Google Panda has changed everything. Following its release in February 2011, search engine optimization experts are now reconsidering their strategies. If you’re a digital marketing graduate or aspiring copywriter who isn’t aware of how Google has changed its search engine algorithm, the following guide may prove invaluable as more and more companies move away from traditional SEO tools in order to survive in an increasingly unpredictable information superhighway.
Here’s a little background info. SEO is very complicated, but two of the most prominent techniques are the use of keywords (search terms) and the building of links across a wide range of websites. When it comes to keywords, companies need to optimize them so they can climb to the top of search results and get enough people pouring into their landing page. This is common knowledge now which is why search engines have started cracking down on this kind of behavior sites which rely on keyword-heavy anchor texts in order to generate traffic risk a Google penalty, leading to a sudden drop in page rankings. After all, content should be written for people, not for search engines.
The “Now” Google Panda Strategy
Under Google Panda, the rules have now been tightened so ‘content farms’ and other similar sites have undergone steep decreases in traffic practically overnight.
To separate the wheat from the chaff, some of the Google engineers’ new metrics include penalizing sites which have a high percentage of duplicate content and inappropriate adverts, as well as a low percentage of original content across a number of pages. It is not just about keywords anymore, but the distinctiveness and relevancy of those words and some sites need bigger revamps than others. For example, a company website can suffer if it has several pages of low-quality content, even if the webmasters are regularly updating their landing page with fresh material.
There’s nothing wrong with any of this but some well intentioned sites, including some who have had a strong web presence for years, are struggling to adapt in this new environment. They need some help so they can work their way back to the top again. This is where you come in.
The approach of stuffing pages with as many keywords as possible is already looking very primitive. It is surprising that it was tolerated for as long as it did. Copywriters today need to throw out their old manuals and produce real, creative content again, where the keyword is not awkwardly wedged into the articles at any opportunity.
Guest blogging is increasingly growing in relevance. Newly search engine optimized pages are moving away from spammy articles that promote products and towards more genuinely helpful advice. For example, there are many pages with titles like ‘How to Write a CV’ or ‘How You Can Stop Smoking’, which provide a proper service and their keywords are merely incidental. It also leads to more creativity as once you start thinking about how you can provide information which isn’t similar or plagiarized from elsewhere; Google Panda can classify the website as having high-quality content.
Admittedly, there are some subjects that can’t be written about creatively in a non-blog article. Copywriters should nevertheless try the best they can in these cases whilst the webmaster generates traffic through other avenues, like social media plug-ins.
If you’ve ever read a memorable guest blog online, which was so good that you re-visit the webpage to occasionally re-read it or see what else is fun to read there, then it is more than likely the author worked hard to produce a unique and captivating article, which led to a keyword afterwards without the search term being the main focus of the content – rather than the other way round.
Ian Phillips is a writer who believes that good quality Guest Blogging practices and Social Media links are both important steps to improving the overall standard of the internet. He recommends using unique and creative material to engage with and attract online consumers.