Google Panda and the Content Siren Song
May 9, 2011 § 5 Comments
Ah, the late 90’s…what an innocent time that may have seemed. Many of us were living Semi-Charmed Lives, trying to find The Way as we tried to Take A Picture while Learning to Fly on our way to Walkin’ on the Sun.
What do all of those things have in common, besides trying to mash up as many references to late 90’s songs as possible in one sentence? I found all of those song titles with a quick search on Google, which has become as dominating a brand name for search as Coke and Nike are to their respective industries. Since starting in the late 90’s, Google has lived by an unofficial motto of “Don’t Be Evil“, although a recent change to the Google algorithm called “Panda” has one small company wondering if that is exactly the case.
In a recent story featured on National Public Radio, the change to Google’s Algorithm (called Panda) was recently rolled out to change the formula that Google uses to generate search results. The real-world consequences from this change by Google were evident to a Long Island online furniture business, which saw the company ranked in the top 100 for biggest drop in search rankings, according to the NPR story. The owner of the business says that this drop in search rankings means that he may be making changes to his business, including layoffs and other cuts; Google’s lead engineer on the Panda update is quoted in the story as saying that “the sites that do put a little more individual care, attention and work into their content” will reap the benefits of the new algorithm because those sites “are the ones that users tend to prefer a bit more and appreciate.”
What does it all mean? For this business owner, it means hiring someone to rewrite the content for over 35,000 pages on his website to be more in line with the new Google Panda algorithm in the hope that his site will be indexed in a way that is similar to what it was before; for Google, it is all about delivering relevant content and if websites aren’t willing to follow their guidelines, then that is the price that will be paid.
For those of us who are working each and every day with search engine optimization on behalf of our clients, Panda offers an interesting conundrum. We have always pushed the idea that “content is king” and with these changes to the algorithm, this truth is more evident than it ever has been before that content is one of, if not the most, important factor in making sure that websites are properly indexed by Google and other search engines. Continuous updating of relevant content, staying away from low-quality content, links and information, establishing relevancy and creating a definitive plan of how to keep the content on the website as fresh as possible is the key to quality rankings on Google; now that Google’s Panda is on point, following this ideology is vitally important for any business who is looking to leverage their search rankings into real world results.