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The recent update made by Google (Panda) is the first major change since 2009. There were many blogs that were affected by this update. Some experienced a drop in their traffic, while some experienced a surge. Whatever change your blog experienced, I'm sure you have noticed a lot of buzz around these algorithm changes. What is Panda all about? Let's take a look:
According to Google, the Panda update was made to enhance the quality of search results. This made spammy sites disappear from the results. Though there still are some gibberish sites on search results, there are many websites that were pushed down in the search rankings. The Panda update is not perfect, but it did make considerable changes.
The update targeted low quality sites with superficial and shallow content, and brought down their rankings. The websites that were hit the hardest by Panda were content farms and article sites.
Talking about a content farm, many people generally ask what exactly a content farm is. This is actually a very hazy area. Following the definition on Wikipedia, a content farm is a website that uses a lot of freelance writers to write content in order to rank high on search engine results. These websites earn money by getting many page views and thus selling ads on those pages.
This definition brings all the article directories under the definition of content farms. There are many content farms that are still standing strong, though some were penalized.
If you allow guests to post articles on your blog, chances are that some people add low quality content just for some backlinks. If this happens, your blog might have been affected by the recent updates. Opening your blog for guest posts is a good way to encourage reader activity, but some level of moderation is required so that it does not become a content farm.
Keep it Panda friendly
There are some basic steps that you can follow to optimize your website for Google Panda. Lee Odden, TopRank Online Marketing CEO, prescribes four steps that can work with the post Google Panda update.
1. Evaluate your blog for these characteristics: low informative value, short form, too many ads or duplicate content. If some part is being duplicated, just remove it. If the content is not too useful, add bits of information. Remove extra panels of ads. Make sure the person doing this has enough web development expertise and SEO knowledge.
2. For subsequent blog posts, focus on high quality useful content that is not duplicated from anywhere else.
3. Promote your content in such a way that it attracts links from other blogs. You can do it by providing content in a way that makes people comment on it. When people get interested in your website, they will talk about it, or post links to it on other sites. This will increase your page rank. But remember- keep it original.
4. Offer users a chance to share your blog on social media like Twitter and Facebook. Social engagement will popularize your blog faster than other mediums. This will be useful for both your blog and your readers.
Though there are some legitimate sites that got caught up in the Panda update, it has proven to be a windfall for real content marketers – the blogs that provide great content to their readers. Continue to feed the Internet with the best content with less stress on the sales pitch, and you will stay good in the eyes of Google.
If you are looking for something that would let the Panda update work in your favor then use all the organic SEO strategies that you know, and stop building low quality links. Maybe some content farms have been spared by Google, but judging by the direction Google is taking, their next update might not be so kind.
About the Author
June Buckley is an SEO specialist and avid blogger. She likes writing about social media, business blog hosting, internet marketing and mobile technology.
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