The Internet, cue Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra music, is a universe of over 555 million websites and trillions of pages targeting specific segments of the over 2.1 billion internet users , as of January 2012. Feel free to be overwhelmed now.
With the massive amounts of information and new websites added to the Internet every day, it is no wonder that lead search engine, Google, would be constantly on the move with updates and algorithm changes focusing on Google’s end all goal: a good user experience.
Google’s Panda Update
Google released the “Panda” update back in February 2011. This update, it’s sub-updates from 1 to 23 as of December 21, 2012, are set up as a type of quality and relevance check point aimed at promoting sites that provided quality content and relevant information and demoting sites with thin of substance, keyword stuffed, duplicate content that were being constantly dumped into the Internet.
You know the “spam” sites we’re talking about. Think back to when you turned to the Internet, to find information about how many pet treats your Chihuahua can really eat before feeling sick, and as you opened up Google, typed in the search query: Chihuahua pet tips on doggy treats, you were bombarded with sites that had “information” that looked like this:
These types of web sites were following the SEO guidelines, had content that had all the right keywords, such as “Chihuahua, chihuahua, chihuahua” repeated in an easily perceivably keyword DENSE way, but often left the site visitor without an answer to the question they had posed or pointed a site visitor at unrelated content based on the right broad keywords in the text.
Not only did these sites have low quality, poorly worded text, these sites were also littered from head to toe in ads.
Meanwhile, websites that had unique quality content which would be more important to users, but perhaps not the best SEO practices in place, were buried in the search rankings.
Bottom Line: Poor user experience. Enter the Panda update parade.
How to Work with the Panda Update
We’re in December 2012 and Panda has just had its 23rd update, so this quality and relevance filter is not going away.
How will you stay on Panda’s good side in 2013? Simple: Create quality, trust worthy content that follows basic SEO principles, but does not err on the side of violations such as excessive keyword usage on a page of nonsensical content. Here are three SEO and Panda friendly tips:
Build your voice: Be real in your writing! If your product is professional, white glove or elite, speak in that voice. If you find that you’re in an industry where the content can often be dry, data driven or lack luster on the human interest level, stay on target with industry lingo but consider using info graphics or personal experience stories to sizzle up your content.
Overall, keep the voice in your content consistent. Write in such a way that you consider not only what you want from the search engines, but the type of experience or conclusion you want to leave your website visitor with in the end. Unique, insightful and interesting content comes from humans and Panda loves this.
Build diversity into your content: Diversify your content subjects! Discuss topics that show you are an expert in your industry.
For example, let’s say you sell carpet. If all you write about is carpet sales, selling carpet, this week’s sale on carpet and please buy carpet from us, you’re likely not developing content that will put you in expert light as much as one-train thought light.
If you are a carpet genius, talk about how to care for carpet, common mishaps of carpet consumers, what to look for in carpet installation, why to buy carpet and when and etc….
When you are an expert, who is passionate about their industry, products and services, it will show in your writing and the subjects of your writing. As you diversify your content, you are thinking about your site visitor, building a relationship and building your web site’s content the right way.
Why does Panda love authoritative, subject diversified content? Because when you are writing about subjects that have to do with the main subject, you’re going to reel in related keywords that Panda keeps an eye out for so as to match up web sites with search queries.
Writing authoritative, subject diversified content gives you a broader keyword subject net, versus incessantly restating one word over and over again. Be interesting: diversify your content subjects and reap the rewards both online with Panda and offline with potential customers.
Commit to writing one new piece of content a week: This is where the painfully shy, writing haters and generally overwhelmed will begin to make excuses for why this is unrealistic. We understand.
Most web site owners are also business owners who work more hours than anyone in the company to keep the company alive, customers happy and employees…well, employed.
To ask a business owner to come up with one piece of new content a week may be the equivalent of asking them to sacrifice one of those precious 5 hours of sleep they get a night.
If you would rather focus on running your business, task your Marketing Manager to put together content pieces for or with you. There may be a hidden champion in the ranks of your employees who might be able to write as well. Almost every company has that one employee who loves what they do and wants to tell the world that you are number one. Find that hidden talent and create a plan to make the most of it for your business.
If you or your staff aren’t born writers, there are other avenues, such as outsourcing content to a trusted SEO partner. An expert in content marketing will take into consideration all SEO best practices, but will also remember that it is your company and your voice they would write in.
Whatever the barrier you may need to overcome, building your web presence, company voice and industry authority through unique content is imperative. For now, be sure to put “One New Unique Piece of Content to Feed the Panda” on your 2013 Digital Marketing to do list.
Win the Wrestling Match With the Panda!
If the Google Panda updates have taught us anything, it is that businesses need to set up a consistent strategy of creating new, unique, interesting content in 2013. While many may be put off by Google’s updates, it is likely because they don’t understand the benefit to both search engine user and quality web site owners.
Panda has upgraded what SEO means, from Search Engine Optimization to “Search Experience Optimization”. Focus on Quality and Relevance in your website content/blogging strategy and you’ll be on track to win the ongoing wrestle with Panda updates in 2013.