July 30, 2014

Measuring a Panda: How to Stay Consistent in the Age of SEO Change

Pandas may sound cute, but Google’s SEO algorithm has the potential to viciously swat your website off the first page of results without notice.

Awww, pandas! Known to most people as cute, lovable oafs of nature with a cuddly persona and black eyes, others may get a bit of a different feeling when they hear the word. Companies trying to see success in search engine optimization (SEO) may feel more vexed than amused when “panda” is uttered.

Google launched its Panda Update in 2011 to help lower the impact and ranking of poor-quality websites. The company released Panda 4.0 earlier this year as an addendum, which has sent multiple websites scrambling to update and improve, as each new release is wont to do.

Pandas may sound cute, but Google’s SEO algorithm has the potential to viciously swat your website off the first page of results without notice.

None of us are privy to exactly how this algorithm operates, but plenty of websites have felt the impact, seeing immediate positive or negative changes in their rank. For example, after the most recent update, Ask.com saw a 50 percent drop in traffic from Google. Ouch.

Modern SEO must involve plenty of testing, changing and revamping to be truly successful, especially since the proverbial SEO rug could be pulled out from under you at any time by a giant Panda. Since Google owns as much as 70 percent of the search engine market share, it is essential to pay attention to the moves they make and how they impact the industry

Navigating a Shifting Terrain

What’s right and what’s wrong in the world of SEO? You’ll hear plenty of unique answers from experts, amateurs and everyone in between, but the correct answer is always changing.

B2B companies face something of a moving target when trying to improve their rank, but it’s important to stay abreast of current trends and be sure to keep consistent in their web content strategy to see the most success.

Organizations should always check their own numbers on how people are getting to their website, how long they stay there and what the conversion rate is. These stats should paint a vivid picture for how your website is doing as a whole; if any areas start to slump, it may be time to change your SEO strategy up a bit to ensure people are actually reading the content on your site.

Keep your Equilibrium

With always-changing algorithms, shifting expectations and hundreds of new websites every day, it’s important to stay consistent and have high-quality updates:

  • Always start by identifying whom you want to target and why when forming your plan for SEO. This is an essential step that will make sure the right people are reading your website no matter what version of Panda Google is pushing out.
  • Deliver the goods to your visitors via great content, keywords that make sense and posts that will make your customers want to come back for more.
  • Write for your readership, not a search engine. Google’s search crawlers are getting smarter and better at understanding context; trying to attract them by using the same phrases repeatedly is a losing battle.
  • Be unwavering in your delivery. One of the fastest ways to see your website flounder is to stop updating or adding anything new to it.

Being Social and Building Relationships

While no one knows what has truly gone into this latest Panda update, one thing is certain: it is out for blood when it comes to spammers. Multiple reports have shown that spammers, or websites with seemingly spammy content, have fallen in the ranks after the latest Panda update.

This is where the utilization of social media in a proper way can help bridge the gap. Quality posts with links to great content on your website will drive natural traffic, something that is always good for your search engine rank. We run into plenty of businesses that look at social media and ask “Is this really for me?” But the answer is an empathic “YES” in the vast majority of cases.

Why is social media so important? It allows you to communicate with current and potential customers, sure, but it also gives a platform for you to post links to your website and keep that SEO ranking moving upward. In an age where the Panda update could end up taking a big bite out of your search engine traffic, this can be imperative. It can make up for gaps where Panda may have dropped you in rank or keeping you afloat no matter what the algorithm is doing.

B2B social media is, in many industries, wide open. Drawing the attention of your customers and associates on networks such as Facebook and Twitter may go a long way in getting your website the high quality hits you desperately need to thrive.

Don’t feel like you have the weight of a panda on your back when trying to improve SEO practices! It may seem daunting, but fleshing out a website should not only improve your search engine results, it will also very likely improve the quality of leads you get.