Google’s Panda Algorithm Update – Steps to help your site now

Google recently announced a major change in their search engine algorithm dubbed the “Farmer” update. In short, Google is targeting content farms that host and hold massive amounts of articles and various content collection sites. These websites provide little to the searching individuals in way of content and relevancy.  Think of massive dumpsters collecting crap and said crap is served up (based on search queries] as high quality content.

Google does not like this nor do we, the searching public. Google wants high quality content which is the main reason they currently own 70% [or better] of the U.S. search market. Recent stories have gained high publicity and could tarnish Google’s squeaky clean reputation for serving up only the very best results. What Google does not like…Google changes…and fast.

JC Penny was called out by the New York Times for building links [without relevant and corresponding content] and Google took action ASAP. JC Penny’s rankings have tanked.  More companies are getting the SEO axe for paying for links and I fully suspect that many jobs will be lost, agency contracts broken, and more heads will roll. This could be the biggest change to the Google algorithm in its history.

Check out these recent stories [below] which led to the Enron-like [smartest guys in the room] crash of multiple online sites based on very bad SEO practices.

Bing Business getting punished by Google

Eyeglasses and bad reviews

Link building and the pet rock . Fist mentioned by Searchology last year.

So what does this mean for you? Why should you care? And is there anything you need to do?

First of all, do not panic. If you have been working with a reputable SEO firm you should be okay. Google claims that the new changes will affect about 11.8% of the current search results. It could be much more by the time the full impact of these changes comes full circle. Second, you need to care because it is all about quality content or as I stated in 2006…content is king. Google simply got gamed by the SEO “experts”.  Now, here is what you can do and need to do moving forward.

  1. Provide useful and unique website content for your visitors.
  2. Give your website visitors a reason[s] to come back to your site.
  3. Give your visitors a good reason to share your website with others via email and social media.
  4. Take over all of your social media profiles. Google and Bing have both suggested that social media “likes”, reviews, and fans may become a new metric for measuring websites and ranking websites. I believe this is the future of SEO. The Searchology SEO formula and methodology may look something like this; quality content [see 1 through 3] + likes + fans + reviews + universal search + links = killer search engine rank.

One thing has always been a constant. Don’t game Google or you will pay for it big time. Don’t buy links, don’t create subpar content, and always be creative with your content. The good news in all of this is companies and websites with good relevant content now have a golden opportunity to make positive changes which will impact their site ranking. As Google continues to lop off the heads of very big websites…they are going back to their roots of website content and said content ruling their SERPS.

Google, Net Neutrality & Thrid Half of Your Brain

There has been so much news in happening on the search engine landscape it’s hard to keep up. Search firms, internet marketing professionals, and those in the search engine optimization disciplines are ready for a breather. The really big news falls between the recent announcement of Google and Verizion’s [GoogleVerizon ] take on net neutrality and the recent launch of Google Instant. 

The recent proposal has some okay ideas and some ideas that were epic failures. Personally, I don’t believe the proposal will go anywhere as it outlines a) the requirement for the FCC to authority and oversight of broadband access services b) paid placement could dominate the Internet c) what is considered “lawful” content can be very subjective d) other noted exceptions that could completely kill freedom of the Internet.

Sure this is pretty troubling…until Google unleashed “Instant”. Google Instant may end up, as Sergey Brin put it…”the third half of your brain.” Google Instant fills in keywords as you type and displays search results within seconds. Having one of the world’s biggest corporations thinking for your mind may be the best thing in the world for some but not for most. I’ve never been one to be a meat puppet, how about you?

The ability to take a look at search results based on keyword queries is what makes search engines so cool in the first place. When the query is taken away and automation takes over it seems a little like a portion of Internet freedom has been taken away as well. If the thought process is removed what are you searching for? If you are stopped in mind long tail search query, then what happens to the long tail terms?  Are you searching for something that you want to find or for what Google want’s you to find?

In addition, with the new search results flying by a lighting speed, it is more likely larger and broader paid search keywords will be displayed. Long tail search terms will loose their value and broad terms will be like buying a gallon of gas [many already are]. There is no doubt this will increase the cost of keywords, bid strategy will change, and click through rates are going out the window.  Google is not making it easier for companies to compete, it seems like they simply want more money from the highest bidder.

One could make the argument that the recent changes in Google Ad Words quality scores would be the great equalizer [from the paid search perspective] however this is not the case either. Google quality scores have made it more difficult to rank well within the paid search listings without a landing page for each keyword. It seems like it’s all just coming down to dollars and zero sense from the smartest guys in the room.

More and more it seems like Google is trying very hard to not be evil and doing a terrible job of it. Think train wreck + fire balls + killer bees + the executive team of Enron. Yes, it can be easy to get so big you think it’s all just that good and your company is full of the most brilliant people in the world. I’m not wanting to go on a rant here, however, it seems the once little guys are forgetting about where they came from.

No one knows what Google Instant will do to SEO or to paid search. Time will tell. Matt Cutts says not to worry about SEO as the underlying Google algorithms remain the same. One thing is for certain, the new search alliance between Bing and Yahoo could be much bigger than Google had anticipated. It would not be a big shock to find search marketers and SEO professionals moving toward the other 30% of the search market to save money while maintaining solid qualified traffic.

In fact, it could be just the thing Google needs to bring it down to earth.