Google’s latest Panda update is just one additional phase in its crusade against spam.
We’ve all heard of it, and have probably wondered if it would affect our own websites. That worry isn’t necessarily without justification, as several established businesses have seen their search engine rankings plummet since the introduction of the new algorithm. Fortunately help is at hand: working within the parameters of the new restrictions needn’t be difficult. All you need to do is follow these 5 simple tips and your website should be fine.
First of all we need to establish exactly what the Panda update does, and look at the intentions behind the algorithm tweak. Panda looks at:
- The amount of duplicated content on each website, and on the web in general.
- The nature of the advertisements on each website and their relevance to the content of the site.
- Who looks at the site and the amount of time visitors spend there – in other words does the site have a high bounce rate, and if so, why?
- The nature of the links to a website from elsewhere on the web: are they relevant and do they have gravitas, or were they more than likely bought?
- Does the website overdo the use of keyword optimisation? Is it crammed full of keywords just to lift it up the search engine rankings? In other words has someone taken SEO to the extreme?
How can websites work effectively with these new restrictions?
1. First impressions count. Visitors to unknown websites rarely stay for more than 15 seconds to find the information they’re searching for. Therefore any websites needs to be clear, concise and easy to navigate. Keep the layout simple and make the navigation intuitive. You may have the type of content that would make your competitors drool, but if visitors can’t find it, then you’ve lost a customer. All Google will pick up on is a high bounce rate, and that definitely ranks as a black mark.
2. Concentrate on your area of expertise and try not to go off at too great a tangent. Variety may indeed be the spice of life, but not apparently as far as Google’s concerned. Stick to what you know, and let your visitors know that you do indeed know your stuff. There’s nothing to say you can’t be entertaining or humorous, if it’s appropriate, but it has to remain on topic. If you remember you’re writing for people, not yourself, and that your job is to impart information and wisdom, then your customers will be happy and so will the search engines.
3. Cut out all the unnecessary and poor quality content from your website and blog. Go through all the stuff you have, and see if it’s worthy of being there. Ask yourself, would someone else include my information on their website, or would an article directory accept what I’ve provided as quality stuff? If the answer’s no, then it probably shouldn’t be there. It doesn’t matter if this overhaul leaves your website looking a little bare. You can always add the quality content in as you go along.
4. Keep your website up to date, and refresh it as often as possible with high quality content. All the very best websites put new stuff up daily – sometimes twice daily. I know that sounds onerous, but if you’re serious about your website, then it has to be done. Make a few friends through social networking sites, and build your own online community. If what you’re providing is useful and relevant for them, they’ll help to keep the site updated. They may even give you the occasional guest blog to help you along.
5. Weed out any unnecessary or irrelevant links that you might’ve acquired. Google won’t rate them, and neither should you. Try to limit your links to those sites that have good reputations and that are respected authorities in their niche. It might sound like you’re trying to hang off their coat tails, but, so what? If you get your website to work effectively and gain the respect of Google, these sites might want to hang off your coat tails before long.