Panda Power! Staying On Top of SEO with Google’s Changes.
The talk about how Google works is only set to thicken. More than a search service, Google has become a cultural phenomenon. It’s in our phones scanning bar codes at stores for price comparisons, in our GPS devices as they tell us where to turn, in our mustaches for the month of November to help combat Prostate Cancer and in our ears with an almost infinite collective of videos featuring Lady Gaga and Adele covers. Even if you don’t have a smart phone, or need a GPS to get where you need to be, already have a face full of fur regardless of what time of the year, and if–like me– you’re not a fan of mainstream music and know Adele is a great singer who has more than just two songs. On either extreme Google is everywhere.
Google and Bing don’t seek to be search engines, but solutions. A service for which you can find what you seek with a few taps of a touchscreen. How it works and operates remains a mystery (not for the few SEO ninjas, however)–one that may remain hidden from generation-to-generation along the ranks of Coca-Cola’s formula and the specific selection of herbs and spices that an old man in a gas station who was to become an honorary colonel during the 1930′s prepared his chicken with. Google is going to have their conspiracy theories that will pass from generation-to-generation bearing a mysticism both avant-garde and orwellian in nature.
Over the past few months websites have seen dramatic changes in views, search ranks, incoming traffic and in some cases overall business. This is because since February of this year, Google has unleashed the Panda. The Panda Update has been a system brand new algorithms designed to make search results more human. In the aftermath of the constant changes, including a radical changes in keyword referral data, some sites are getting slapped around in ways that have SEO Experts shaking their heads wishing we could all go back to the easy days of Excite and Netscape.
So do you throw out the playbook? Fire the coach? Lose every remaining game of the season to get the first pick of the draft and take Andrew Luck? Hold out on the team due to disappointment with your contract, miss games due to strep throat and use the cover of Madden as an excuse? Deem the system unprofitable and lockout all players until a new collective bargaining agreement can be attained for guaranteed business? Quit in the 4th Quarter of Game 6?
No. The solution is simple. Run the offense but keep it honest. Call some audibles if you have to. Understand the purpose of the Panda Update is to further empower Google toward slapping away spam. This isn’t the old internet anymore. Just copying and pasting content over and over to create back links is about as outdated as using IRC chat as your primary means of online communication. Spam is pollution. Like the famous Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketch that popularized it, it’s fun at first but like anything Monty Python it eventually gets boring, annoying and makes you consider cancelling your Netflix account. At best it only gets accidental visits from users making a “wrong turn” with their search and stumbling on your site. It’s bad for business and will only serve to build your bounce rate. We’ve all dealt with it from the fictitious male enlargement medicines to the emails claiming to be from a royal family in Africa stuck in a desperate situation and in need of a wire-transfer of your money or your Paypal password to get home.
So Matt Cutts, Google’s very own Captain Planet of Spam–who unfortunately doesn’t show up saying “With your powers combined…” when you search “Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, Heart!”– implemented a new algorithm that values human interaction toward the site above all else. If your site or service contains quality and original content with growing trends of organic popularity with your blogging and social media presence. The Panda advises that keep the ball rolling. And if not, here’s a few pointers to help you step up your game.
QUALITY CONTENT IS KING. I can’t stress that enough. In fact I’ll say it again in bold.QUALITY CONTENT IS KING. It’s what will first-and-foremost make you stand out. Great content is Hulk-Hogan’s 24-inch pythons tearing apart the bright yellow shirt upon entering the ring and slamming Andre The Giant. SEO Tactics are the backstage interview with the Mean Gene Okerlunds and the promotional stuff Vince McMahon does to sell the tickets and pay-per-views.
Examine what you have above the fold of your page. Think like a newspaper. Is there something that will engage the visitor within 5 seconds of when their eyes and your content meet? This will affect the bounce rate big time and keep the potential customer or fan as far as possible from hitting the back button. Is there a heavy template footprint, with pay-per-click ads taking up too space giving visitors the impression that the site is helping you but not helping them? If so, Google is going to be a sad panda. Literally.
Does your site have any empty pages which just serve to link a bunch of unnecessary nonsense? Is the content empty with a ridiculous ad-ratio? Does the visitor of the site get more information regarding acai berry colon cleanses rather than what they actually want? While it may help you with Adsense, it’s not going to please the panda.
The more machine your site seems, the worse. And if the spelling and grammar just isn’ t there, neither will your site be on Google. Google has better means of checking diction, syntax, and how much of a duplicate the content of the site is. So stop with the copying and pasting. Ctrl + V only makes for sad pandas.
Google is only implementing changes to make the internet more human and make sure that what you seek is matched with the site that best serves it’s needs. Make sure you provide quality content on the landing page above the fold and that your site allows for more human interactivity and you’ve paved the road for better ratings, better ranking, and most importantly a better experience whether you’re just trying to get more business or trying to get your Born This Way cover the most views possible.
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