Contrary to what you might think, Google’s ultimate goal isn’t to sabotage your website’s search engine rankings. What makes Google the powerhouse that it is rests in its desire for webmasters to create the best user experience possible. All of the recent and up-and-coming algorithm updates are structured with this objective in mind.
You have to remember that Google provides a service to the public. Whatever terms we enter into search, we expect to quickly and easily find the information that fits without having to do a lot of sifting through irrelevant or poorly written material.
While there are more components involved in a website having low search engine rankings than we can address in this one post, focusing on content provides us with a good starting point.
Putting the Microscope on “Quality”
Google looks down upon a wide range of short-cuts to get high search engine rankings. If your website contains a lot of duplicate content, for instance, it’s highly likely that this is why your site tanked after a Panda update. Some additional practices to avoid range from hiding links to keyword stuffing. Two of the biggest questions to consider that Google mentions on its quality guidelines for content are as follows:
“Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
Because Panda penalizes sites with content that is found on multiple pages within a site or on pages from other sites, this means that you have to write your own content and make it original. If you’re asking yourself who has the time to do that, then you’re not alone. Content creation does take time and it’s not just about the actual writing. You have to evaluate who your target audience is and understand what information they need the most. A solid grip on search engine optimization (SEO) also plays a role because you need to know what keywords are pertinent to your users and what links to include. However, Panda also crushes over-optimized content, so you can’t simply write your content only with keywords and the search engines in mind.
How to Use Your Time Wisely
There are endless strategies for producing quality content within a short amount of time, but overall, you can’t rush it. If you can’t make the time to do your own writing, finding a good copywriter to work for you is the best course of action. This can be quite a process, but it’s worth it in the end.
One approach to creating quality content that interests your audience and doesn’t take hours upon end is referred to by Bruce Clay as content curation. This refers to producing content that contains original analysis and unique opinions that is based on information provided by an outside source. It can help to find inspiration from other blog posts, but your own ideas have to be present. Mr. Clay points out that curated content can help someone publish material more often because they can summarize and add their own twist.
To help you save time and continue to consistently produce relevant content, it’s helpful to re-purpose content that you yourself already have. Again, don’t copy yourself! You must avoid duplicate content at all costs. If you refer to your own website, press releases, or blogs, are there some themes or topics that you could expand on even more? You already have the information, you just need to dig deeper and branch off to cover other issues that you think your readers would be interested in.
Get Back on the Saddle
Even if your site’s hit has been difficult, don’t get discouraged and definitely don’t panic. There may be a lot of cleaning up to do, even beyond your actual content, but it’s possible to have high search engine rankings again. All in all, creating engaging content on a regular basis is good for SEO and might be a piece of the remedy for your site if you’ve been hit by Panda.