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The Google Panda Legacy

The Google Panda Legacy

Google's Panda update was unleashed to the Internet two years ago, during the “love month” of February. Originally called the Content Farmer Update, it weeded out content farms and “thin sites” from the search engine results pages. The name was later on changed to “Google Panda”, after Google confirmed it was internally named after the engineer that helped design the algorithm. Wikipedia states it affected 12% of the total search results when it was first rolled out in February. By April 2011, the Google Panda was rolled out globally, and changed how sites all over are ranked.

There have been a couple of other major algorithm changes rolled out since then, like the Penguin and the EMD update. But none has captured the attention, or caused as much effect to SEO, as the Google Panda update. It’s affected the netizen so much that SEORoundtable publishes constant Google Panda Update posts.

In affiliate marketing, Google Panda has been a buzzword since it was first rolled out. It has been blamed for sites that have disappeared in the SERPs, or for dropping rank. If anything, the Google Panda update has changed how affiliate marketing sites are built and promoted.

LIKE-able Content

“Content is king”: This has been said in various forums, but it’s not as true anymore. Before the Google Panda, you only need high-quality content on your site. By high quality, we mean informative articles free from grammatical errors; Comprehensible posts that give value to your readers. But these days, after the Google Panda, you need to publish content that will impress readers. Better yet, make it the kind of content that users will want to share on their social media accounts like their Facebook wall or on Twitter. Your content needs to amaze, entertain or inform users enough that you get that Facebook Like. That’s tough, I know, but aim for that kind of quality each time you publish something on your site.

Good content is not just to evade the big, bad Google Panda. It’s for your users as well. Good content keeps readers on your site, and helps to keep them come back to your site. Quality content makes it easier for you to build trust with your target market, and convince them to purchase from your site, instead of from another; Just all-good reasons to motivate you to publish only the best content on your site.

Sam wrote an Affilorama blog post on how to write Google Panda-approved articles. You can start taking tips from that article, and apply them to your site’s content.

Enhance User Experience

I went to a hospital recently for a check-up and on the wall right behind my doctor’s receptionist was a poster that said, “We want to WOW you.” What does that have to do with the Google Panda and your affiliate marketing site? Well… that’s what you want to do to your users, to those people that visit your site. You wow them with content; you better wow them with your site too. After all, what’s the point of having amazing content, if it’s presented on a webpage filled with irrelevant ads and images?

With the Google Panda update, you need to make sure that people enjoy being on your site. Don’t make them run after the full article. If you have AdSense, pick just one spot to put the ads. Insert interesting, related images to make your article more reader-friendly. Look at the design of the site itself: Does that neon orange header match with the green background? Are the fonts readable, or are they too big? If your site doesn’t look good to you, chances are, they won’t look good to the readers either.

Keep in Touch with the User

The Google Panda update looks at your site’s metrics, and this is because your site’s metrics are good indicators of how great the user experience is on your site. Take for example your site’s browse rate. A high browse rate would mean that the user spends time looking at your webpages and articles. Google is now looking at the diversity as well as the quantity of the traffic you are getting on your site. Are you getting plenty of traffic from within your area, or are you getting traffic from other countries too? Where does the traffic mainly come from? These are just some of the things the great Google Panda are looking at in terms of ranking your site.

As far as the Google Panda is concerned content is not king, their users are. That is the essence of the Google Panda algorithm.

We can all bemoan it. We can all whine about how it has made SEO all the more mind-boggling, but it’s not rocket science: If you want to be friends with the Google Panda, then be best friends with your users.

I’m going to get back to reviewing AffiloBlueprint, our current post-Panda course. Get AffiloBlueprint here and learn how to beat Google at their own game. I hope you like my post! I would love to hear about what you think. Show me some love and leave a comment! :)

8 Comments Add your comment
  • Reply Neil Shearing • 402 days ago

    Interesting article. According to searchengineland.com, Matt Cutts said there will be a new Panda refresh soon, either this Friday or next Monday... the 15th or 18th March. That should be fun! :)

    Neil.

    Ryan • 354 days ago

    @ Neil or anyone:
    Did this ever happen?? Where's the best resource to track these updates closely? I'm just starting up in AF and yikes...yes I need to stay on top of this kind of news too.

    And think, I used to like pandas. Thanks for ruining Cuddly for me, Google.

    Cecille Loorluis324 days ago

    @Ryan -

    Google did release a Penguin 2.0 which Google says is more in-depth than its predecessor: http://www.seroundtable.com/google-penguin-four-live-16830.html

    You can go to searchengineland, seoroundtable or seomoz for updates on everything SEO. :)

    Hope that helps. Have a good day!

  • Reply Brian Edmondson402 days ago

    Great post Cecille,

    One of the things I've always advocated is just the simple concept of publishing good quality, original content, on a regular basis.

    Every time Google launches new "updates" generally my sites improve in the rankings because I stick to that philosophy of creating value for the end user.

    Going forward, I really believe that Google+ and Google Authorship will play a huge role in rankings.

    Looking forward to the review!

    Brian

    Cecille Loorluis401 days ago

    Hi Brian,

    Thanks and I'm glad to hear your sites have not been affected. If you keep to publishing only quality content, I am sure that your site will soon be an authority site, often visited and often referred to.

    All the best to you and your sites!


  • Reply Emmanuel Mulongo402 days ago

    I think to ``conquer search engines`` you need to put yourself in the shoes of the search engine and ask yourself the question: What would YOU want if you were in you`re prospects` situation?

    Great post guys.

    -Emmanuel

    Cecille Loorluis401 days ago

    Yes, the users/readers are what we should all please. Not search engines. And the rest will fall into place. :)

    Thanks Emmanuel! Have a good day!

  • Reply sinashk401 days ago

    I too believe "Content is The King"... indeed, a good article...Congrats

    Cecille Loorluis394 days ago

    Hi sinashk,

    Thanks! :)

    Content is still king, but it has evolved in that you have to put out content that wows people in a way that they are compelled to share it to others.

    Have a good day!

  • Reply Native Affiliate400 days ago

    Thank you for clarifying Google Panda for me Cecille.. Yes it very much sounds like publishing good quality, original content, on a regular basis is the key..

    Cecille Loorluis394 days ago

    Hi Native Affiliate,

    You're welcome!

    Publishing quality content on your site each and every time is a challenge, but the rewards like gaining more traffic and loyal readership makes the effort worth it.

    Have a good day!

  • Reply michael • 391 days ago

    It's hard to make the case that you are not 'right on'.
    Enjoyed your analysis!

    Cecille Loorluis361 days ago

    Hi Michael,

    Thank you! :) I'm glad you like my blog post.

    Have a good day!

  • Reply john neilen361 days ago

    Hi

    Google apprears to set a standard for which they want everyone to meet. I pose three situations.

    1 Search How to make bombs at home. There are 222,000,000 references. Is this good for the future of the internet and will the sites be rated for good content?

    2 I am the best surgeon in the world and my website indicates this. However is GooIe or my current or future clients realy more interested in that I have nice content, with just the right length and appropiate keywords and backlinks.

    3 If google was owner by North Korea or China would we be happy to accept the standards that they want to impose on us.

    Have a happy day.

    Cecille Loorluis361 days ago

    Hi John,

    Excellent points!

    "1 Search How to make bombs at home. There are 222,000,000 references. Is this good for the future of the internet and will the sites be rated for good content? "

    >>> From my understanding, these "standards" are put into an AI who does the sorting and the ranking. Taking this into consideration, then the answer to your question "Will the sites be rated for good content?" is yes. If there are people who search how to make bombs at home online and found an article particularly helpful and shared it on their social media accounts and anywhere else online, then that page would rank for "how to make bombs at home".

    As to your question: is this good for the future of the internet? No, it's not, but then Google does not have a hold on what one can upload to the internet or not. They can only set standards and rank sites/pages.

    "2 I am the best surgeon in the world and my website indicates this. However is GooIe or my current or future clients realy more interested in that I have nice content, with just the right length and appropiate keywords and backlinks."

    >>> I think that being the best surgeon in the world, you would pay more attention to patients than your site or your site's SEO. However, new patients or prospective patients would want to know what you have done and can do, what your credentials are and your contact information. While you do not need to have content with the right length and appropriate keywords and backlinks, you still need to have helpful content for your patients online and Google will be using that to rank your site.

    "3 If google was owner by North Korea or China would we be happy to accept the standards that they want to impose on us."

    >>> If Google was owned by North Korea or China, then Google would not be what it is now, so there will be no standards for us to accept.

    Google is still just one search engine, They are just another source of traffic. You do not have to go with their standards. You can choose to do it your way and find other sources of traffic.

    I appreciate your comments. Have a good day!

  • Reply Altair Goh • 283 days ago

    The key to website success is writing quality content for your target audience. Make sure that quality content is something that your visitors will enjoy reading, watching or listening to and will refer their friends, colleagues, family members and others to it. By building quality content on your site, you get not only search engine traffic, but trust, reputation, greater conversions and incoming natural links. Good luck! ;)

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