Google rolled out yet another Panda update, known has Panda 4.0, at the end of May, affecting up to 7.5% of search queries – which is a greater impact than all Panda updates and data refreshes since its initial launch. This update continues to target sites with low quality or duplicate content, specifically hitting sites that syndicate content from other sources, such as news sites, price comparison portals, forums, and weather sites.
What Does Panda 4.0 Mean for Small Business Owners?
At first glance, it appears as those larger content aggregation sites are the only ones who need to be worried about their search rankings post Panda 4.0. However, small businesses must be careful as well. Even those not directly affected by this update can take the opportunity to evaluate their SEO efforts and determine if they are doing all they can to comply with Google’s standards and boost their search rankings. Though these are by no means new best practices, they bear repeating:
Spend Your SEO Time Wisely:
You only have so much time – or money in your budget – to devote to SEO. Ensure that the items you are committed to have real value in terms of SEO. For instance, your time would be better spent sharing your press releases with local news sources, sparking interest in your company for an original piece, rather than submitting them to sites that simply sent them out to mass news aggregators. Though the content is yours, Google will not give you as much credit (or may possibly dock you) for back links on sites that it deems low quality.
Fresh Content is Key:
Posting fresh, quality content on your site on a regular basis is a must to compete in the Google search rankings, If you submit content to other sites, be sure to supply pieces that you do not plan on using on your site in the future and ensure that any posts you accept from an outside writer are completely original. Additionally, avoid pulling large chunks of text from other sources, even in quotes, as sites that have done so have been hit by Panda 4.0. Finally, ensure that you’re not creating content for the sake of content. Your blogs, videos, pages, and other pieces should all provide value to the user.
Focus on the User Experience:
In your attempts to rank higher in the Google search results, don’t lose sight of the purpose of your website: to be a valuable resource to your customers and potential customers. Sacrificing the user experience in order to devote time to so-called SEO strategies will not do you any favors. In fact, Google takes user satisfaction factors, such as the Click Through Rate on your search results, the SERP Return Rate (or the percentage of users who click back to the search results after landing on your site) and the time users spend on your site after visiting from their search results, into account when determining page rank. Thus, your efforts should be focused on enticing users to click on your listing in their search results with well written title tags and meta descriptions and keeping them there with engaging content.
Have you seen a drop in your search rankings post Panda 4.0? Reach out to us for a consultation to review your search engine marketing strategy! Weren’t impacted by Panda 4.0? Don’t take that as an excuse to rest on your laurels! Google is constantly making updates to improve their search results. Ensure that you’re in the know about the latest changes and how they’ll affect your business by checking our blog regularly.