April 05, 2012

How To Avoid Pain From the Paws of Google Panda

  • Getting strong rankings within the Google search engine is important for any affiliate marketer, and that’s why changes to the Google results ranking algorithm that affect
    affiliate sites is an important challenge to overcome.

    The Google Panda update was introduced in February 2011 to lower the rank of “low-quality sites” in favor of more content-rich sites. The initial rollout was said to have affected 12% of all search results but soon drew criticism from those who said the new algorithm favored copyright infringers over the sites where content originated.

    Several changes to the Panda update have been made its launch. Google posted to its blog a notice to affected pubishers that advised them to re-evaluate site quality. We think it’s important to remember that the intention of the Panda update is to emphasize quality sites and quality content. The best approach to auditing and updating your site is to do the same. Focus on how to make your site and its content more valuable to visitors.

    Here are some tips for making your site as Panda-proof as possible:

    Post original content
    Nothing does more good for a site than content you wrote yourself. Audit your site. How much of your content is original? Try to get the percentage of original content as high as possible. This has the added advantage of enabling you to speak in your company’s voice to your target audience. So, while you’re revisiting your content, take the time to make it truly your own.

    Avoid duplicate content
    Google wants to ensure that your content – and your site – is as valuable as possible to visitors. This means you shouldn’t repeat the same content on page after page. Find a new way to say it. This adds value and helps you avoid a painful hit from Panda. If you have the same message on multiple pages – such as calls to action (Call Us for a Consultation!), you will want to change those messages and customize them for each page – or remove them from pages where they aren’t relevant.

    Relevancy matters
    When you’re evaluating site content, compare the content you’re giving visitors against the target keywords that would bring them to each page. If you’re targeting the term “air conditioners” on a page with content about “humidifiers,” you need to rework either the target keywords or the content. And don’t forget about the ads on your site. Posting ads that have no relevance to the content of a page not only hurts conversion – it can bring Panda trouble as well.

    Beware Over-Optimization
    We’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Google wants quality sites and pages for visitors. If your site/pages read like SEO soup, you’re not adding value and can expect to take hit from the Panda update. The same kinds of over-optimization that once served your site so well now may mean your search engine rankings drop off dramatically.

    Watch your page and site bounce rates
    If visitors are leaving a page or your site quickly, it’s a sign that they didn’t find what they were looking for – and that gets the very heart of the Google Panda update. If visitors aren’t getting what they were searching for, Google will replace your site with others that deliver on visitor expectations. Pay particular attention to the clickthrough percentage for referrals to your site that come from Google traffic.

    Links still matter
    Inbound links are important because a link from a quality site within your niche is viewed as a vote of confidence in the quality of you site and its content. If you have links from sites of poor quality (or relevance) to your site, those will hurt your effort to be seen as a quality site.

    These tips will help you make your site and its pages be viewed as valuable and relevant, which will help you avoid painful Panda problems.
    If you feel that your site’s quality has been unfairly judged, you can say so in a forum established by Google to address such concerns:
    http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!category-topic/webmasters/crawling-indexing–ranking/NNinlDYGgwM

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