Beyond the Black and White of Google’s Panda Update

By on April 25, 2013

Beyond the Black and White of Google’s Panda Update

Panda 25, the most recent of Google’s search algorithm updates, was launched on Feb. 21, 2013. If you use online marketing to sell your product or service (and if you don’t, start now), here’s what you need to know to keep your content optimized for Panda and ahead of the competition.

1. Content Will Always Be King

Panda’s 25 all-new updates have all had the goal, according to Google, of weeding out sites with thin or duplicate content and making search results more relevant to Internet users. The brass-tacks results of Google’s Panda efforts to rework Google’s search algorithm have been mixed, at best. However, well-written, useful, engaging content will always have a place on the Internet.

2. Future Updates Will Be More Subtle

Google’s Matt Cutts announced at the recent Search Marketing West conference that future algorithm updates will be an integral part of Google’s regular maintenance routine. No more Panda-type updates are expected to be announced. This means that you shouldn’t see any more major jumps in your site’s search-engine placement.

3. Learning From Previous Updates

Although the dust is still settling from Panda 25, previous Panda updates have penalized sites with poor content, high advertising content (this refers to paid ads, not the pages you post yourself), websites with empty pages, and sites with purchased links. If you’ve been following a well-grounded Internet marketing plan, these issues probably don’t affect you. However, if you were tempted to buy links or copy content, now is the time to bring your marketing back on the Google-approved straight and narrow. The Panda concept, though limiting to some, is here to stay.

4. Making Content More Than Words

Content and sites that are “Liked” and “Shared” on social media sites have been rewarded in past Panda updates. Sites with videos, images, and polls that engage the reader are more like to be shared by readers. If your pages are filled with just text, it’s time to mix it up a little. Take your personal social circles as cues for the kind of content you might want to include on your website or blog. What content are your friends sharing? Would the style work for your marketing campaign?

5. Faster Rebounds

One of the benefits from Google’s plan to roll future Panda changes into their regular daily updates is that you can see results of your Panda recovery efforts a lot sooner. If you’ve had duplicate content issues or have eliminated questionable links, you can now see results in a matter of days rather than waiting a month or more for the next large Panda update. This should allow your site to rebound more quickly after you fix any issues. Notify your web team and keep up to date on your Analytics reports for your websites and adjust accordingly.

Don’t panic when you hear the word Panda. Although the Google algorithm changes over the past two years have shaken up the Internet marketing world, not all of the changes have been bad. A well-conceived, well-executed, long-range marketing plan will always have a place on the Internet. Keep at it!

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Matthew Toren

About Matthew Toren

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.