SEO Is Dead and Panda Killed It
In April 2011 Google's Panda update gave a huge boost to bloggers and webmasters who rely on content rather than code for their traffic. Google now penalizes websites with thin or duplicate content by dropping them down its search rankings. After Panda all the SEO tricks in the world can't compensate for poor content.
Google wants happy users who find interesting, trustworthy websites every time they use its search. It has declared war on regurgitated, paraphrased and stolen content. Websites with shallow, uninteresting text that is only there to contain keywords are dropping out of the charts faster than disco records in 1979. Having unique content is no longer enough. Your text now has to be both original and engaging.
Google based its Panda update on the results of tests where people rated the value and trustworthiness of thousands of websites. It discovered that websites with well-written, original text and few adverts were the most trusted. Its search results now reflect this.
Panda was the first in a series of changes that mark a new direction for Google's search engine. Websites with fresh, trustworthy content that engages the viewer are being rewarded with high rankings. The new world of search is all about end user experience. A website's reputation is only going to get more important. Google software engineer Amit Singhal confirmed this when he advised webmasters to stop worrying about individual algorithm changes and to "focus on end user experience".
So what can you do in the post-Panda world to improve your search rankings? These tips will help to boost your site's rankings and future-proof it against any new changes to Google's search algorithms.
- Post-Panda content is no longer just another way of getting keywords in front of Google. Treat your website like a magazine where every page is unique and interesting in its own right. Don't publish duplicate content from other websites or use the same text on different pages within your site. Aim to engage and entertain with regular updates and Google will reward you with higher search rankings.
- Those shallow text blocks with poor grammar and random keywords no longer cut the mustard and will cost you dearly. Every single article, comment and text block on your site has to be interesting, relevant and written in flawless English. Keyword density is out and user experience is in!
- Google regards generic sales copy and product reviews as copied duplicate content. It marks down whole websites that contain it on only a few pages. Instead of cutting and pasting in tired old content write your own review of the product or service you are featuring. Write a different description every time it appears on your site.
- The share-ability of your content is vital to your success. If people think your site is worth showing to their friends then Google knows it is trustworthy and entertaining. Encourage people to share your content by including links to social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Consider including videos and slideshows on your site as these are more likely to be shared than text.
- Work hard on getting back links from high-quality websites. The number of other trusted sites linking to your content is an important measure of your own trustworthiness. If you contribute content to another website in exchange for a link don't duplicate it on your own site.
Benefit from Panda and Google's new quality drive by developing your website or blog’s reputation. Make changes focused on improving your content and the end user experience. Aim to develop a loyal base of fans that return to your site regularly and Google will reward you with improved search rankings.