With Google introducing that many algorithmic changes as well as other modifications to Google Search in the past two years, it has become difficult to understand what you should do as a webmaster and what is better to be avoided. If your site has been hit by Panda or another change, or if you just noticed a constant dip in traffic that you can't explain, you may have come to the conclusion that it is time to improve the quality of your site to get out of the penalty box (Panda is not a penalty but still, it feels like you are being penalized).
Word Stats is a free plugin for WordPress blogs that you can aid you in the diagnostic process. All you need to do to get started is install and activate the plugin, and then wait for a while until the plugin has processed all the posts and pages that you have published on your site. And if you want, you can hop in to the settings to include drafts as well.
You can then access the information that it has collected with a click on Dashboard > Word Stats. Here you see general statistics about a selected time period, the number of posts and pages published, the total word count, as well as the top 20 keywords and the readability level. The diagnostic part below that is more interesting than that though, especially if your site has been affected by one or multiple of Google's algorithmic changes.
Especially the "text may be too short" and "spammed keywords" list of articles is noteworthy here. All posts with 150 words or less are considered too short by default. I'd suggest you change that to at least 300 in the program settings as this seems a more reasonable number.
Each text identified this way is listed here with the text's word count, date it has been published and readability level. You can click on the title to open the edit page right away to work your way through all posts listed as too short. If you are the admin of a large WordPress blog, you may need to limit the date interval that you want displayed here as you may run into memory errors otherwise.
Spammed keywords is the second listing that you may find useful. It analyzes texts for excessive use of keywords and displays those that it finds in a similar list view. The default value is 20 times the keyword per 1000 words (which is 2% or higher) wand all posts where this is the case are listed here. The plugin lists the keywords that exceed the threshold. You can modify the limit in the settings as well to increase or decrease the percentage value. The WordPress plugin lists too simply or too difficult articles as well here so that you may modify them as well.
If you are using keywords fairly often, e.g. your site's name, you may want to add those to the list of ignored keywords so that they are not picked up during the diagnosis of posts. You may also want to disable live stats and other features that you do not need to decrease the impact on your server's load.
Word Stats can be a helpful plugin, especially for sites that were hit by one or multiple Panda iterations. While there is no official confirmation by Google that word count plays a role in Panda, most webmasters assume that it does play a role if it is too low on pages of a website.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.