The introduction of Google’s newest content filter, Panda, has many webmasters and web strategists rethinking their online content. Panda has already received a number of updates, and is quickly becoming a major tool in the evaluation and ranking of active websites. Google’s previous online filters analyzed a website’s content for verifiable metric information, such as title tags, paid clicks, and page links. Panda appears to be designed to be more intuitive, looking at more than just the statistical data, but evaluating the totality of the site with an emphasis on how well it performs for actual users. In other words, considering the human factor.
Panda has already received a number of major updates, and will continue to be adjusted in response to new online trends. Trying to predict the coming changes to the Panda filter is much like chasing smoke. As soon as you catch it, it will be gone. But staying ahead of Panda is not impossible, and by concentrating on the quality of your online content, and on its value to your audience, you can keep the Panda happy.
Content Remains King
While unique content has always been the driving force of any successful website, Panda’s new protocols attempt to measure the value of that content to potential visitors. When preparing content for your website, ask yourself the following questions:
- Can your visitors trust the information provided in the article?
- Does the article address the concerns of the site’s visitors, or does it simply attempt to rank well in search engine results?
- Is the information in the article balanced, and would it be suitable for inclusion in a printed book or magazine?
- Is the article well written, or does it suffer from spelling, grammatical and factual errors?
- Does the article provide original information?
These are just a few of the questions you need consider when developing your online content. But the importance of quality is clear. Approach all of your sites content with an eye towards the needs of any potential visitors. Google’s Panda still looks for unique content, but the emphasis is now on unique, high quality content that offers distinct value to your online visitors.
What to Avoid to Stay Ahead of the Panda
Even with strong and original content, a website can fall foul of Google’s Panda. Remember, Panda stresses the user experience in evaluating websites so you want your site to be clean, attractive and easy to navigate. A clumsy website, even one filled with valuable information, will generate a high bounce rate. Consider the following when assessing your website, and its contents.
- Does the page have an excessive amount of adds?
- Are the articles marginalized, or are they the center of attention within the page layout?
- How may page jumps are necessary to complete an article?
- Is the loading time for pages too excessive?
- Do the articles contain an overabundance of questionable links?
Once again, user experience is the key to keeping ahead of the ever changing Panda protocols. Keep the content meaningful, accurate and on point, and keep the web-page’s layout clean and interactive. You want your online visitors to spend time on your site, and not simply hit and run.
Panda’s purpose is to evaluate online content, and to present Google’s users with accurate, and helpful, matches to their search engine requests. There is nothing new in that. But what is new, is that Panda is now looking at the quality of a website from the visitor’s standpoint. To do this, the filter looks at the time your visitors spend on your site, page views per visit, and overall bounce rates. Stressing the value of the user experience allows Panda to identify well constructed, content rich sites that offer valuable information to their visitors. To stay ahead of the Panda, think more about the value of what you are offering your visitors, and less about how to trick the algorithm. Because the algorithm always wins.