7 SEO Tips to Fight Back After the Google Panda Update
As of now, everyone in the internet advertising and search engine optimization community is well aware that Google, the world’s most popular search engine, recently rolled out a series of changes to their search algorithms.
This massive change to search engine results, named Google Panda, gives precedence to what Google considers to be “higher-quality” content, like news and social-media feeds, and yields lower rankings to more overtly commercial content and content that appears to come from low-quality “content farms.”
While these changes may be useful to the average Google user, they can be frustrating for small businesses. While established companies can rely on name recognition and mentions in popular media for continued high search engine results, small businesses have come to rely on search engine optimization through blogging, content providing, and other methods in order to boost search engine results relative to their much larger competitors.
Luckily, while Google Panda tries to eliminate or downgrade commercial or low-quality content from search results, there are still many ways to promote a small business—legitimately—through search engine optimisation techniques. Here are just a few.
- Consider purchasing sponsored links. Although, sponsored links for specific keywords have a reputation for being ignored while searchers head for the organic, unsponsored links just below the yellow box, research shows that sponsored links are experiencing resurgence. As Google and other search engines have been more careful to vet the companies purchasing the links, these sponsored sites have begun to appear more helpful and useful to searchers, especially for those actually looking to purchase. The advantage of sponsored links is that it is a straightforward expense—Google charges you per display of your link—instead of the murky network of time and energy spent upgrading your organic search results.
- Build your online community. Google Panda gives precedence to content stemming from or promoted in the top social media communities, so it is well worth your while to build an active presence on these sites. However, it can’t be a one-sided commercial presence. Today’s marketing is all about interaction—creating a conversation with your clients, soliciting feedback and participation, and encouraging your loyal “brand ambassadors” to spread the word. Some industries, like fashion, lifestyle, and luxury goods, lend themselves especially well to this kind of marketing, because people love to talk about clothes, makeup and jewelry! For example, you can promote a wedding-related business by starting a Twitter hashtag for “My Wedding Ring” and encouraging customers and fans to share their personal wedding stories.
- The phrase “content is king” has moved past being a cliché and now seems like it might not be true anymore. But despite the changes of Google Panda, good content still produces clicks, and those clicks still translate into good search results. The difference is this: the old Google ranking criteria allowed the search “spiders” to determine whether people should be reading your content, while the new Panda criteria will display your content based on whether people are reading it. There’s never been a more important time than now to write content that is useful, funny, or entertaining enough to attract actual readers who will read and spread the word about your content. For example, a well-written article about the difference between an ACA diamond and a GIA diamond, provided that it is not obviously commercial, will still attract readers, which Google Panda will reward more than ever.
- Branch out to Bing and Yahoo. While Google still rules the search engine, with 66% of searches in 2011, the other major search engines are quickly gaining ground. Bing is now the default search engine used in Internet Explorer, a fact which helps explain its 42% market share of combined in-browser search and bing.com search. Yahoo search holds a respectable 15% of search results as well. Each of these search engines has their own algorithms and idiosyncrasies and with Google becoming harder than ever to crack, it’s now worth your while to cover all bases. Bing is known for being much more open about their algorithms and search engine results preferences than Google, so it is much easier to create and present content that Bing will feature in its results.
- Quality has always been more important than quantity but with the new criteria used by Google Panda, it is more important than ever to emphasize a few great articles over dozens of useless ones. If your content is well-written, usable content, but you are not seeing an improvement in your search results, check to see if your site is being weighed down by dozens of old articles that were written with the old criteria in mind. Consider removing them from your site or updating them so they are fresh, grammatically correct and don’t have an overwhelming keyword density that is now the first sign of a blatantly commercial article.
- We aren’t supposed to judge books by their covers, but Google has openly stated that it will be judging websites by their looks. Even if your site is not commercial, make sure it looks as professional, clean, and well-run as the top commercial sites in the business. If you are trying to convert browsers and get them to hand over credit card information, it is even more important that your site be well-designed and connotes a trustworthy appearance. Ads on a website seem like a great way to make a site profitable, but they are a double-edge sword—if you are also trying to sell your own products on the same site, advertising will cheapen the commercial appeal of your site. If you are running a purely entertainment or informational site, feel free to use ads, but keep them discreet.
- Keep it fresh. From now on, all your content posting should be governed by a delicate balance between two ideals: the need for longer, high quality content, and the need for current content with frequent posting. You have to find the balance that is right for your style and your industry, but remember that current content, with seasonal and topical references, is more useful to customers and well-ranked by Google. Incorporate references to the news and pop culture as it relates to your industry, but keep it current—there is nothing less interesting to readers than stale pop culture news.
Google Panda might be scaring some small business owners, but it doesn’t have to frighten you. If you are providing quality content and nurturing great relationships with your client base, Panda is here to help you reach and convert more people than ever before.
Guest article provided by Whiteflash company.