The Google Panda Smack Down
Content is king. Google has always been clear in this. Too many SEOs have sought to trick google, Bing & Yahoo into thinking bad content was good content. Panda has been aggressively distinguishing between the two.
Producing good content is not easy. In the short term, some have instead tried to trick the engines into ranking poor content. Those who played the long game were less affected by the Panda hits. This becomes almost amusing as we see the response from some SEOs to Google’s continued guidance that good content is key.
One strategy for addressing a google panda smack down is to remove the poor content. Short term, this is easy, fast and a feel good action. But, it ultimately defeats the purpose. Google is not seeking the removal of content, but the improved quality of content.
When you are addressing the issues related to Panda, ask yourself a simple question, “why did we put the content there in the first place?”
If your answer is along the lines of “we’re trying to get rankings,” then remove it. It doesn’t help you, the users or the engines. Yes, rankings are part of the equation. But, the driver is end user benefit so your company has value and can enhance your relationship with customers or prospects.
The more likely answer (I hope) is that you are trying to provide useful information to the user. Google’s point (correct or not) is that the content is too thin to be useful. It is something to keep, but improve upon, and that takes work. The process may start with keyword research, but more likely, you need to go back a bit further and ask some basic question about your customers.
Knowing how they shop, your company’s role in the purchase process and how customers want to interact with you is important in content development. With this understanding, you can review the current content issues, determine their priority and then start to rebuild your pages with better, more complete information for the customers, keeping basic SEO development practices in mind.
If you’ve been hit by Google Panda, take the long view, prioritize and thoughtfully address the core issues. Resist the temptation to ‘pull it down’ or create smoke-and-mirrors to try to get around doing the right thing. SEO is a long view game; treat it accordingly and there will be fewer surprises when Google updates come out.