This week, Google announced its latest Algorithm update, Panda 4.1. One of Google’s Webmaster Trend Analysts, Pierre Far, explained that the update is focused on one major objective: identifying low-quality content, which has essentially been Panda’s strategy all-along. Once again, Google is stressing quality over quantity. Apparently, the update has already resulted in small to medium sized sites with high quality content experiencing better rankings. So, what does this mean for the Industrial World? Here at Industrial Traffic, our specialty is websites for the manufacturers and b2b businesses of the world. Because of that, many of our clients fall into two camps: service providers and retailers. Generally, service providers don’t have the hundreds of pages you would expect from a major corporation or large ecommerce site because they only really need to provide the information that their customers are looking for. In short, their websites tend to be relatively focused. With this in mind, if you have a small or medium sized website with good, quality information – chances are you your web presence made it through this algorithm change unscathed, you might have even seen a traffic increase. On the other hand, if you have a large website with numerous pages and a complicated structure, there’s a chance that Google’s latest update wasn’t as kind to you.
Have You Been Struck by Panda 4.1?
No matter how big your business or your website is, getting hit with an SEO penalty can be a big deal. Read on to learn about just a few of the best practices that can get your web traffic back on the right track. But remember, whenever it comes to SEO, results always take time. Especially with Panda, content oriented changes mean that sometimes you’ll have to do a significant amount of work to make a difference, whether you’re transitioning from a time when “keyword density” was the name of the game or simply finding the time to add more usable information to your website.
Here’s How to Recover from Panda 4.1:
- Revise thin, duplicate, and low quality content
In previous years, it was pretty easy for businesses to publish page after page of keyword dense copy to manipulate the search engines. Those days are gone. But how do you know which pages need work? The best way is to perform a full site audit. Which pages fell off the face of the earth? Which ones are still performing? And what can we do to make them better? This can be an in depth process, but to provide a brief primer, here’s a pointer: Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics are your friend. With a number of reports in Google Analytics, you can assess the % Change as it pertains to visitors who made it into your site via landing pages. If you see drastic drops in % Change after algorithms updates hit, chances are you’ve been affected. However, in our example site – a medium sized industrial business with good, non-duplicate content (the type of website that is Rumored to be improving), we experienced a modest 23% increase in visitors. But that doesn’t mean we should stop everything we’re doing and pat ourselves on the back. It means it’s time to continue re-assessing the value of content on site to make sure that it’s not negatively affected by the next algorithm update, because we all know it’s coming — we just don’t know when. Sample site:
- Add new content that helps your visitors
It’s always been our experience that adding fresh, helpful new content to a website almost always results in an increase in traffic.
- Long form content ranks well: Content over 500 words (and even as much as 1500 words) , with a broad focus of keywords works consistently better than short form content focused on highly competitive keywords.
- Good links (internal and external): The content on your website should lead the visitor towards the resources they need. That means logical internal links and external links that lead to authoritative sites and reputable domains.
- Content Value: Does the content solve a problem or answer a question? Google’s desire is to rank content that’s useful for their customer base: Humans. Why? Because if its search engine doesn’t serve up the results real people are looking for, everyone will stop using Google. It’s pretty simple. That means, it’s important to remember that the human is your primary focus.
- Content Variety: Good content doesn’t just mean “the right words”. It can also involve a wide variety of images, videos, and graphics that are designed to inform, engage, and keep the reader on the page. After all, it’s been proven that visual stimulation is key in holding on to valuable website visitors.
- Improve the user experience
Is your site easy to use? Does it look like it belongs to the last decade? These are both factors that can impact how your potential customers interact with you online. Since users have come to expect a certain kind of quality and ease of use, it’s important to give it to them! Otherwise they’ll click off to greener pastures.
So what does Panda 4.1 Mean for Small Businesses, B2b’s, and Industrials?
The websites that have been affected the most by Panda 4.1 have been those with information that tends not to change or information that’s the same just about everywhere. This can be a problem for a lot of businesses who tend to take the “Set it and forget it” approach to their business website, or only provide generic information. However, keep in mind that there is never an end-all-be-all ranking factor for websites. If your content doesn’t change all that often but it’s good content and your visitors tend to respond well to your website — chances are you’ll be fine. But that doesn’t mean you should rest on your laurels. If your content hasn’t been updated in a long time, Google’s latest changes are a warning shot that says: Keep your content fresh.
Has Panda hit your website? Let us know what the result was!