Google Panda Update Signals Advanced Google Search Algorithm
The Google Panda update has become a fact of life for search engine marketers and small businesses in 2011. Never before has a change to the Google search algorithm caused so much discomfort to so many. Multiple reports of businesses being wiped out in the blink of an eye by a cruel Panda have been repeated since February.
Google Calls For Collateral Damage Proof
Others have come to the realization that there’s little likelihood that Google will back off its changes. Google has clearly upped their game and gaming their search algo promises to be tougher than ever before. February 24, 2011 was the day that would live in infamy as Google fired a shot heard ‘round the world’ by many who are making a living online. According to Google at that time, the company had found a way to bring more high quality websites to the forefront of their search results. Of course webmasters who had websites affected by the change couldn’t have disagreed more. In fact, Google challenged them to provide examples of collateral damage, which many did in an epic thread that still goes on to this day.
Although Google asked for examples, they didn’t appear to do much to resurrect the ‘affected websites.’ Instead, they continued to launch a series of Google Panda updates aimed at removing even more of the pages they deem as being ‘low quality.’ With this new salvo in their war on bad web pages, Google has signaled that tactics that once were King no longer ruled their SERPs. Not only that, but Google has been making it clear that they don’t even want you to think about challenging their search algorithm. Instead, you should focus your efforts on building websites that visitors love and the rest will take care of itself.
This advice hasn’t been taken without a bit of controversy. Many examples of low-quality websites exist in Google, despite multiple iterations of the Panda update. No one can deny that some clever search engine marketers have succeeded in gaming results. However, if you start searching across multiple verticals, you might begin to realize that a new type of favorite web page is arising. In the past, Adsense-heavy pages with very little content used to have no problem ranking. In fact, since it was so easy to make the pages, many webmasters would continue to churn them out in the hopes of ranking for many keywords. Since Google wasn’t too concerned with on-page quality, it was relatively easy for sites to get thousands of rankings. Now the job is much tougher.
This video shows the fallout of a webmaster who was ‘hit’ by Google Panda.
Despite what webmasters think, all public appearances indicate the Google is happy with the changes brought in by Panda. Google says they make 500 search engine algorithm changes yearly now. In a recent post, Matt Cutts outlined what 10 of those changes look like. It becomes clear when reading a post like that, there’s no reason to take Google algo changes personally. The company has no reason to slow down the evolution of their search engine algo, especially if it’s producing the types of results that keep web searchers happy.
You Better Toughen Up If You Plan On Surviving
If you plan on getting traffic from Google or maintaining the traffic levels you now have, it looks like you have your work cut out for you. If you read a number of the ‘Surviving Google Panda’ posts available online, you’ll see they paint essentially the same portrait of what it takes to make it in a Post-Panda world. Credibility is taking its place in the pantheon of important search factors. Google has been clear about wanting only verified users on their Google+ social network. They are also pushing authorship markup which makes it clear who exactly published what. This greatly enhances the credibility of the published content, because it’s clear who wrote it and is responsible.
As the anonymous era of the internet ends, Google is uniquely positioned to continue to serve as an arbiter of ‘what’s good‘ online. If they go a step further and add verification to the results they’re now offering, it’s likely the quality of search will continue to increase. Will this hurt smaller publishers? Only the ones who aren’t prepared to deliver the goods of high-quality content that is unique and adds real value. Making top-notch content is now expensive and time-consuming. This means many businesses will probably stop looking at search engine marketing as being ‘free.’ They may decide to concentrate on social media marketing or take their marketing offline as a result. Certainly the competition for the very top spots of commercial keywords has gotten that much tougher to attain for every one. As expenses rise and competition toughens, the ‘weak hands‘ may finally be shook loose.
To The Outposts!
Since Google traffic is becoming a hotter commodity than ever, it’s probably time to expand your web presence to outposts everywhere online. Open a store in Second Life. Create a profile on all thousand social bookmarking websites. Build authoritative pages on ‘Web 2.0′ properties. All of this will take time and effort, but it can help you blanket the internet in search of those who need your product. The alternative is simpler. You can turn over your budget to Google Adwords and pay them for traffic. For companies that have had a traditionally tough time earning a positive ROI doing that, the option is off the table. Those folks will have to adapt to the changing paradigm or go the way of the dinosaur. Google is not turning back on its journey to high quality.
“I must say this panda is biggest crap:(“ -mdi_peter in “Think you’re affected by the recent algorithm change.” Google Webmaster Forum.
Not everyone will be made happy by the Google Panda update, especially if their website and revenues have been crushed. However, now is the time to take a look at your web presence with a critical eye and make the changes that need making. To try and ignore that you have a problem will only result in further delays to your attempt to rank.
Have you been impacted by the Google Panda update?