It can give you whiplash, trying to keep up with Google’s latest Panda updates. For most of us, we wave our hands and assume these technical details are meant for webmasters and those who are more technically inclined than us, but the truth is, every small business owner and inbound marketer needs to keep tabs on what Google’s up to.
A few weeks ago, Google rolled out the latest update for its Panda algorithm, and with it came changes. Didn’t notice them? Let’s review some highlights.
But First, a General Overview of Panda
Google first released its Panda algorithm in 2011, in an effort to thwart black hat SEO fools and keep their content from appearing high in search results. Over the last few years, its objective has been to improve the quality of content on the Internet by removing redundant and useless content and focusing on valuable, unique articles and blog posts. As a marketer, this is important, and you’ve probably learned to tweak your content to be more useful over the last few years.
What’s New This Go ’Round
Past Panda updates have tended to overlook the small players (that’s both good and bad for them!) and focus on bigger websites with more traffic. With this update, the spotlight is on small to medium size businesses that produce great content, even if they don’t get millions of hits like other sites. The new algorithm will reward what it considers valuable content on sites of all sizes.
Additionally, Google looks at visitors’ behavior as indicator of how valuable a site is. If, for example, someone clicks on a link in search results and then quickly hits the Back button back to the search results, that site probably didn’t deliver what they were looking for. If, on the other hand, they spend a significant amount of time on that site, it’s likely useful. Google now factors in these behaviors into its overall ranking algorithm.
Who Was Most Impacted
SEO analysts look at which niches or industries are hit hardest whenever Google releases an updated algorithm in an effort to better understand how we can get back in Google’s good graces. For this most recent Panda update, the types of sites that were negatively affected included:
- Affiliate marketing sites with thin content
- General information sites, like HowStuffWorks.com that lack a particular focus
- Education directories
On the other hand, sites with generous niche content that Google deems offer deep value to readers thrive in the current SEO landscape. Small businesses that offer more than just perfunctory information on products and services — who also offer ample information for their visitors to make an informed decision — also did well, as did government sites and education sites that provided more than just basic information.
How to Get a Thumbs Up from Google
A lot of not being negatively impacted by any of Google’s Panda updates is simple common sense: deliver great content that people want to read. But now you might put more focus on more in-depth content, meaning longer blog posts with ample outbound links to reputable sites, research, and analysis, as well as visually appealing images.
While every post doesn’t have to be over 1,000 words, it’s a good idea to include a sprinkling of these in your content for variety and for SEO juice.
Make it easy to share your content by including a widget that permits simple social sharing from within the blog post. Then share it yourself.
And if you’re just writing content to have something put up, it’s better to not create content than to post something that will work against you. Save it for a really meaty post.
Have questions about Google’s updates and how they are impacting your website? Get in touch with us today!
This post was previously published on AllBusiness.com.