20th May 2014 was a big, scary day for websites the internet over: Google unrolled Panda 4.0, the search engine’s latest algorithmic update which sent search rankings peaking and troughing all over the place. If you’ve noticed that your site has risen up the rankings in the last week, or taken a worrying nosedive, Panda 4.0 is the likely culprit.
Google is rolling out our Panda 4.0 update starting today.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) May 20, 2014
If you haven’t been tracking your rankings, you may also have noticed an increase or decrease in search traffic in your Analytics data. If you’ve ticked all of Panda’s boxes, all of your good quality SEO work is probably paying off. Meanwhile, if your website is thin on great content, full of spammy keywords and riddled with duplicate pages, you may well be in the internet doldrums right now.
Fortunately, all is not lost. The path to search engine redemption? Great content! Here’s what Panda 4.0 is all about in a nutshell:
- YES to high quality, original content
- YES to user-oriented content with real value
- NO to duplicate or scraped content
- NO to barely literate, spammy content
- NO to “thin” content (Read Google’s guide to find out what this is)
- NO to rehashing existing articles
- NO to cheap and nasty outsourced content
3 Types of Post-Panda Content to Concentrate On
So with these guidelines in mind, what type of content can you create which will win you big Brownie points from the Panda 4.0 algorithm?
1. “Thick”, Juicy Content
Thin content relates to content with “little or no added value”. Google offer some examples of thin content including:
- Affiliate pages
- Cookie-cutter websites
- Doorway pages
- Duplicate content
- Automatically generated (scraped) content
Thick content is the polar opposite: completely original content visitors can really get their teeth into. Originality is crucial here. Don’t just rehash any old posts that are hot in your industry this week – come up with a new idea, or add something to the discussion. Thick content is all about bringing something new to the table and serving up something meaty, useful, interesting and brand spanking new.
2. Well-Built Product Pages
Product pages are a goldmine of duplicate content. When you have hundreds of products to offer on your site, cribbing copy from suppliers or using the same text on numerous pages saves you time and money.
What this approach won’t do, however, is win you any love from Panda 4.0. If you want to give your rankings a boost, concentrate on making your product pages as unique and useful to visitors as possible. Sites like ASOS do a pretty good job of this. They ensure that every product has an original and helpful description, plus add lots of handy and interactive features such as “Complete The Look”, a video catwalk, care instructions, an “email to friend” option etc.
3. Content You Can Be Proud Of
This really is the name of the game. At the end of the day, every Google update to organic search results is designed to deliver the most relevant, highest quality content to searchers. If you can make sure you’re producing content which searchers actually want and haven’t seen a million times before, you’re onto a winner. Here are a few ideas to help make this happen:
- Don’t write irrelevant articles just to shoehorn in keywords, instead try writing useful pieces around long tail search queries. Lots of these come in question format so, if you can identify what searchers are asking about issues surrounding your product, service or industry, you can create something really useful and usable which visitors will share.
- Think: “Would I read this” – if the answer is no, go back to the drawing board and start again. Only publish when you’re confident you’ve created something you’d be proud to put your name on.
- Think quality, not quantity (or cost-effectiveness). Really great content doesn’t come ten a penny. Real thought and care goes into worthwhile content. If you don’t care about it, why should visitors and why should Google?<
Keen to make an impression on a Panda 4.0 web? Strategiq Marketing can help. We know how to infuse your content with value and win you positive attention from searchers and search engines alike.