Whether you are a blogger or a business with a website, everybody wants to reach their target audience. As the internet grows in popularity and more and more bloggers upload their work and a greater portion of businesses are creating websites, it is easy to be drowned out by the competition. Couple this with the swathe of internet spam and phony advertising sites and you can understand why some websites are gasping for air. This is where Google Panda comes in.
Panda is the latest search algorithm rolled out by Google to ensure valid and relevant webpages are generated by its users when they enter a search term. Google Panda is designed to reduce spam, fight content farming sites, improve scraper detection and filter low quality content. In fact Panda was originally labelled “Farmer” because one of its main objectives was to tackle content farming sites, the name changed to “Panda” in honour of a key developer of the algorithm.
How can you ensure that your website is not penalised by Google Panda and climbs higher up in the search results? The problem is two fold and requires a basic understanding of what Google Panda has been designed to do, and an understanding of basic search engine optimisation (SEO).
The basic rules of thumb for SEO
First and foremost is writing good content for your webpage. Good content means relevant, well written, grammatically and factually correct information that connects with your target audience. Why is this important? Good content will be ReTweeted and linked to by other websites. This is fantastic news for your search engine ranking, especially if those links and ReTweets are from sites with a high ranking and have a large audience.
Another aspect of good content is good spelling. Some extra thought may need to go into spelling depending on your target audience. If you are targeting US audiences key words such as ‘optimisation’ need to be spelt ‘optimization’ and vice-versa for Australian and UK audiences.
By regularly adding fresh content you are encouraging readers to revisit your site and create fresh links and hopefully retweet your most recent articles. Search engine robots (spiders) will also check your site more often meaning that any new content you add will be indexed faster.
Headings and descriptive page titles
Employing descriptive and relevant title pages not only makes the navigation of your site easier for visitors, it also makes it easier for search engines to determine what each page is about. In addition the title page is used to link to your site in search result listings. It is also important to use the h1-h6 elements for headings within your content. This not only breaks up large chunks of text and gives your article structure but it also makes it simpler for spiders to construe and categorise the main points of your article.
Lean and clean markup
High quality, clean markup will aid in SEO as will a high content to markup ratio. Search engine robots can sometimes find it difficult to read through complicated and unclear markup thus reducing your chance of a higher search rating.
Simplifying URLs makes it easier for search engine robots and users to find and access your site, this in turn naturally optimises your webpage to move up the list of search results.
Be patient and don’t try and cheat the system
If you have been doing all of the above correctly you should see your webpage moving up in the search results page. Keep in mind that employing all of the above will not automatically sky rocket your webpage to the top of the list overnight. It takes time for people and search engine robots to find and engage with your website.
Resist the temptation of link farming, keyword spamming and other methods to try and cheat search results. Much like card counting in a casino it may work initially, bringing in large numbers. Eventually your subterfuge will be exposed, you may not have both knee caps broken like in some mob casinos but your site will be removed from the search results listings.
SEO with the Panda
All of the above basics of SEO still remain important with the new Panda algorithm but even more importance has been placed on good content.
Keeping in mind that Panda has been designed to reduce the amount of low quality sites from Google searches, chiefly it is important that your webpage has good content. Panda is achieving this by measuring ReTweets and the amount of social sharing of your content. The bounce rate of your site has been given greater importance therefore encouraging websites to use engaging and quality content. Finally, the amount of adds in your webpage, especially in relation to content affects SEO.
Finding a voice or a platform to be heard used to be a lot simpler on the internet. Although the potential audience has grown significantly over the years, finding a platform to be heard is becoming more competitive. Following the above guidelines is a great place to start for most. If you are not achieving the desired SEO success you were intending consider hiring an SEO consult to help. No doubt that Google Panda’s new changes are necessary and will make relevant websites more accessible to all. As I am sure is Google Panda’s intention, happy hunting!References Basics of search engine optimisation. jody nesbitt http://www.isnare.com/?aid=63961&ca=Internet optimizing searchable content of your website. http://www.dartmouth.edu/comp/web-media/web/support/gss-tips.html
Google Panda SEO. http://www.socialmedianews.com.au/google-panda-seo/ Google Panda Updates Algorithm for 2012 http://www.living-streams.co.uk/news_article_name/search_engine_optimisation-403922-internet_business_ideas.aspx