Companies with an online presence have a vested interest in Google activities as the company’s algorithms can have an effect on their ability to achieve high rankings. In fact, if a company tries to manipulate the algorithms, Google often finds out and kicks that site to the garbage bin. This is good news for you if you are trying to operate a legitimate company with quality offerings online, but with the emergence of Panda, you’re likely feeling the crunch.
The purpose of Panda, of course, is to identify low-quality pages and sites that offer little more than the right combination of keywords and eliminate them from top search rankings. The focus is to ensure quality sites get the attention they deserve. Google is trying to increase the overall user experience by ensuring the search terms entered into its site return what it considers to be “high quality” sites.
It is easy to assume that sites guilty of “keyword” stuffing will quickly be identified as low quality sites, but Google’s Panda is a little more detailed than that. It can actually affect you rather easily if you have done certain things to try and gain a competitive advantage in the search results. Some of these activities may seem innocent, or even to be good business strategy. Google, however, sees them as poor business practices.
Google is getting pickier about what it will and will not allow in the SEO strategy and the latest Panda update takes the concept further than ever before. Certain “expert sites” such as about.com and eHow.com are garnering attention due to their ability to rank higher than the sites generating the same material that actually adhere to the Google rules. The two sites reportedly did get hit by Google and dropped in their search rankings, but a quick scan of search results will often reveal their power on the Web. Compound this with the fact that both sites focus heavily on ads and links, it is difficult for some online marketers to understand whether Google is playing fair, or simply picking on those who are dominating the results.
As companies throughout the online world try to adjust their strategies to accommodate the Panda change, controversy has emerged. In fact, when the update first hit the scene, massive traffic loss was felt by a number of reputable sites. This slip was a temporary adjustment and many of these sites have recovered somewhat, but the impact forced these companies to re-evaluate their strategies.
One thing Panda most certainly created for online companies everywhere is increased problems. Sites that were ranking well fell rapidly and those that may have been stagnant started to gain in the search rankings. Companies are being forced to take a closer look at their strategies and build out value for the long-term, rather than meaningless keywords and links for the sake of search result strength.
The key here is the lack of focus when developing the SEO strategy. A company that views this as a short-term plan to beef up search rankings will find their results lackluster. Instead, the focus has to be on treating SEO as a long-term and ongoing investment in the business. This demands a priority placed on quality content creation and management, as well as valid link building between reputable and valuable sites. You can make your SEO strategy work, but you will have to play by the rules.
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