Every year or so, Google rolls out major updates/changes to their algorithm (that’s their “secret sauce” for determining how they rank websites in their search results). These updates have cute little names that geeks like us try to decipher the meaning behind: Florida, Bourbon, Big Daddy, Buffy, Vince, Caffeine, and most recently Panda.
While these updates tend to induce a great deal of panic chatter among web marketers, they actually seek to address or solve issues within the SERPs (search engine results pages) to make these pages more relevant, like cracking down on unethical SEO tactics, penalizing link farms, or giving more value to websites with fresh content.
Google’s updates are aimed at providing the best possible experience for Googlers (that’s me and you); because really, who wants to land on a news article from 2005 or a site that’s in business just to make the owner some quick cash?
In February 2011, Google began rolling out Panda updates. Here’s what you need to know about the updates:
Panda’s main aim is to taking a big bite out of content farms.
Panda penalizes sites that contain low quality content and/or duplicate content, which are generally deemed to provide a poor user experience. Panda does this through a new filter designed to push down results for these low quality websites. If your site is flagged by the Panda filter, it could see a noticeable drop in organic visits, and therefore a decrease in conversions. And, just to keep things, interesting, the filter runs periodically and is constantly evolving.
So how specifically can you keep the Google Panda happy?
If your website has a true Content Marketing strategy, you have absolutely no worries. Static websites with no content changes will continue to suffer while active websites with new information being added regularly will flourish.
But don’t worry, the Panda wants to fall in love with your website. Here are three things the cuddly beast is looking for when it comes to content.
Don’t copy content from other websites. If your competitor or favorite industry blog has a great blog post or news story that’s relevant to you, PLEASE don’t take it for your website. If you’re posting someone else’s work, Panda is going to bite you.
2) Fresh Updates
Develop a long term content strategy to update the pages on your website and create new pages. Sound like a lot of work? Well, maybe not. Here are a few tips to get started:
- Comb through your site and look for areas where you can expand. Not sure what to change? Consider frequently asked questions that you receive in your “Contact Us” forms or when talking to customers. If you answer those questions on your website it will show Google that you are adding fresh content to be more helpful for your visitors.
- Follow news and blogs about your industry and create new content on your site to address relevant and trending information.
3) Content Designed for Conversation and Engagement
Panda loves content that involves an audience and is updated frequently. No need to panic, generating this content might be easier than you think.
- Do you have lots of news and press releases? Create an online press room and update it regularly.
- Do you have industry expertise and like to write? Consider blogging about your business.
- Do you have in-house brainiacs who can generate an informative white paper? Write it up and make it available for download on your site.
- Are you in a business that is sometimes best represented visually? Consider exploring the use of infographics and video to show the story of your biz.
- Do you have a leader within your company who is a natural teacher? Try offering webinars on topics your customers can’t seem to stop asking about.
These are just a few ways to add fresh, Panda-approved content to your site. We
are actually super-excited about Google’s focus on content. Providing real, useful information for users is a passion of ours. (And it’s why we’ve gone so far as to create a dedicated Content Marketing team to serve our clients.)
Still not sure where to start? Let us help with a comprehensive Content Marketing analysis from our team. Just head on over to our site and fill out the contact form on the top right to get started. If you’re unsure about what your currently doing from a content perspective, or want to have our personalized recommendations, an audit from our Content Marketing team is just what you need.