On Tuesday this week, Google rolled out the latest update to their Panda Algorithm. As the first release of Google Panda was a big reason behind us starting our agency back in 2011, we thought many of you would be interested to learn why Panda remains relevant and important for anyone doing business online.
Panda was first released in February 2011 in an effort by Google to reduce the number of low-quality sites appearing in its search results. Considering the algorithm has been in operation for over 3 years many of you may wonder – why this is still news?
Well for a start, Google stopped publicising Panda updates sometime ago. The explanation being that updates were becoming incremental and more frequent therefore less noteworthy. The fact that Google has chosen to announce this latest update and name it version 4.0 is a clear indication that they expect it to have a significant impact on its search results.
Which websites have already been affected?
So far it’s mainly retail websites in the US that have seen a drop in rankings as a result of Panda. Without boring you with the details of who these sites are, what should catch your attention is that eBay got hammered. The online auction behemoth dropped from position 6 to 25 in a matter of 3 days. If it can happen to eBay then it can happen to your business.
How could you be affected?
Matt Cutts, Google’s go-to-guy for all things algorithm-related, explained that this new Panda update will have a direct impact on helping small businesses do better. One Googler on his team is specifically working on ways to help small web sites and businesses do better in the Google search results.
By “helping small businesses” what Cutts is really saying is that Google will help those websites that help themselves in regard of how well they structure and update their websites. As was the case in 2011, the only way to prevent your website being penalised by Panda is to ensure it is frequently updated with fresh content visitors will find useful and engaging.
What most websites fail to realise is that Panda is actually something they can benefit from. Just in the same way that Panda penalises low quality content, websites that frequently publish fresh content and make good use of SEO and Social Media can benefit enormously.
Invest in SEO
Everyone knows success online means solid SEO and thanks to the emergence of do-it-yourself content management systems like WordPress optimising web pages has never been easier. The important thing is to never become complacent with your SEO or your investment in getting the best advice by SEO experts that understand both your business and the industry you operate in.
Get Smart With Social
When it comes to Social Media the mistake companies make is either to do it too much or not at all. Few businesses realise how to get the most out of social media followers yet still invest heavily as it seems to be the trendy thing to do.
A good example would be companies that put all fresh content on Facebook – it’s a closed platform that only offers its social graph (user data) to companies willing to pay for it so no real benefit for your own customer relations. A much more sensible idea would be to use Facebook and other social media platforms as a means of gathering feedback and driving traffic back to your own website or blog.
More Traffic with G+
In an effort to get more people using its own social media platform, Google now rewards websites that have a G+ profile above those that don’t. What’s more is that you can actually link specific web pages from your website or blog directly to your G+ plus profile to help it appear more often in Google search results.
LinkedIn and Pinterest are also fantastic platforms for driving traffic back to your own channels. The important thing is to recognise that people will respond differently depending on which social media platform they are using.
Your Content, Your Channels!
How often you should be updating these platforms depends completely on the type of business you are in. All you need to be aware of is that when you have got something to share you share it in the right way on the right channels. The more traffic you can point back to your own website or blog, the better.
We live in a world where the supply of content has become infinite yet time itself remains finite. Getting your message heard is only going to get harder and harder so the sooner you start increasing the amount of content you publish the better.
In addition to publishing more content of your own, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be sharing other people’s content as well if it relates to your business. Not only is this an effective way of growing your audience, its also a great way of demonstrating the value your business can offer by linking it to topical issues and events.
How can we help?
We started our agency back in 2011 specifically to help websites affected by Panda when it was first released. Later we focused on helping those businesses who were savvy enough to realise Panda was as much of an opportunity as it was a threat.
Today, clients using ContentNetwork are sourcing over 400 pages of fresh web content per month thanks to our unique Interactive Content Editor (ICE) application. This is a real milestone for us and further proof of how much clients benefit from being able to collaborate quickly and securely with the content providers ICE let’s them access. Watch this 80 second video to learn more about how ICE works.
In addition to being able to source and publish text, image and video content as they are today, clients will soon be able to manage entire digital projects via ContentNetwork. Need an entire website, a new logo or a mobile app? You name it, ContentNetwork will connect you with the right person to help you deliver your project on time and on budget.
We hope you have found this article of some use, you can comment below – feedback is of course both welcomed and encouraged!
Charlie McGhee is CEO & Founder of ContentNetwork, a content creation agency that helps clients across Europe connect and collaborate with freelance content creators via their Interactive Content Editor (ICE) application. ICE offers access to over 500 qualified providers able to supply content on any theme in over 20 languages.