Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Google Panda and How It Will Change Your View on SEO Content

Though SEO has existed for quite some time now, it’s a subject that continues to confuse even senior-level marketers. 

So, of course, it comes as no surprise that the release of Google Panda, though already a year old, is causing concern for some marketers.   Here’s what you need to be asking:

·         What does Google Panda mean for online content?

·         What does it mean for my company’s online marketing plan?

In February 2011, Google announced that it had released a “pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking” that would impact 11.8% of its queries.  By April, Google Panda launched globally, which Google defines as the following:

 “This [algorithm] update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”

Essentially, Google was continuing on its path of giving people “the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible” by pushing low-quality sites down in rank to allow high-quality sites to appear foremost.  These changes had a very heavy impact – both positive and negative – for many sites.  According to CNET, this update allowed for an increase in rankings for news and social networking sites and a decrease for websites containing a large amount of advertising.

What these findings basically concluded is that captivating, original content and a clean, navigable layout are key in increasing search traffic.

What does this mean for your company’s online marketing plan?

It means that, if you’ve been following white-hat SEO practices and Google’s edict that we “[m]ake pages primarily for users, not for search engines,” you’re on the right track. If you’re relying on spammy tactics or poorly written content, you’re in for a rough ride. 

Pam Abbazia, Group Manager of Creative & Engagement Services for DBE recommends the following

Panda-friendly best practices to increase your rankings:

·         Have well-written, unique content on your websites (make sure your page is the best answer to the query)

·         Minimize the number of pages that have low quality or duplicated content (consolidate closely related pages and reduce duplication of exact copy)

·         Provide a great user experience so people want to visit your site and share it with friends/colleagues (provide logical navigation, content rich pages, a reasonable balance of ads vs. content, and other usability enhancements)

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