January 23, 2013

Happy New Year and Hello Google Panda!

Every January I never hold my breath because Google always does something huge.  This 2013 I'm glad I was prepared for the big 'thing' because Google has just updated their Panda Algorithm.  I can almost hear the moans and the questions, 'say wha?, wasn't the latest one called Penguin?'

The Penguin Algorithm
Yes the latest algorithm launched in early 2012 is called Penguin and this algorithm checked websites for quality content.  What is quality content?  Let's put it this way, if you are too lazy to provide well written and well thought out content for your website, it is highly unlikely that your website is on the first page of anything.  But if you took the time to really think about how you want your products/services and company presented then your website is probably effective and earning its keep.

Because we develop websites against algorithms I was actually able to see just how effective a quality content site ranked compared to a website with no content.  We had two clients who asked us to build websites almost around the same exact time.  Working with one client was very easy as they were keen to understand the logic behind Search Engines and what kind of traffic they should be attracting.  It took us almost a month to put together the navigation of their website, but it was definitely worth it.  As soon as we launched the website, it was on the first page of its keywords and then after a couple of months it was already had a top three ranking.  The other client was very busy running their business and did not bother to provide us content for three months.  After an additional six months they finally provided us with content, but it was very thin.  When we launched their website it hardly made a difference on their search engine rank.  They asked me what they should do and I simply said, "write more content."  Its been almost 6 months and they haven't yet.  Suffice it to say, I don't think they even check their website.  It is a good thing their business does not rely on tourists!  Then again, who is to say Users on the island are not looking for them?  Oh well... that is another story altogether.

The Penguin Algorithm also involved more than just quality content, but I will leave you this link to read more about it.

Back to the Panda Algorithm Update
So a few days ago, Google tweeted, "New Panda data refresh rolling out today"  - in my SEO mind I was glad for the notice, but I was too busy to actually check it out; instead wishing I didn't know about it yet.  I only checked it out this afternoon, in between waiting for our server support to get back to me. Here are a few things that Google says:

  • Google wants you to stop caring about what "they" say and start focusing on your Users! 
  • Google has put together a list of questions that you need to answer to determine if your website has high quality content.  Find it here
  • Join Webmaster Central and find answers to your questions from qualified Web developers
There is no gaming Google.  Lots of websites have tried to game Google, but sooner or later, Google catches up with you and your website.  At that point, there is nothing left to do, but to contact an SEO Company based in Grand Cayman (Ehem). While this is always good for business, we can't help you if all you want to do is game your rankings.  We can only help you if you have a product or a service that is of value to your online users and you are willing to provide quality content to support that value.