Among Internet marketers and SEO experts, Google’s Panda/farmer update is not a new thing anymore. It is a well-known fact that there have been a lot of new updates and changes within Google’s ranking algorithms via Panda/Farmer update.
The main reason for this is the growing number of content farms. Content is bought or copied from free sources and through different tactics people ranked their sites. It is not right to rank these pages highly in the search engines, so Google came up with the Panda Update.
Many marketers were affected negatively, others were not affected at all and some saw a raise in their SERPs. Google to stay ahead of other search engines always keep making updates constantly throughout the year. But those updates are generally minor and did not affect these many marketers.
If you are not paying attention to Google now, then it is time to start paying attention. Some people who are affected by google will start writing about how they hate Google and how they are going to focus on Bing and Yahoo. These haters should understand that still people trust Google, and Google’s share is well over 66% among all those people who use search engines. Above all Google is not asking us to use rocket science to create our websites. Google is simple asking us to provide useful content to the user, and a good site design to make the experience of the visitor a positive one. It is not something that is hard to achieve.
Why does Google continually make all these updates?
All of Google’s algorithm changes – past, present, and future – all have one key point behind it: Google’s Corporate Mission – delivering the best quality of search results to their users. This is how they have captured, retained, and expanded their dominating hold on the search engine market and search market. So if we provide that, then Google will help us grow.
History of Panda Update:
Originally released on Feb. 24, 2011 (ver 1.0)
Panda Update 2.0 (April 11, 2011)
Panda Update 2.1 (May 10, 2011)
Panda Update 2.2 (June 16, 2011)
Google in their official blog has clearly stated that
“Panda is not really a new algorithm per se, but rather it’s basically another “overhaul” of their current ranking algorithm”
The ultimate aim of Google’s Panda is to identify low quality pages and to eliminate them completely, so that only results that are good and relevant remains in the top of search results.
How Google Panda Works?
No one actually know the exact way the Panda works, however experts say that takes a bunch of sites that people like more and a bunch of sites that people like less. Then it grades both the group of sites on many parameters to determine the trustworthiness, credibility, and quality. Finally, Google will downgrade the sites that are liked less by people, and give a higher ranking to the sites that are more relevant and optimized for their users.
Are you a Search Engine Marketer?
Then first stop hating Google and its omnipotence. This will only lead to do wrong things. Panda is just another indicator of the direction that Google is taking as far as SEO is concerned. So let us adapt ourselves and shed off the bad habits.
As an online marketer who relies on SEO for making money, you are probably used to doing your keyword research, creating a site, posting good keyword content, making it accessible to the search engines, and then trying to get backlinks, rankings, and traffic to that site. This is the general procedure and it is still relevant, however we need to tweak a little bit as the traditional SEO will be done by many.
Today the user behavior is given a lot of importance, so you need to focus on your targeted audience and handle the visitors of your site in a better way. It is important to give the user a good experience with in the site.
Three important Strategies to have better ranking after Google’s Panda Update
1) Good Site Design for Good Visitor Experience:
The difference between an average internet marketer and a great one is the way they handle their site and its design. A good SEO marketer will develop a site design that promotes a positive user experience. By site design, I don’t mean flashy design with lot of effects, a good site design should not distract the visitor, and they should naturally feel the need to give backlinks to your site/promote your site by means of liking/tweeting and bookmarking. A good site design will also lead to lower bounce rate.
- Have a simple and clean design which is pleasant on the eyes, no need to use flashy designs, as that will increase the loading time and will also be a distraction to the visitor.
- Use images wherever necessary. Make sure you give a good ALT tag for the image, it plays a vital role in SEO.
- Add videos wherever possible.
- Have a good internal linking system, and make it easy for navigation with good category/navigation bars.
2. Good Content
Previously content was developed for the search engines and not for the visitors. There was a set rule like the page should have 5% or more of keywords. The whole page is often termed as Search-Engine-Food. It is more focused on satisfying or in other words fooling the search engines. The search engines, especially Google is very smart, so start creating content for the users. Make sure you provide useful content for them. Now Panda is well equipped to recognize which content is written for real readers, and which content is written just for SEO purposes.
- Have options for the visitors to share your content like facebook like, stumbleupon, retweet and so on.
- Focus on creating content that is engaging for your readers.
- Make sure your content is free of grammar and spelling errors.
3. User Metrics:
It is now more important than ever with Panda, Google is trying to sort out the best sites to display to their users, which means they are looking at a lot of things that were never thought about by the marketers.
- Do people spend a good amount of time on your site, average time spent on your site?
- Bounce Rate – To find out how many people visit more pages in your site and how many leave the site after seeing the page.
- How many pages deep are visitors to your site browsing?
- Your click through rate from the search engine results; it is now important to have a good title and description for the page. Even if your page comes in the first page of the search results but people don’t click on your site and prefer other sites, then Google will decrease your ranking, so it becomes very important to give a relevant and attractive title to the page to get more visits.
- The diversity and the quantity of traffic that comes to your site.
- How many users to your site are new versus return visitors? A good site will have a higher percentage of people who come back.
- Loading speed of your site matters now, you can use Google’s own Webmaster Tools to get more information about your robots.txt, your site performance, crawl errors and loading speed. Make use of the power tool.
Also continue to build links for your site, in the form of Link Pyramids for better Off Site SEO
Google is such a big Search engine and to decode it is humanly impossible, but one thing is certain, that any site offers good value to the visitors can tackle any kind of algorithm change.
Just implement the above mentioned steps and I am sure you will benefit from the Panda Update. Read more about Search Engine Optimization at my other site