Tips For Business Owners – Monthly Tips #4

If you care about the success of your business and web presence, then you’re going to want to read what I have to say about the ongoing impact of the Google Panda update.

Don’t worry, this is not going to be over-the-top technical, or just for the eyes of geeks.

(See our other tips here.)

Overview – Why is The Google ‘Panda’ Update Still Affecting Our Websites?

The long and short of the ‘Google Panda’ update and how it affects you is this – it is no longer just enough to have ‘useful’, or ‘relevant’, or ‘unique’ content for your website.

The Panda update goes a lot further than Google have gone before when it comes to how they rate your website (and ultimately your business) within the online search space.

You or your web/seo guys may have noticed your ranking stats jumping about a bit since around March – that’s when Google started rolling out Panda. And it ties in to what I’ve been telling our clients about recently.

Now – this is the crucial bit to keep in mind – Panda is not going to go away, or fade out. It’s an on-going, evolving change to the way Google rates your website.

Google cares a lot about the quality of search results presented to guys like you and me when we search for stuff on the web.

Why? Because Google’s income / revenue stream – totalling hundreds of millions of dollars – depends on Advertising. If the search results pages start looking spammy, or full of junk – searchers go and use an alternative like Bing or Yahoo. And Google loses money. Simple.

So How Does Google Panda Impact You?

The key here is now based around usability for your website visitors. Ask yourself these questions:

- Does my site look like it was built in 1980?

- Would I want my mother/brother/father/sister/friends to visit my site?

- Is my website chock-full of Ads?

- Is there unique content on the site that engages people searching for my product/service?

- Am I re-using the same content on different pages?

- If I visited my site, looking for my service, would I buy?

- Do my website stats tell me people are leaving my website as soon as they find it?

- How many pages does the average visitor view before leaving my site?

- How long does the average visitor stay on my site for?

If the answers to the above aren’t good – then you may have some work to do if you want to maintain or improve your position on the web.  And you’ll notice that all of these factors are ‘visitor-focussed’.

How Does Google Know?

Google already have several ways to monitor the above metrics automagically. But the key thing is how they designed Panda in the first place.

This is all based on Human review – yep, real live ones. Hundreds of guys, visiting thousands of websites, and rating them by actually visiting you. You or I may have been visited by a Google employee in the process – but that’s irrelevant – because they’ve now trained their computers to behave in the same way as the Human Reviewers. That’s what enabled Google to roll the Panda update out to every site on the web. Clever stuff.

What Do I Need To Do?

Forget SEO as it used to be. Panda changes all that substantially. Going forward, Google is all about usability for your visitors – and yes, one way of measuring that is ‘Social Proof’ – see my previous post where I mention Google+1 for an example of this.  If you’re not doing it already – start looking at your site as your visitors would, not as you ‘think’ the search engines would.

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