Calgary is full of entrepreneurs who make it their business to stay on the cutting edge of their industry. Business people attend seminars and conventions, subscribe to magazines and newsletters and pay employees well to make sure no development comes as a surprise.
In the world of website marketing, we watch the Google Panda.
The Google Panda is more than just an algorithm from the world’s largest search engine. It’s a living, breathing entity that uses his (admittedly cute) furry arms to create firm parameters on how websites should work. But although he can seem a bit pushy at first, he’s remarkably easy to work with once you get to know him.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is becoming more and more of a give-and-take relationship between search engines, users and designers. The Panda’s ultimate goal (and he’s made no real secret of this) is that the Internet be a rich, stimulating, information-filled environment. He’s a hands-off kind of boss for the most part, but although he’s maybe a little on the pudgy side, the Google Panda still casts a very long shadow.
SEO News…and News…And More News
Frustratingly, it seems like every time you turn around there’s another SEO update from Google. They seem to be about as common as summer hailstorms in Calgary. Since first lumbering onto the scene in February, 2011 Google Panda has been revised 24 times. In March, 2013 Google finally reported what they promise to be their very last manual update, which means website marketers can begin to breathe a sigh of relief. If your traffic hasn’t crashed, you’re doing just fine, and can continue on developing the way you have been. If your traffic HAS crashed, however, and not made its way back to previous rankings, maybe it’s time to double-check that your website doesn’t include any of the major Panda no-nos.
The Google Panda Doesn’t Like:
Content for Content’s Sake. The Panda doesn’t appreciate the disingenuous. Websites that don’t supply valuable information through careful content development are penalized for their obvious inability to participate in the Internet culture. The Panda looks for websites that are good sharers. In reality, today’s content developers and the Panda get along just fine. Using keywords has become less of a pain and more of a way to simply let Google know what content they can expect to find on your page and what you’re optimizing for. In turn, Google lets writers know about what people are finding interesting that maybe they hadn’t thought of. Don’t cheat…the Panda can tell, and punishes through lower results.
The Panda also isn’t fond of duplicate pages. Essentially, a duplicate page is when a business such as a rental company uses the same page with the exact same content over and over, but has it optimized for different keywords. For example, they could have three different pages that are the same, but the keywords for each would be, “Calgary car rentals,” “Edmonton car rentals,” and “Red Deer car rentals.”
The long and the short of it is…make your content original, and make it matter for every single page.
Tons of Ads. Website marketing is, yes, marketing, and the objective is, yes, to make a sale. But the Google Panda has high standards. He’s not a fan of being bombarded by ads, and as a matter of fact, he doesn’t much like ads that look like ads, either. He’s fussy about those using the Internet as their own personal billboard. The Internet tends to self-police when it comes to these sorts of issues, as well. Users agree with the Panda on this one, and websites that offer nothing but ways for you to spend your money are quickly going the way of the SERP. Website marketers and SEO experts generally loathe ad-driven websites, too. Not only are they counterintuitive to the creative process, they “dumb-down” the overall integrity of the Internet. Plus, the vast majority of designers actually like to draw and develop things, and content and SEO experts are thrilled to be able to expand their trade as writers and strategists.
As with most things in life, the Panda gives what he receives. If you treat your website with respect and attention, the Panda will respond in kind.