on a page. So if you have as high as 60% of display ads, you’ll need to increase the original content on that page and add additional original content to get to a 1:1 ratio.

3) Don’t use cheap content

If your site consists of articles that you purchased on Fiverr, you’ve probably got an issue with content quality. It’s a good idea to monitor the quality of your site’s content by tracking the number of social media shares you’re getting. While Google isn’t quite able judge you content’s “quality,” they can judge it by the opinions of others. And if you don’t have readers responding to and sharing your content, Google may look at that as a sign of content quality.

4) Don’t be redundant

Some sites have several or dozens of pages of overlapping content, with variations of the same keywords, and that can present a problem with Panda. For instance, if your pages consist of “Internet Marketing Tips,” “Internet Marketing Advice” and “Internet Marketing Solutions,” you might have too much redundancy. Look at ways you can consolidate those pages and 301 the pages you no longer need.

5) Please don’t autoblog

If you’re autoblogging, using one of he many cheap content scrapers available through ClickBank, that could be causing a problem. When you use content this way, Google can see the trails left by that software. And that’s enough to penalize you, because that’s a sure sign that you’re not creating quality, original content. The best thing to do with these tools is to not use them at all.

Overall, if you’re an affiliate marketer who has been impacted by Google Panda, you need to change what you’re doing. The best thing you can do is to get rid of all the cheap and duplicate content on your site and focus on content quality. Keep it original and make sure your readers are getting something out of it. More than anything else, quality and originality matter.

And for more tips on how to create great content, check out this article on content creation.

Has your site been impacted by Panda? If so, what have you done to regain your rankings?