Many SEO specialists are finding their websites have been penalized in the wake of Google’s Panda updates. The old way of thinking when it came to content creation for websites was to stuff it with keywords and relevant anchor text, and if it was also readable by a human being that was an extra added perk. Now, it is the opposite. Google is looking for real, readable content, and keyword stuffers will find themselves ranked much lower.
In fact, Google is now smart enough to show variations in the search term in the search results. For example, the search term “running sneakers” will also return high quality results for “running shoes.” There is no need to stuff both these terms in your page and title tags anymore. In fact, according to Google’s Matt Cutts, keyword density “shouldn’t even be analyzed.”
If you want to know how to create panda friendly content, keep reading it:
Create Diversity in Anchor Text
Another important content note to keep in mind is that anchor text should be varied. If you are trying to rank for “running shoes,” you do not need dozens of links with this as the anchor text. “Women’s sneakers,” “click to learn more about running shoes,” and “athletic sneakers” will also be read by Google as being relevant to “running shoes.” The reason for this is that the Panda updates have made Latent Semantic indexing a bigger part of the algorithm. This means it is better able to detect what your content is actually about, or what niche it is you are going after. This also allows Google to better decide if your website would be a relevant search result, even if the keywords do not match exactly with what was typed in the search bar.
Quality and Uniqueness Both Matters Now!
The extra importance placed on content by the Panda update does not stop with the quality of the content. Duplicate content is greatly hurting SEO for many websites. You may have copy on your website that is well written and perfectly captures whatever it is you are selling. Then when you find an opportunity to put a guest blog post or directory listing on another site, it could be tempting to use this same exact wonderfully written copy. This will actually hurt you, because Google will index that the exact same content is used on more than one site.
Content Stealing or Duplication; Both are Penalized
It isn’t necessarily that Google penalizes duplicate content because it is viewed as stealing, it could be the original author spreading this content around the web. But if Google sees that more than one website has the exact same content, why would it show all these pages in the search results? Google aims to give the most relevant and helpful results, that’s why 80% of searches are done using Google. If you click on the first result, then decide that’s not quite what you’re looking for and then click on the second result and the content is exactly the same, then that would be a frustrating user experience. Google isn’t necessarily trying to penalize those who take shortcuts by duplicating content they are trying to provide varied and relevant search results in order to keep users satisfied. It just so happens that in this process, duplicate content gets punished.
Orlando SEO company Web Solutions of America found this to be true with one of their major clients. After the Panda updates, search engine result rankings for this client’s multiple website’s went way down. Once it was determined that the same copy was used across several external websites in an effort to link build, the content on their websites was rewritten. Within only a few weeks, their rankings had vastly improved.
With each new update and change to their algorithm, the underlying principles of Google’s ranking seem to be the same- don’t resort to cheap tricks and corner cutting. Update your website with fresh, relevant, well written and original content. The content should be written for humans, not crawlers. Of course other factors need to be taken into consideration when looking at your SEO plan as a whole, such as link building, but by starting with Panda-friendly content you will be well on your way to higher search engine rankings.