Ever heard of Google Panda? If you haven’t it’s a pretty big deal in the online world. In Feb 2011 Google released a major update to its search algorithm by adding new ranking factors in an effort to improve the quality of its search results. The name for this new release is Google Panda. While there are many variables to Google search rankings, one of Panda’s objectives is to assign more weight to websites based on monthly traffic, quality of content, and the presence of an active community around the site.
At the end of the day, Google’s release of Panda is their reaction to the fact that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) firms and specialists had figured out how to manipulate the old algorithm. One of the most popular methods was to use large amounts of low quality, often redundant content catered to Google’s search scheme. These websites, also known as Content Farms, fashioned their keywords and text to focus on specific search terms resulting in high search rankings on Google (regardless of quality content and amount of meaningful and useful information). The result for Google users was an abundance of low quality search results with high rankings.
So what does this mean for the small business owner trying to effectively market and drive traffic to their website? It means that some of the traditional SEO tactics may not only no longer be effective, but actually now hurt search ranking. Panda is focusing on quality over quantity. Where it used to be beneficial to have a lot of text (even if shallow) and a lot of inbound links (even if from irrelevant and/or low quality sites), it’s now more important for text and links to offer in depth and insightful information.
In addition Panda is now placing more weight to the basic quality of a site. Factors Panda looks at to determine quality are:
- Clean design
- Ease of navigation
- Professional, proofread copy
- Informative content and resources
- Reputable products and services
Panda is also placing more weight on the presence of an active community surrounding a site. This translates to integration of social media such as:
This is where Revelle Designed excels. Our primary concern is to first give the client what they want in terms of look, feel and layout. We believe that for a customer’s site to be effective, the site must communicate our customers’ excitement, passion and pride in their company. Second, our expertise lies in working with our clients to present their vision and message in a contemporary, clean, and well laid out style that instills confidence in their target audience. To further this goal, we offer social media integration to keep our clients connected to their community of current and potential customers. And finally all of our sites include a solid foundation for Search Engine Optimization that is necessary for more advanced online marketing strategies.
Panda is ever evolving with regular updates from Google. So even though Panda represents a significant change to the rules, the game is still the same… the constant search from online marketers to figure out what Google likes today. Additional information on Google Panda and how to adjust your SEO strategy accordingly can be found on Wordtracker.com.